Meta Digest

A Beginner’s Guide to Bitcoin

Source: CoinDesk

Bitcoin is this world’s largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, and it continues to exert its influence in the global economic realm and is expected to remain a massive force in the years to come. 

Created in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Bitcoin came into being via a white paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonymous entity or group of people who held the belief that removing banks from financial transactions and replacing them with a peer-to-peer payment system is integral in addressing the fragility of the modern financial system. In the decade since its launch in 2009, it has delivered the promise of providing an alternative to existing fiat currencies. 

At its most basic, Bitcoin is built on a distributed digital ledger called a blockchain. True to its name, a blockchain is a linked body of data made up of units that contain information about every transaction, from the buyer and seller, time and date, and total value to the unique identification codes for each exchange. These entries form a digital chain of blocks that, when uploaded, becomes available for perusal to anyone looking at it. 

When the idea of a decentralized currency began floating around, there was skepticism about its security. But what makes Bitcoin secure is its very nature and how transaction blocks must be validated by the majority of miners. Transactions, which refer to transfers of value between Bitcoin wallets that get included in the blockchain, are safeguarded from the get-go. A signature prevents them from being altered once issued, and all transactions are broadcast to the network for verification through the process of mining within ten to twenty minutes. 

For those uninitiated to the world of digital assets and who would like to get started with Bitcoin, they would only need to install a Bitcoin wallet on their computer or mobile phone as this move will already generate their first Bitcoin address. Addresses can be disclosed to friends and other parties for financial transactions like sending or receiving payments. Getting Bitcoin is as simple: accept it as payment for goods and services or buy it on cryptocurrency exchanges, payment platforms, and brokerages. 

With cryptocurrencies becoming a prominent presence in the economic scene, a growing number of merchants and institutions are starting to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment. In the past ten years, Bitcoin has contributed to the transformation of the financial realm. At the same time, this currency has served as the face of the digital asset industry.

Opinions expressed by Meta Digest contributors are their own.

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