What Is Bitcoin, and How Does it Work?

by Michael Crider on November 7th, 2017

Michael Crider has been covering technology on the web since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order. He wrote a novel called Good Intentions: A Supervillain Story, and it’s available on Amazon. You can follow him on Twitter if you want.

Bitcoin. the digital currency, has been all over the news for years. But because it’s entirely digital and doesn’t necessarily correspond to any existing fiat currency, it’s not easy to understand for the newcomer. Let’s break down the basis of exactly what Bitcoin is, how it works, and its possible future in the global economy.

Editor’s Note: we want to make it very clear right up front that we are not recommending that you invest in Bitcoins. Its value fluctuates quite a bit, and it’s very likely that you may lose money.

 How Bitcoin Works

In layman’s terms: Bitcoin is a digital currency. That’s a concept that might be more complex than you realize: it isn’t simply an assigned value of money stored in a digital account, like your bank account or credit line. Bitcoin has no corresponding physical element, like coins or paper bills (despite the popular image of an actual coin, above, to illustrate it). The value and verification of individual Bitcoins are provided by a global peer-to-peer network.

Bitcoins are blocks of ultra-secure data that are treated like money. . . .

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