I have Paypal. Skrill. Credit cards. Cash. Why do I need Bitcoin, and what use is it?
Bitcoinâ€™s a currency. Much like the above. At its most basic currency is a medium of exchange. A way to pay for goods and services. You can do that with Bitcoin. Physical forms do exist, but mostly it exists in the form of data thatâ€™s traded online, usually by using some form of â€œwalletâ€ like Coin.Space.
Whatâ€™s the benefit of Bitcoin to me? What are the advantages over other options out there?
1. Itâ€™s cheap.
Actually, in many cases transactions involving Bitcoin are free. The Bitcoin fee, when required, is less than 40c US. Contrast this with Credit Cards or Paypal, which have transaction fees of 2-5% of the value of the transaction.
2. Itâ€™s transferable.
You can buy Bitcoin with regular currency, and sell it back for lawful money. Itâ€™s not a case of once you have Bitcoin, Â you cannot exchange it for other currency, you can. It’s used as a legitimate way of sending and receiving regular money payments.
3. Itâ€™s fast.
Cheques take days to clear. Wire transfers also take time. A Bitcoin transfer is much more quickly. It takes around ten minutes to confirm the transaction
4. A company does not own it.
Banks are companies. Paypal is a corporation. Companies own most financial sector institutions. Itâ€™s a fact of life. But wait a minute, Bitcoin is different. Itâ€™s not owned by anyone and is monitored and processed by the community that uses it. You own your Bitcoins, and no one can take them away from you.
5. Itâ€™s secure.
Credit cards were invented in the 1930s. Theyâ€™re antiquated technology that was never meant to be used online in a digital age. There is little wonder why there is so much credit card fraud.
Bitcoin transactions, on the other hand, were designed with full knowledge of whatâ€™s required regarding online security. They have a private and a public key, and itâ€™s only the public key thatâ€™s visible online. Donâ€™t do anything silly like publishing your private key online and your Bitcoins will be safe.
Okay, I admit that sounds useful, but where can I spend Bitcoin?
Thereâ€™s more places than you might imagine. Still largely itâ€™s online and tech related industries that are supporting Bitcoin, but a lot more bricks and mortar stores are popping up, like the ParalelnÃ Polis cafÃ© in Prague, which ONLY accepts payment by Bitcoin.
There is a list of all business that accept bitcoin here, but five key players who are happy for you to spend Bitcoin with them are: