What is Bitcoin?
Alexandre Roubaud avatar
Written by Alexandre Roubaud
Updated over a week ago

Bitcoin is a radically new way to store and transact value all around the world. It is the first open, global, and permissionless monetary network that allows users to send and receive money anywhere, instantly, with almost no fees, and with no central issuer that can debase its currency.

Who created Bitcoin?

In the early days of the Internet, a collective known as "cypherpunks" raised the importance of creating anonymous digital cash to protect people's privacy online and thus safeguard our individual freedoms.

In the 80s and 90s, a succession of attempts followed: Ecash, Digicash, Cybercash, E-gold, HashCash, and so on. In 2008, a person or group of people under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin to the world in a white paper called Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.

What is Bitcoin?

Before being a currency, Bitcoin is a computer protocol that enables value to be exchanged and stored on the Internet in a secure, censorship-resistant, and programmable way, without the need for a trusted third party such as a bank or a financial institution. Securing this system includes issuing a digital asset called bitcoin, which can be used as a currency. But why? Because bitcoin has all the characteristics of a currency: it's durable, incorruptible, divisible, fungible, easy to store and transfer, etc. And in the case of bitcoin, the currency's issuance regime is predictable and disinflationary (i.e. the issuance rate diminishes over time to reach the famous 21 million cap). This is the opposite of government-backed (or fiat) currencies, whose issuance regime is unpredictable and inflationary. This monetary characteristic means that this asset will be increasingly used as a currency, as it inspires confidence in people. Bitcoin is revolutionary because it is a revolutionary payment network and a revolutionary monetary network. For the first time, these two networks have been integrated into a single system.

How do bitcoin transactions work?

When you own bitcoin, you hold it in a digital storage space called a wallet. Bitcoin wallets can generate unique deposit addresses that change after every transaction. Think of an address like a confirmation code that changes after each login attempt. Your wallet address changes to keep your info safe. You can send or receive bitcoin from one wallet to another using these dynamic wallet addresses.

When you send or receive bitcoin, those transactions are processed by the bitcoin blockchain. The blockchain is a public, distributed digital database that tracks and verifies bitcoin transactions securely with cryptography – a way of keeping information safe through code. Powerful computers around the world spend energy solving complex mathematical problems to secure the network, and as a result, are compensated for their work with newly created bitcoins. This is called mining (or proof of work). Any person can download a new kind of database on their computer, the blockchain, to validate that each Bitcoin exists – and confirm its rightful owner. You become your own bank.

How do I use bitcoin on Bitstack?

You can own bitcoin by buying it on any exchange or app that offers it.

You can buy, sell, send, and receive bitcoin on Bitstack. You can also link your bank accounts to round up your transactions and invest the spare change in bitcoin, or schedule recurring buys, starting from €1.

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