Back to basics

We’ll be honest, Bitcoin isn’t the simplest thing in the world. It took us quite some time to finally get our heads around this whole cryptocurrency/blockchain thingamajig too. If you know nothing about the world’s leading digital currency then look no further. We are taking things back to basics and bringing you Adastra’s beginners guide to all things Bitcoin. Be prepared to now explain Bitcoin to everyone.

So, what is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the most recognised digital currency (cryptocurrency) in existence today. At the time of writing it has a market value just north of $6,000.

Okay, but what is it?

The easiest way to understand Bitcoin is to think of it firstly as something tangible…like a cup of coffee.

If I were to make you a cup of coffee and give it to you at your desk (what a lovely employee I am), you would now have a cup of coffee and I would not. You can see immediately where that coffee has come from, and who was involved in making it. There was no need for a third-party hipster barista to brew the coffee for you, or make sure that it was made with the finest Arabica beans from the foothills of Ecuador. It was just one lovely co-worker giving another lovely co-worker their morning fix of coffee. Simple!

But what if this coffee was digital?

Now we’ve got a problem. How would you know if I’d made 3 identical cups of coffee and given one to each of your office buddies? Suddenly you don’t feel so special, and a little cheated. You don’t know if what you’re drinking is your coffee at all, maybe someone else already took a sip or maybe Cathy from accounts spat in it (Grrrrrr Cathy from accounts).

What we need is a way to keep track of the cup of coffee. Make sure Cathy gets nowhere near it. But the most important thing is that people like Cathy aren’t in charge of coffee tracking.

What if everybody oversaw the tracking? What if the ledger was stored on everybody’s computer at the same time, keeping track of every cup of coffee that was ever made? I can’t give you a coffee that I haven’t made, because then it wouldn’t sync up with everybody else in the system.

Cathy’s at the coffee again…

Now imagine that the cup of coffee is something called Bitcoin, and this open-sourced digital tracking system is the blockchain in which it operates, also known as the Bitcoin Protocol.

Making a little more sense? Let’s explain Bitcoin further.

But Adastra, why do I care? I’ve got real money! Plus, I don’t even like coffee.

That may be true, but cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are starting to gain traction both as an investment and slowly as a means of legitimate currency.

Investing in Bitcoin

Why buy a sandwich today when you can buy two sandwiches tomorrow for the same amount? This was the analogy put to our Marketing Director Amelie Arras, as she became the first person to independently travel across North America using nothing but Bitcoin. The Bitcoin bubble has been increasing dramatically, with the value having soared by more than 750% in the past year alone. Bitcoin is now worth four times as much as an ounce of gold.

Despite strengthening opposition from governments in China and Russia, it seems nothing can derail the cryptocurrency right now.

But can I spend it?

Yes, you can! Bitcoin acceptance in day to day life is increasing all the time. Just ask Amelie. You can book travel, order food and even pay your rent in Bitcoin these days, although you do have to know where to look, and put up with three to four-hour transaction processing periods. Services like BitPay and Wirex, however, are transforming your Bitcoin wallet into physical debit card that can be used as easily and securely as Visa, meaning that you can spend your Bitcoin on the go just like any other currency.

Buy, sell and explain Bitcoin to your hearts content!

Filling your account with some sweet, sweet Bitcoin is becoming easier and easier. Although one Bitcoin is currently exchanging for more than $6,000, the currency is infinitely divisible, so even if you only have £100 to invest you can do so in exchange for 0.02 Btc. Once you have your wallet all set up you will be provided with your own unique digital address that will look something like this:

1CdDgoU4QqZPhD8QSXdNjPT7Cbuug9Viy2.

Now you’re ready to go. Buy, sell and trade Bitcoin to your hearts content with the many bitcoin brokers and crypto-enthusiasts. Better yet, go forth and explain Bitcoin to all your friends!

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