By now anyone who peruses the internet in their fee time has come across an article or two about the trendy new digital currency, Bitcoin. According to USA today there are $7 billion dollars worth of Bitcoin in circulation around the world, however marketplaces to spend them in the US are limited.
So what is it?- Bitcoin describes itself as cash for the internet. They are primarily a digital currency but physical Bitcoins are minted. Being that its roots are firmly imbedded in the virtual world, don’t plan on carrying this coinage around in your pocket anytime soon. Any user who wishes to start exchanging this new form of currency can simply download an app (appropriately referred to as a wallet) to either their smartphone or computer and you’re ready to go.
Why Bitcoin? – For the regular user, a major advantage of Bitcoins are the ease of use when making payments or transferring funds. Simply open the wallet application, type in the recipients address and you’re done. For merchants, Bitcoin adds a layer of protection against fraudulent disputes and payment reversals. Sure both credit cards and PayPal accounts are a simple ways to accept payment online, but when a reversal happen after merchandise is shipped, the seller is left holding the bag. Since Bitcoin are essentially cash transactions they are not reversible. Once the deal is done it’s done.
Since the concept of digital currency and Bitcoin is in its infancy there are still a lot of unknowns. The biggest problem being where to spend the currency once you have it. Until this concept becomes more prevalent and accepted in the states, I think I’ll just stick with the dollar.