Bitcoin (BTC): What is it? The complete beginners guide

Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital store of value. It can be traded with traditional currencies such as the US Dollar (USD). Bitcoin can be digitally transferred between people globally. It is also decentralised– without any governing or controlling body. It cannot be frozen by banks, or confiscated by governments. 

Bitcoin logo
Bitcoin logo

Bitcoin’s special feature of decentralisation stems from the fact that central authorities are a point of weakness as they have so much power they can be used against its users’ interests.

For example, banks commonly lend peoples’ deposits to other banks etc. However there have been cases where banks have failed to repay their creditors and collapsed. While some governments do offer deposit protections, the amount protected is limited.

Bitcoin is Decentralized

Before Bitcoin was invented, the only way to use money digitally, it was through an intermediary, like a Bank or PayPal. Even then, the money used was still government issued and controlled currency. However, Bitcoin changed all that by creating a decentralized form of currency that individuals could trade directly without the need for an intermediary. Instead of trusting a centralized bank to process transactions, we would trust a Protocol that is run by different individuals all over the world.

Each Bitcoin transaction is validated and confirmed by the entire Bitcoin network. There is no single point of failure, so the system is virtually impossible to shut down, manipulate, or control.