Bitcoin has been around for over a decade now, but a lot of people are still confused about what it actually… is.
Some think it’s the way of the future and will replace money and how we spend it. Others compare it to the Dutch Tulip Bubble back in the 1600s that had people paying eye watering amounts for flower bulbs.
Regardless, if you haven’t already jumped on board the cryptocurrency train, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of Bitcoin (BTC), or like many, you’re waiting anxiously at the station for your chance to become part of the latest online “high society club.” Maybe you heard Elon Musk announce recently that Tesla had recently bought stakes in Bitcoin worth US$1.5 billion, driving Bitcoin’s value even further up.
Regardless, it’s not going away any time soon — so let’s get our head around what cryptocurrency is.
So, What Exactly Is A Bitcoin?
Well — the most basic explanation is, it’s electronic money.
It lives online, you can’t physically hold it in your hand. But its value has increased quicker than any other commodity known to man.
Like any currency, its value is going up or down every day. Some will compare it to gambling, like playing the pokies. Others, who have invested and made serious bank, say it’s the newest way to get rich and treat it like the new age stock market.
Theres also the random lucky ones who invested when value was minimal — and forgot.
Or got given the coin when it wasn’t worth much and are now seeing dollar signs, like YouTuber Ali Spagnoli, who got DONATED $50 worth of BTC in 2013 which she forgot about, that’s now worth over $40k.
However, Bitcoin is just ONE of many “digital coins” that you can invest in, or own, that make up the newest form of currency, that we now know as cryptocurrency, or crypto.
When did Bitcoin first hit the scene?
The first talk of Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency was in 2008.
A document known, quite obviously, as the Bitcoin white paper was released. It explained how this new digital dollar would be decentralised — which just means it would cut out third parties, such as banks, governments and other organisations who charge us fees to manage our money.
Like an online ledger, transactions are able to be viewed by anyone, although consumers can still remain anonymous. Each transaction has its own contract to record its history. So, you can track any coin back to when it was first created, and when and how much its value has changed over time, which is pretty cool.
The concept for this modernised money was based on a block chain. Which are just blocks of information linked together. Thanks to tricky technology that links the chain, the information cannot be changed or manipulated, making dishonest transactions almost impossible.
Of course, like anything you invest in, there are some risks involved.
Your wallet, which is an online account, is electronic and protected by codes and passwords that will be hard to access if you forget or lose them. It’s not like when you lose your wallet at the pub or a party and you can just go and order all new cards.
There are already millions of “lost coins” from people forgetting or losing their wallet details.
Scams and fraudsters also exist in the Crypto world. For this reason anonymity is quite common.
Some people have made huge amounts of wealth and prefer to keep their identity supressed. Whilst most are just cautious with their details to avoid being targeted by hackers and identity thieves.
So, like anything, it’s good to research whether a coin exchange or site is legit before putting down your money.
The Fun Begins… Bitcoin Hits The Market
Bitcoin became available to the public in 2009, a year after the white paper report.
Since the coin has grown in popularity, literally THOUSANDS of crypto coins have since been created. As of January 2021, there was over four THOUSAND different coins you can invest in.
Any coin that ISN’T a bitcoin, is often known as an “alt coin” or “shitcoin” because Bitcoin was the very first, the original. Some of the other popular cryptocurrencies are Ethereum (ETH), Chainlink (LINK), Polkadot (DOT) & Litecoin (LTC).
When bitcoin first hit the market, they were worth $0.0008 each. At the time of writing this article, one Bitcoin was worth $63, 128.64 Australian dollars each.
People who invested in large numbers of Bitcoins when they were first created and held onto them, are LITERALLY multi- millionaires!
If someone bought 500 Bitcoins when they first hit the market, at $0.0008 each and held onto them, their crypto wallet would be worth $31, 564, 320.00, on coins that originally cost less than 50c.
Is It Worth Investing In Cryptocurrency In 2021?
Some major brands and store chains have already jumped aboard the crypto train, accepting the digital currency to make payments. Other companies have started offering Bitcoin debit cards, allowing consumers to use their digital money almost anywhere that accepts EFTPOS.
It was only back in September 2017 that Jamie Dimon the Chairman & CEO of Wall Street Banking powerhouse JPMorgan, called Bitcoin a fraud. Dimon said “it’s worse than Tulip bulbs, it won’t end well, someone will get killed.”
It was less than 2 years later, in February 2019, that the company announced the “JPM Coin” was being launched for commercial use using the block chain technology.
Microsoft & Wikileaks have also apparently started accepting Bitcoin. Luxury car and fast-food outlets across the world have also dabbled in crypto payments.
The first transaction using Crypto to pay for a product was made by a man named Laszlo Hanyecz on the 22nd of May 2010. The man ordered 2 large pizzas which came to about $30.
He paid using Bitcoin when it was worth about $0.003. Hanyecz paid 10 000 Bitcoins for what you can imagine must be the world’s most expensive pizza order ever. A cheeky $631, 286, 400.00 in today’s value.
The days is now unofficially referred to as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
And it’s not just your typical investors buying into the new money- making craze. People are selling digital art pieces in the crypto world already. One artist pocketed a cool million selling a piece called Forever Rose to ten buyers on Valentine’s Day 2018, who all now own a fraction of the image each.
So, next time you hear people talking about making money in their sleep, know they may not be joking, it’s absolutely possible. You could even have an anonymous millionaire in your circle. Have you jumped on board yet?