/// Bitcoin User Guide: Intro
An introductory guide on the concept, function and utility of Bitcoin ₿ cryptocurrency as an alternate form of money for standardized use.
The times when Bitcoin was just a piece of obscure technology only used by a small group of IT experts are long gone. Nowadays, Bitcoin has become a household name, and everyone from individuals to financial institutions can purchase and use BTC.
But Bitcoin doesn’t have to be just an asset used for trading, speculation or investment – it can also be a useful tool for people who want to enhance the privacy and security of their personal finances.
Why You Need Bitcoin
There’s few things more intrusive to your privacy than debit and credit cards. When cards are your main method of making payments in everyday life, your every transaction is recorded and stored.
Your bank and the government knows not only how much you spend, but they also know exactly when and where you spend it and what you are purchasing.
Cash is much better when it comes to privacy, and it’s great for making everyday payments in a private and convenient way. However, cash is terrible when it comes to saving up money. Not only can it easily be stolen, it’s also being slowly eaten away by inflation – as we print more money out of thin air, the value of currency lowers, and so do the value of your savings.
For a long time the best option for saving and long time investing was gold. It’s immune to inflation, and appreciates in value over time. But there are also downsides, since gold is heavy and very hard to transport. But what if there was something that combines all the benefits of cash with all the advantages of gold, without having their downsides? Here’s where Bitcoin comes in.
How Bitcoin Works
Bitcoin is, essentially, digital money. But it’s very different from the money kept on your bank account, which is also kept in a digital form. Bitcoin utilizes blockchain technology.
The word “blockchain” is also referred to as decentralized ledger. What it means in practice is that Bitcoin doesn’t have any central server, and is kept on a network of computers located around the entire world.
There is no central authority to Bitcoin. There’s no Bitcoin central bank and no BTC government. If you own Bitcoin, you are in total control over your money.
As long as you are the only person who holds the private key to your Bitcoins, nobody can take them away from you.
Because there’s a limited supply of Bitcoin – no more than 21,000,000 BTC will ever exist – the digital currency is also immune to inflation, and similarly to gold, is a good safe haven asset in times of economic turmoil.
The Privacy of Using Bitcoin
There’s a common misconception that Bitcoin is fully private. It isn’t. The full record of all transactions made on the BTC network is public – the sender, receiver and the amount of every transaction is known to all.
But although bitcoin isn’t fully private, it can provide a high level of anonymity – unlike with bank transfers or debit cards, there’s nothing linking your real life identity to your BTC address.
International transfers of money can be made quickly with PayPal, CashApp or a traditional bank transfer.
But only cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin enable you to make such transactions in an anonymous way, without the government or other potentially hostile third parties knowing what you spend your money on.
Your money is yours – you have a right to do with it what you want, and Bitcoin can help you make sure that this right is not infringed on.
How to Get Into Bitcoin
Nowadays it’s very easy to buy Bitcoin, since most of the big exchanges allow people to buy BTC conveniently with a debit card.
If concerned with privacy, you can send the BTC you bought on an exchange to a service called a Bitcoin mixer, which will allow you to anonymize your Bitcoins, and detach them from the identity linked to the debit card or bank account you have used to buy BTC.
There’s no freedom without financial freedom, and there’s no security without financial security.
Bitcoin provides you with both. In uncertain times when money stored on a bank account can be tracked by the government, or eaten away by inflation caused by terrible decisions made by politicians, Bitcoin allows you to take full control over your own finances.
You don’t have to trust the bank to keep your money safe. With Bitcoin, you can become your own bank.