Bitcoins – the financial plan B | Here’s everything you need to know!
Bitcoins are relatively new to the financial scene as they were only introduced in 2009. They are perhaps known for the many stories of people who bought Bitcoins when they were worth a couple of cents only to now realise that they’ve unknowingly made a lot of money! But if you haven’t been keeping up with the Bitcoin, you might not even know what they are!
What is Bitcoin?
The Bitcoin is a form of online currency and it’s not the only one! Litecoin, Neo and Ethereum are all types of online currency commonly known as altcoins. What’s special about the Bitcoin is that these currencies don’t need a bank or government to monitor them, it’s all about the people. Using a peer-to-peer network, which is essentially like an online public ledger, the Bitcoin allows you to make a safe and secure transaction while bypassing the hassle of a bank.
Who created the Bitcoin?
Bitcoins were created by Satoshi Nakamoto. Unfortunately, this is a pseudonym for the real mysterious creator. Last seen in 2010, many people have come forward to claim his identity but still today, no solid evidence has been offered on his true identity. Since 2010, Gavin Andresen has headed the Bitcoin Foundation from his role as Chief Scientist.
How is it secure?
Because the Bitcoin is essentially a bit of code, there is the potential to copy it and make multiple payments, also called double spending. However, Bitcoin uses the principle of the online public ledger, it depends on blockchain technology (a continuously growing list of records). Using complex algorithms, the blockchain analyses every users’ computers to ensure that transactions are secure and valid.
This eliminates the issue of double spending, which means that people can’t spend what they don’t have or create fraudulent payments. Each and every ‘Bitcoin’ is tagged to an owner and when you send someone a Bitcoin, it’s owner immediately changes.
How can I buy Bitcoins?
You can buy Bitcoins as you would any other currency from an online exchange. In certain countries, there are even Bitcoin ATMs. The only other way to earn Bitcoins is to participate in Bitcoin mining. Your Bitcoins are stored in your Bitcoin wallet, which is an encrypted folder on your computer.
Miners are the network of people who have donated their computers to the Bitcoin blockchain network. These computers act as the public ledger accountants and auditors, meticulously checking each transaction.
Miners are paid in Bitcoins each week but the catch is that only the fastest computer to finish checking blocks of transactions is rewarded. Therefore, miners with more powerful computers are at an added advantage. Recently, the introduction of specialised computers meant for Bitcoin mining has put many miners at a further disadvantage.
The Bitcoin price varies daily depending on the demand and rate of mining but is currently worth between $6,000-$7,000 USD. Websites like Coindesk Coin Desk tracks the Bitcoin value in USD. As of 2017, there was $21 billion worth of Bitcoins in circulation, half of which were mined.
Bitcoin regulations and fees
Bitcoins will stop being created when the total number reaches 21 million coins, which has been predicted to be sometime in 2040. This hard limit ensures the longevity of the Bitcoin by capping inflation of the Bitcoin value. Although there are very little regulations and fees associated with Bitcoins, three Bitcoin services charge a small fee, namely the servers who support Bitcoin mining, online exchanges that convert Bitcoins and any mining pools you might join. However, these fees are much cheaper than banking or wire transfer fees and percentages.
Common Bitcoin Questions and Answers
Are Bitcoins anonymous since they’re online?
No, each Bitcoin is tied to a unique user and all transactions are recorded meticulously.
Are Bitcoins taxable in Australia?
Bitcoins are considered an asset for capital gains tax in Australia. So, if you’ve used the Bitcoins for personal use or consumption and it’s below AUD $10,000, there is no tax levied. However, if you receive Bitcoins for goods or services provided as part of a business, you’ll need to record the corresponding Australian dollars as part of your income. Essentially, Bitcoins are treated as non-cash considerations under a barter transaction. Therefore, these users will have to keep a record of the following for each Bitcoin transaction:
- date of the transaction;
- the exact amount transacted in Australian dollars (this can be obtained from a reputable online exchange);
- the purpose of the transaction; and
- who the Bitcoins were transacted with (even if it’s just their bitcoin address).
Can I convert my Bitcoin to Australian dollars?
You’ll have to use an online exchange to sell your Bitcoins. After paying the transaction fees that these exchangers charge, you will be able to withdraw the funds from your bank account.
Can I convert my Bitcoin to other altcoins?
What’s the best part of a Bitcoin?
Because the Bitcoin and other altcoins are not regulated by any authority, you can send money to anyone, anywhere, instantly and avoid fees and currency conversions. This beats wire transfer services like PayPal and the Western Union, which still charge a fee when you pay in different currencies. These online currencies are still exactly like cash, so it’s still easy for people to receive payments but without the hassle of processing credit card details! This makes it easier for the consumer and the merchant.
What’s the worst part of a Bitcoin?
It’s all dependent on your password! So, if you lose your password or make a mistake in the transaction, there’s no way to retrieve that money. Imagine if you lost your wallet or mailed cash to the wrong address. You could try to ask the recipient to mail it back to you, but as there is no governing authority, it’s a difficult process. Furthermore, unlike credit card transactions, there is no way to stop a Bitcoin transaction once it’s been sent.
10 things you didn’t know about the Bitcoin
Some colleges and universities accept the Bitcoin
The University of Nicosia was the first university to accept Bitcoins as a form of tuition payment in 2013. Today, King’s college in New York and the University of Cumbria in London are some of the better-known universities to allow students to pay with Bitcoins.
The Netherlands has a Bitcoin street
Bitcoin Boulevard is a street that’s meant for Bitcoin users. Not only do all the restaurants, cafes and shops on this street accept Bitcoins as a form of payment, it has become a meeting place for Bitcoin users from all over the world. This street was a government initiative, started in 2014 and sparking off a global trend for Bitcoin streets.
You can buy pizza with Bitcoins
When the Bitcoin value was still rather low in 2010, a user made the first real-world transaction when he paid 10,000 Bitcoins for 2 Papa John’s pizzas. Since then, the value of the Bitcoin has skyrocketed and 10,000 Bitcoins today, is worth over AUD $85 million.
Largest Bitcoin transaction in history
Blockchain keeps a record of the largest Bitcoin transactions made and the winner of the largest transaction ever was in 2013, when someone transacted 194,993 Bitcoins, which is equivalent to AUD $1.6 billion!
More than half of Bitcoin addresses are abandoned
Because people didn’t understand the Bitcoin when it first came out, many of the pioneer users have lost their password, thrown out their private keys or are unable to use their Bitcoins. The frustrating part of this is that some of these accounts have millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins.
Best performing currency
In 2013, 2015 and 2016, the Bitcoin was the best performing currency in the world!
It is the national currency of Liberland
It may not seem like much, but the small and relatively new nation of Liberland, located in Europe, made the Bitcoin it’s national currency in 2015.
Countries that like Bitcoins
Some of the countries that have embraced the Bitcoin include:
- The United States
- The Netherlands
- The United Kingdom
Countries that hate Bitcoins
On the other hand, certain countries have criminalised or warned their citizens against using Bitcoins, these include:
Bitcoins can be useful investments for the savvy or risk-taking investor. While the Bitcoin still has quite a way to grow, it continues to be on the fringe of investments. If you’ve bought Bitcoins a couple of years ago when they were cheap, congratulations! But for those looking to enter the market now, it is wise to do your research and make your move when the market is stable. Hopefully, Good People, Bad Credit has given you a comprehensive overview of the Bitcoin situation and answered some of the lingering questions surrounding it. Overall, the Bitcoin is a pretty cool and innovative piece of technology.