You may have read a million articles about Bitcoin. And still, it seems it's a concept coming from outer space. In this article, we try to explain Bitcoin in a simple, straightforward way.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is the world's first cryptocurrency and works because of the world's first public blockchain network.
What Does Bitcoin do?
It lets you send and receive value to and from anywhere in the world, using nothing but a computer and an internet connection.
Why is Bitcoin Revolutionary?
Because, unlike any other tool, platform or intermediary to send money on the internet, it works without needing an intermediary. The lack of a big corporation in between this transaction means that Bitcoin is the world's first public digital payments infrastructure.
By public, we mean available to everyone and not owned or restricted by any single entity.
Why Bitcoin being public is a Game Changer?
We have a public infrastructure for information, a website, and emails; it's all over the internet. However, the only available payment system we have is cash, in other words, paper money. Paper money works only in face-to-face transactions. If you wanted to pay someone remotely, it would have been impossible, and you would have had to rely on a private bank, their books, and add a ledger entry that would withdraw from your account and pay the person you want to pay. If you use different banks, there will probably be multiple banks and multiple ledger entries to fulfil this transaction.
With Bitcoin, the ledger is the public ledger, and anyone can add an entry to that ledger by transferring Bitcoin to someone else. No matter their nationality, race, religion, gender, or creditworthiness, anyone can open a Bitcoin address to receive payments digitally.
Then, Bitcoin is the world's first globally accessible public money.
Is Bitcoin perfect?
No. Neither was email when invented back in the 20th century. Bitcoin is not the best money for every payment or transaction you can make; it is not accepted everywhere, it is not used to quote prices (except for other cryptocurrencies), and it is not always a stable store of value.
But it is working. And the mere fact that it works among trusted intermediaries is indeed remarkable.
Why is Bitcoin considered a Significant Breakthrough in Computing Science?
If Bitcoin can replace private payments infrastructure, we can also replace other privately managed aspects of human interaction. This is important because the corporate intermediaries providing today's critical but privately-owned infrastructure are becoming fewer, larger, and more powerful, and their failures are increasingly severe.
We hear daily about large corporations, government entities, and even your email account being hacked.
A single point of failure is a potential risk posed by a flaw in the design, implementation or configuration of a circuit or system. Hacking a 'single point of failure' is relatively easy. Nothing that you do while online is 100% safe.