Check out our top 15 bitcoin facts, and be ready to have your mind blown!
It has been described as the “money of the internet” and recently enjoyed viral popularity due to its sudden and sharp growth in value. However, Bitcoin is very fickle – prone to sudden changes in value – and many people don’t know very much about it.
Where exactly did Bitcoin come from and why is it suddenly so popular? These are easy questions to answer, but its simplicity stops there; the more we learn about Bitcoin, the more confusing and strange it gets.
Here are fifteen of the most important and interesting Bitcoin facts which should hopefully give you a basic understanding of this cryptic cryptocurrency!
1. We know who founded Bitcoin… but, not exactly
Bitcoin’s founder is Satoshi Nakamoto and (s)he is responsible for designing and engineering the entire project. But, that’s all we know. Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym and, for all we know, it could be a team of people. Whoever they are, their estimated worth is $16.5 billion in Bitcoin and they were nominated for a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2015.
2. Bitcoin is limited in number
The individual – or team – behind Bitcoin set a pre-defined amount of Bitcoin before the project was complete, which is 21 million. This number is slowly being approached and it is getting harder to ‘mine’ new Bitcoin each day.
3. New Bitcoin is created through ‘mining’
‘Mining’ is the very complicated process by which new Bitcoin is produced. Mining Bitcoin is analogous to mining gold; there is a finite amount of gold and the more it is mined, the more difficult and resource-intensive it is to find. This is the same with Bitcoin.
4. The FBI has a huge amount of Bitcoin kept in wallets
In fact, the FBI has one of the largest Bitcoin wallets, period. When Silk Road – the dark web marketplace for drugs – was shut down, they seized its owner’s assets which included a Bitcoin wallet which is reported to be worth over $100 million.
5. One of Bitcoin’s first transactions was for pizza
In May 2010, two pizzas costing $25 were purchased for 10,000 Bitcoin. In January 2018, the value of 10,000 Bitcoin was around the $150 million mark.
6. It is more powerful than 500 of the most powerful supercomputers
As the experts put it, Bitcoin’s network has a computing power of 2,046,364 Pflop/s which, when compared to the computing power of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers – 274 Pflop/s – is eyewatering.
7. It is completely anonymous
It is not possible to find out the details of people you have sent Bitcoin too, or from whom you have received Bitcoin. When sending Bitcoin, a 34-character alphanumeric ‘address’ is used which cannot be traced. As a result, the industry that was the swiftest to adopt cryptocurrency payments was the online gambling scene. Bitcoin poker and general gambling without any territorial restrictions appeared practically overnight.
8. Also, Bitcoin transfers are irreversible
Unlike PayPal where you can reverse transactions and file chargeback disputes, Bitcoin transactions are final. There are no second chances with Bitcoin, so you have to be sure you are ready to commit to your purchase.
9. It has made some people very rich
A Norwegian by the name of Kristoffer Koch invested $28USD into Bitcoin and promptly forgot about it. By the time he remembered he owned it, its value was worth more than $825,000. There are many more of these success stories, too.
10. But, make sure you don’t lose your wallet
If you lose your Bitcoin wallet, it’s gone, end of story; it’s not like losing a debit card. Unfortunately, many people who bought Bitcoin in its early days have done just this and it is estimated that 64% of Bitcoin has never and will never be used because of this.
11. Bitcoin is not controlled by any single entity
Unlike national currencies which are controlled by national banking institutions, Bitcoin is not controlled by any one single person or entity. Instead, it is controlled by everyone who uses Bitcoin… confusing, eh!
12. It is completely transparent
Perhaps the most unique aspect of Bitcoin is that you can see all its transactions; it is entirely transparent. Everything can be viewed on the blockchain and it is this openness and transparency which gives it such a high level of trust among the wider Bitcoin community.
13. Bitcoin can be sent with virtually no fees
If you were to transfer money from a bank in the US to a bank in Malaysia, you would probably have to pay bank transfer and currency conversion fees. With Bitcoin, there are no transaction fees and it is sent almost immediately – no waiting periods at all.
14. Bitcoin has a dark and suspicious past
Before it became popular in the mainstream, Bitcoin was largely used on the ‘dark web’ to fund illegal transactions. A popular example of this was something known as “The Assassination Market” where people could place bets in Bitcoin about a particular individual’s date of death. If somebody was to ‘guess’ right, they could collect a payoff!
15. Its legal status varies, too
There are a lot of questions when it comes to the legality of Bitcoin, and this varies from country to country. Some countries openly support Bitcoin, and there are others which don’t; there is a comprehensive list online which is kept updated to reflect each country’s individual position on the cryptocurrency.
Some countries such as the USA are even trying to regulate Bitcoin, but this has been met with widespread backlash from Bitcoin advocates.
We hope that cleared some things up for you…
Bitcoin may sound a little confusing at first, but it is a real currency which you can use to buy real things! Although it is not tangible in the sense of a dollar bill, there are still a wide variety of merchants (the number is always growing) who are willing to accept Bitcoin as payment for items.
It is not restricted to the internet, either. There are many physical stores who can accept Bitcoin payment in person using specially designed apps and software.
Want to learn more about Bitcoin and some of its cool facts? Check out our infographic!
Featured Image: DepositPhotos/ ulchik74