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Created by the mysterious figure of Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2009, Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency built on a decentralized ledger, known as the blockchain. This peer-to-peer network provides the ability to send and receive transactions in a permissionless, trustless manner, as detailed in its white paper, released a year earlier in 2008.
The project is built on open-source software, which means anyone in the world can audit, contribute, and improve its code and/or documentation.
How the price of BTC is determined
A common opinion about Bitcoin is that it has no intrinsic value.
However, while this may ring true with other traditional financial instruments, being a completely new asset class, Bitcoin, and blockchain technology, does in fact hold high perceived value. This greatly affects both positive and negative sentiment among traders, increasing short to medium-term volatility.
As a young, still growing industry, the size of the market remains relatively small, with equally low amounts of liquidity. With that being said, it is a known fact that volatility has been on a continuous decline in recent years, mostly due to Bitcoin's increasing adoption and network effect.
At the same time, BTC is scarce; only 21 million UNITS will ever exist. Looking at the current Bitcoin price, the crypto already appears unaffordable to people in many parts of the world. But with crypto, You don’t have to buy a whole unit of BTC, in stark contrast to the traditional model for company stocks. You can buy fractions of a cryptocurrency, which makes it more accessible. In fact, a single BTC is divisible BY up to eight decimal points, with 0.00000001 being the smallest unit, known as a "satoshi".
1 BTC is therefore 100,000,000 satoshis. Bits is another popular denomination, with 1 BTC corresponding to 1,000,000 bits.
What the bears are saying
- Bitcoin is too complex: After more than a decade, usability remains a big question mark. Sending, receiving, and securing large amounts of BTC is still too difficult for non-tech-savvy users.
- Transactions are slow and expensive: Bitcoin has unsolved scalability issues. None second layer solutions have been massively adopted yet.
- Bitcoin has a murky history: From Silk Road to its very own mysterious creator, Bitcoin has too many questions left unanswered.
What the bulls are saying
- Bitcoin is a better, digital version of gold: Scarce, non-confiscatable, highly divisible, and easily transportable.
- A hedge to inflation: “All fiat currencies eventually go to zero value” resulting in the inevitable loss of purchasing power.
- The internet of money: Just as we use one Internet, only one blockchain will succeed. Bitcoin’s blockchain is transparent, immutable, and highly secure.
How to buy BTC
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This article is for informational purposes only and takes no account of particular personal or market circumstances, and should not be relied upon as investment, tax, or legal advice. For investment, tax, or legal advice and before taking any action you should consult your own advisors. Note that digital assets such as cryptocurrencies present unique risks for investors. Please see our disclaimer regarding risks specific to holding digital assets before investing.
May not be available in all jurisdictions.
This content is correct as of October 2020
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