What on Earth is a Bitcoin?

Imagine yourself watching a sci-fi movie set in the future: most of the time, if any characters in this movie have to exchange some form of currency, they have an ultra-futuristic form of digital currency that can transfer from person to person in the blink of an eye. Now, take the image you just came up with and imagine it existing today. That would just be absolutely crazy, right? Well, it already exists. There is a technology that Production Of Bitcoins By Mike Caldwell of Casasciushas become more and more prevalent in the past several years called cryptocurrency, which is simply a term that refers to digital currency. One of the most well known and valuable cryptocurrencies is called Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that is unregulated by government, is transferred peer to peer, and it can be sent completely anonymously. Although the name implies that there may be actual coins involved, the currency is entirely digital, stored in something that can be owned by individual users known as a Bitcoin Wallet. And although Bitcoin is by far the most well known cryptocurrencies, it is not the only one. Recently, users from the website 4chan collaborated to create a humorous cryptocurrency known as dogecoin, which actually helped send the Jamaican bobsled team to the Olympics.

“Bitcoin is the future! I cant wait to buy things without credit cards or cash!” Sadly, anyone who feels this way about Bitcoin is sadly mistaken. At this point, Bitcoin is not widely accepted, with many companies simply accepting it as a form of payment as sort of a publicity stunt. One of the major problems with Bitcoin becoming more widely accepted as a form of payment is its lack of government regulation. Because of its ability to be sent completely anonymously and its unregulated state, people have been using Bitcoin to make illegal transaction for quite a while. Because of this, many businesses seem to be unwilling to accept Bitcoin as payment simply because of the stigmas associated with it. Another problem with Bitcoin (and any cryptocurrency for that matter) is the fact that the value of the currency is extremely volatile. In late 2014, Bitcoin was in the news in various places. Because of this, the price rose to over $1000 USD each, simply because of the publicity. The price has settled back to slightly above $200, but it is constantly changing. Although there are other problems involved with cryptocurrency, these are two major problems preventing it from being widely used.