Bitcoin is a payment system using digital currency. It’s essentially a decentralised peer-to-peer payment network with no central authority. So the system isn’t controlled by any government or banking institutions. Bitcoin is controlled by a vast network of computers set up by users around the world.
Founded in 2008, Bitcoin uses consensus in a massive peer-to-peer network to verify transactions.
Its value has more than tripled in value over the past year, reaching an all-time high of more than $1400, with expectations that it will rise to the $1600 mark this year.
Since the turn of 2017, Bitcoin’s value has now risen by over 42%
Although its most recent advance comes with no specific catalyst, its most recent rise has largely been attributed to the strong demand for Bitcoin in Japan.
Japan’s financial regulators have said that Bitcoin is now a legal payment method.
“The Japanese have recently warmed their approach towards Bitcoin by treating it legally as a form of payment – a ratification and bringing it into the regulatory field, “said Charles Hayter of Cryptocompare.
“China’s clampdowns on exchanges can also be seen as a positive move for the industry too.”
With a market cap that is currently close to $25 billion, Bitcoin is one of the most popular forms of cryptocurrency.
What makes it a preferred method of payment is that it allows direct payments between two individuals without a middleman such as a bank, credit card company or PayPal.
Bitcoin payments are also an attractive alternative for international transfers. You can pay for something by sending BTC from a virtual wallet in your computer to the merchant’s computer.
Without an intermediary, the costs involved in sending money are reduced and payments can be instant. The platform it uses, Blockchain also offers a transparent and simple way to trade in bitcoin.