What's the deal with Bitcoin anyway?

While it's been around for close to ten years, Bitcoin has recently been making headlines once again. And yet, while Bitcoin seems to be the talk of the town recently, it is hard to understand the fascination with this digital currency. So let's make life simpler! Check out Her Campus Bucknell's guide to understanding Bitcoin so that this currency will no longer seem so foreign.  

 

How did Bitcoin get started?

Travel back to a time when you turned on the radio to hear Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You" playing loudly. The year is 2009. Or, in the financial world, the kick-off of a global financial crisis. Just a few months later Bitcoin was born as a bank-free Internet money that the lucky few invested in.

 

So how does this "digital currency" work?

While Bitcoin may seem unlike any other currency on the market, it really does work just like money. In other words, you can exchange your Bitcoin for goods or other services. After a night of heavy snow, you could help a friend out and sell your snow blower for a Bitcoin instead of handing over a wad of cash. It's that easy!

 

How is bitcoin different from standard forms of money then?

Unlike the dollar, Bitcoins are not controlled by any bank or other central authority. This makes the owner of the Bitcoin the controller and verifier of all transactions. Many advantages can sprout from this aspect of the Bitcoin, such as its capability to buy and sell things from country to country without the hassle of bank fees and other conversion factors. Instead, money can be sent instantly, without additional fees and at any hour of the day without the need for a bank's verification.

 

But how much is a Bitcoin worth?

Since 2009, Bitcoin's worth has seen some serious highs and lows. To give you an idea-back in 2009, a Bitcoin was worth about five cents. Today? Try close to 12,000 dollars! It is hard to tell right now where the Bitcoin trend will lead, but if you were one of the lucky investors 9 years ago, you're sitting on a pile of money!