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What Can Bitcoin Do?
The Bitcoin protocol can change the financial landscape we see today. The protocol can act as a currency, voting mechanism, global identification and reputation application, a micro-tipper, crowdfunding platform, initiate trusts, wills and contracts, decentralized domain names, future markets, and basically everything the financial system of today can handle plus so much more. The currency application is just the beginning of this evolution of world's finances.
Why Trust Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a network operating by the three foundational principles of technological freedom: Decentralization, Open Source code, and true Peer-to-Peer technology. Bitcoin’s trust is based on the subjective valuations of human faith in mathematical algorithms, encryption, and numbers. With the three pillars of technological principles Bitcoin’s blockchain is a peer-reviewed system of integrity.
What Is A Bitcoin Wallet?
If you already know and want to see Bitcoin list of recommended wallets, click here. There are different types to suit different needs and we want to list the best options for anyone interested in Bitcoin.
Like the name suggests, a Bitcoin wallet is an application that stores, sends and receives bitcoins. You can think of it like you would a leather wallet full of physical cash, and basically, that’s all you need to use Bitcoin.
The most common wallets are smartphone-based and use the device’s camera to scan QR codes to save the user from needing to copy/paste long Bitcoin addresses. Other people have desktop versions or use browser-based wallets. To the end user, the interface is similar, though the way they function and handle private keys (the ‘key’ which allow you to spend your bitcoins) and user privacy can be very different.
What Happens if I lose my Bitcoins?
Unfortunately, since unique private keys are associated with individual Bitcoin wallets, if the keys are lost, there is ultimately no way to retrieve that key without a passcode seed or other retrieval system; and that key is required to spend those coins. However, most modern wallets, like Mycelium, have a wallet and key backups that you can build prior to storing money. This will allow you to create a new private key so that you may restore your private key on a new wallet if lost.
What Is A Public Key?
Every Bitcoin address contains both a public and a private key. The public key allows others to send bitcoins to your address, and verifies the signature of the transaction to ensure everything is in order and finalizes the transaction. The private key, on the other hand, allows you to ‘unlock’ and spend your bitcoins. It does this by signing transactions, which tells the Bitcoin network that you are indeed the owner of the address in which the bitcoins are held and that the transaction is valid. Whoever holds the private key for a Bitcoin address is able to spend the bitcoins which that address holds, so in a very fitting analogy, your private key is essentially the key to the safe which is holding your bitcoins. You can also use the private key of an address to sign a message, verifying that you are the owner of the bitcoins held at any given address. This is all secured through mathematics, using asymmetric cryptography.
How To Accept Bitcoin Payments For Your Store?
It is very easy for any merchant to accept Bitcoin, and most of the time preparing to add the feature to your payment services takes less than 10 minutes. Merchants can accept Bitcoin both online and at physical locations by using a merchant service payment provider like Bitpay, or even just using a simple wallet address generated on their own device. Bitcoin has significantly lower fees than PayPal, credit card companies and bank services making it far more appealing to store owners than the legacy payment card processors. The cryptocurrency is also irreversible so chargebacks are not possible, and this leaves the decision to refund fully within the hands of the store owner. Merchants can accept Bitcoin through a payment processor, through a Point-Of-Sale (POS) device or simply using their own tablet or smartphone. Adding Bitcoin as a payment method for your store can also increase your customer base for those who like to pay with cryptocurrency as well as broadening your company’s reach into the global market. Read more about merchant solutions here.
Is Bitcoin Legal?
Bitcoin is legal in most jurisdictions in the world but there are a small number nation states that have banned its use, such as Ecuador. Wikipedia has a great guide on how Bitcoin is treated in all the countries around the world and explains regulatory policies surrounding it. Regulations vary from one border to the next so you should always research your location’s laws before participating in the network.