By Nishat Khan
It’s no secret that cashless transactions are becoming the major way to pay. Some people prefer to pay with credit cards, some prefer to scan their phones, and some prefer to pay with Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is becoming more and more popular in terms of making money, and now more and more companies are accepting it. Bitcoin is an untraceable, digital currency created in 2009 by an unknown person under the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto. There are no transaction fees, and no requirement for you to give your name. As of January 8, 2014, Bitcoin is equivalent to 298.68 USD. Many people buy Bitcoin as an investment, and some use it to buy things. Many small businesses and merchants are also beginning to accept it more, as there are no additional fees that you might get with major credit cards.
Surprisingly, Bitcoin is not very difficult to obtain. Many marketplaces offer the ability to exchange bitcoin in different currencies. According to CNN, Mt. Gox is the largest bitcoin exchange. Once you obtain the bitcoin, it is stored in a digitial wallet, however it is not insured by the FDIC. Another way to “mine” for bitcoin is through solving complex math problems. There are many people who run computers which have a software that can solve said math problems.
The big question is: what are people gaining by using bitcoin? When you buy bitcoin, as mentioned before, you don’t give your name. Only your wallet ID is tracked. That means it’s very difficult to track who bought what with bitcoin. Now, it’s become even more simple to buy drugs online or make other illegal transactions without ever getting caught.
Not only does it make it easy to commit crimes without being caught, but bitcoin is not controlled by a central bank or company. This means that there is no one company controlling your money. To a lot of people, this means less chance of a bank losing all your money.
This all seems great– who wouldn’t want to make almost $300 by solving a math problem? But there are still rules surrounding bitcoin. The protocol says that the max amount of bitcoin you can obtain is 21 million. The other rule, or really, plain fact, is that you can’t reproduce it. Once you’ve given it away, there’s no getting it back unless the person you gave it to you gives it back.
The world is advancing quickly in terms of what you can do online and ways to pay. Will bitcoin soon become the main form of currency in the future? Or will it completely fail to the point where it becomes worthless? There is no way to determine for sure what will happen in the future, but as of now, bitcoin is nearing the top of the list for the top ways to make cashless transactions.