Bitcoins, a concept that has been around for some time now but is fairly new to me (see, I told you I have a little bit of a life sometimes!). For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, like me until a few days ago. This is what it is all about.
These coins are a form of a currency, an online currency. This is like loose change or bills. There is no name attached to these coins which means that if you lose them, they are gone forever.
What to do with them? There are a number of things you can do with them. Some shops (online shops) accept bitcoins. Like for example steambits. Just like steam, you are able to buy games but in stead of paying with actual money, you pay with bitcoins.
There are also a bunch of websites out there that will allow you to sell your bitcoins for actual money. 1 bitcoin is worth about $90 at this moment. I cannot guarantee the safety of this, but it is out there.
The idea of bitcoins was introduced in 2008 by Wei Dai and implemented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (which is pseudonymn for an anonymous group or person). The plan was to create a currency only available on the internet which is not controlled by any government or other instance. It just lives among the people on the internet.
Just like gold, bitcoins need to be mined. There are several ways to do this but the most famous way of doing this is by allowing your computer’s processing power to be used. Because it is not easy to earn bitcoins by yourself, several groups were created which try to mine bitcoins together. These groups are called mining pools.
How does it work? It’s fairly easy. First you need to create a wallet, you can do this by downloading bitcoin, an open source package. This tools will create an encrypted file which is used as wallet. Again, lose the file, lose the money.
When you have a wallet you are able to send or receive money from other wallets.
This means that this wallet needs to be used in order to buy something from the bitcoins you earned. The very idea is very simple although I must warn you it is rather hard to actually earn bitcoins.
Just like in real life ;-)