What is "Bitcoin"?

What Bitcoin is

Bitcoin is a secure and safe way for you to send money to anyone anywhere in the world for the cost of a few pennies, instantly. All you need to use Bitcoin is a wallet for your phone, your laptop, or tablet and you can immediately start sending and receiving payments from anywhere world-wide, without waiting, without forms to fill, without fees to receive money, near-zero fees to send money, and no middle man. You can redeem your Azteco voucher to your Bitcoin address, or you can send Bitcoins directly to whomever you like, to their Bitcoin address. Bitcoin is to money as email is to hand-written post cards on paper sent by post. Bitcoin completely simplifies and greatly speeds up how you send money to other people. You no longer need to use the services of a bank or a specialist company to send money anywhere instantly; all you need is Bitcoin.

What Bitcoin is not

Bitcoin is not money. Bitcoin is a way of sending and accounting for money. Using digitally signed certificates of ownership to prove who owns what Bitcoin, Bitcoins do not have any value in and of themselves, unlike Gold and Silver. You can buy things with Bitcoin, because they are scarce and other people need them to trade for things they need. E-books are not books. They are simply strings of numbers rendered so that you can read them on a screen, and despite the fact that they can be easily copied, people will exchange their money for e-books and do so in the millions. Bitcoins are like e-books or music files that cannot be copied which means that they cannot be spent twice. Every Bitcoin you own is unique. This is why Bitcoin can act like money for the purposes of sending money, even though it is only a string of bits, like an e-book or an MP3.

Why you need Bitcoin

Imagine that it is 1995, and someone asks you, "Why do you need email?". Today, that question seems completely absurd; everyone knows what email is, how useful it is and how much of a boon it has been to the world. Bitcoin is no different. In fact, if you substitute the word 'Bitcoin' for the word 'email' in every discussion you read about Bitcoin, you will expose the clarity and prescience of the detractors or advocates of Bitcoin. In the same way that no one in the 1970s could imagine every person carrying around interenet connected supercomputers in their pockets sending mail to anyone in the world instantly whilst listening to music, Bitcoin to some of today's thinkers is incomprehensible. You need Bitcoin in the same way that you need email, e-books, MP3s and the Internet itself. Once you receive your first Bitcoin payment you will understand it. Instantly.