Bitcoin: The currency that’s also a stock

Joshua Boulet, Staff Writer

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia.org

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia.org

Bitcoin — you’ve probably heard of it before; This weird entity was the number one currency shaking up computer prices and either making people millions…homeless.

Bitcoins are popular in the tech world, but where did they come from and why are they so popular? It all started in 2008 when ‘bitcoin.org’ became a website out of nowhere and soon after a paper written by Satoshi Nakamoto was shown to a mailing list (Bernard 2017). What followed was thousands of lines of code being created and compiled. A man named Hal Finney became interested in the concept, and worked with Nakamoto to start mining the first Bitcoins. Due to its secure nature, Bitcoin quickly got picked up by Silk Road, an illegal drug marketplace.

Since there was no bank, it was easy to use bitcoin to preserve anonymity. Eventually, the original creator left and released his writings to the world so others could continue working on it. As time went on, Bitcoin picked up speed and became more and more popular.

According to the official website, Bitcoin.org, Bitcoin falls under the category of “crypto-currency”. It is advertised to let you have “Security and control over your money” and that it “Works everywhere, anytime.” It’s a system where your money is stored in code as opposed to with a bank.

The customer has complete control over their own funds; there are no banks involved. Another critical selling point of Bitcoin is fraud prevention. When the consumers have strict control over transactions, there’s far fewer opportunities for fraud to occur. Furthermore, as the website acutely explains, “With Bitcoin, there's no credit card number that malicious actors can collect in order to steal from you.

In fact, it's even possible in some cases to send a payment without revealing your identity, almost like with physical money.” There are no costs to receiving Bitcoins; any fees are controlled by the people involved and their personal wallet. There aren’t any added fees no matter how many Bitcoins are sent.

However, the conversation around Bitcoin sounds nothing like currency, but like a stock. This is due to the fact that the price of Bitcoin is constantly in flux. The Bitcoin website even warns that the price of Bitcoin is inconsistent. This means that Bitcoin is talked about like it’s a stock and not a new currency.

Buy low, sell high, make lots of money. Seems too good to be true because it is. The price of Bitcoin is so erratic, it can drop thousands of dollars of value in short amounts of time. Buying bitcoin is risky, but that’s also why it’s so exciting.

Bitcoin is the crypto currency that shook up the tech world. The premise of making money seemed like the perfect opportunity for many, but some soon realized they flew too close to the sun when bitcoin prices dropped below $10,000 in March and never got back up enough to earn any money on their investment. Nevertheless, Bitcoin was and still is a promising, secure currency system that has potential to pave the way for future technologies.