You have probably heard the phrase Bitcoins and wondered what they are or simply shrugged them off as you didn’t understand them, hopefully this blog post may clear a few things up.
Bitcoins came out / were published when I was at University – 2008/9, and I remember thinking at the time – Oh cool, free money for making your computer work. It wasn’t quite that simple.
What are Bitcoins?
Bitcoins are a digital asset and payment system that was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s a peer-to-peer payment system, so people can transact without having any intermediary. The easiest way to think about bitcoins is they’re money for the internet.
You can keep bitcoins in a bitcoin wallet and use them to buy things both over the internet and in bricks and mortar shops.
The key benefit of bitcoins is that you can use them without the need for your payment to go via a bank, making things faster, cheaper and easier for both buyer and seller.
How do they work and how do you buy them?
Bitcoins can be used like any other currency.
You can buy Bitcoins using your Australian dollars through bitcoin exchanges such as Coinjar and BitTrade and even through ATMs like those offered by Australian bitcoin ATMs.
Once you have bitcoins, you store them electronically in your ‘bitcoin wallet.’
It’s an app that sits on your phone or computer and keeps track of the bitcoins you hold.
Your wallet allows you to spend your bitcoins easily by either scanning QR Codes or entering the address of someone else’s bitcoin wallet.
Where can we use them in Australia?
There’s plenty of Australian locations where you can use bitcoins, both online and in the real world.
At the big end of town, computer manufacturer Dell has just started accepting bitcoins for its online products making it the largest ecommerce site to accept bitcoins, while a growing number of smaller online retailers are also now accepting bitcoins.
There are also a lot of small bricks and mortar retailers such as coffee shops, bookstores and other outlets now accepting bitcoin transactions.
In Brisbane, there’s even now a bitcoin ATM at The Roastery Café in South Brisbane too.
Bitcoins debit card? Bitcoins have been recognised by VISA, and Shift is the first US-Based debit card by bitcoin. As Bitcoin gains credibility and traction, one hurdle it hasn’t yet overcome is the ease of use in the real world. Fortunately there’s now an alternative that makes the process as easy as swiping a card. The Shift Card from Shift Financials is the first US-issued Bitcoin debit card. It links directly with your Coinbase (wallet) as its backed by visa, the card can be used to pay for goods and services online or in the real world at more than 38 million merchants globally.
Below is a short video overview.