|1 BTC =||6731.92000 USD|
|1 BTC =||5115.84000 GBP|
|1 BTC =||5730.76000 EUR|
What is Bitcoin?
A digital currency which allows users to send or receive money from any corner of the earth without the need for a bank account or any other third party involvement.
Is Bitcoin anonymous?
Contrary to popular belief, Bitcoin is not completely anonymous. All transactions are recorded and validated in the blockchain (a public ledger). They are seen by the entire network within a few seconds. The transactions are then digitally signed each time they travel from one owner to the next, so it is possible to trace them.
Although funds are not associated with real-world entities but to digital wallet addresses and the account owners may be unknown, it would take an enormous amount of effort to stay completely anonymous. Especially if they wish to exchange back into conventional money.
Nevertheless, bitcoin can offer a great amount of privacy. Not only can you receive or send money globally, but in many places around the world, you can purchase goods or services directly with bitcoin.
Is it going mainstream?
Every day more and more businesses adopt the currency and its commercial integration is growing rapidly. Some of the biggest and best known companies to accept bitcoin include, Microsoft, Dell, Expedia.com, Virgin Galactic, Subway, WordPress.com, Whole Foods, Shopify.com, Badoo, Rakutan and many more.
Bitcoin ATM’s are becoming more and more widespread around the world, greatly boosting the accessibility and liquidity element of the currency. The availability of Bitcoin ATM’s makes the purchase and sell easy and accessible even to those who are not tech savvy. In fact, you don’t even need to own a PC to buy or sell cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin Market Capitalisation
By design, Bitcoin is a currency with a finite supply. Only 21 million bitcoins can ever be created. Transactions are denominated in smaller sub-units, such as bits and can be divided up to 8 decimal places 0.000 000 01. In the future, this can be even smaller as the currencies’ value grows and transaction sizes decrease. A good example is an infamous story, about the guy who bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins back in 2010, now worth $20 million or £15.4 million. To buy two takeaway pizzas today, you would need around 0.0100000 BTC or 10mBTC or 10000 bits (μBTC).
The Bitcoin scalability problem
The sharp increase in bitcoin demand has now caught up with the limitations of the technology and highlighted the scalability problem. The current limits on the maximum amount of transactions the network can process have led to long waiting times for transaction confirmations and high fees.
Bitcoin has faced much criticism because of this, losing its appeal to be utilised for everyday transactions. Other types of cryptocurrency, such as Litecoin and Dash are preferable for increased speed and low fees. Bitcoin has taken on a role closer to “digital gold” acting as a base or a “standard” for the whole cryptocurrency market and a store of value solution.
The bitcoin scalability solutions
Back in August 2017, the Bitcoin Core developers implemented SegWit on the blockchain. The Segregated Witness is an update which increased the block size and helped make transactions faster. But this is a short-term solution as the main issue of scalability persists as we go forward and look towards mass adoption.
The Lightning Network is a forthcoming update with the potential to revolutionise the whole cryptocurrency space by opening the doors to “microtransactions”. By eliminating the need to wait for on-chain confirmations, transactions can become extremely fast with very low fees. The technology is currently being tested on Litecoin and if it proves to be successful it will also be implemented on Bitcoin and presumably many other cryptocurrencies as well.