Why is Bitcoin such a big deal?

Bitcoin is the new buzzword; something that seemed like an obscurely geeky invention five years ago is now gaining traction in the mainstream. It represents such a departure from conventional ways of dealing with money that it is perhaps understandable that it takes a while to get your head around it. Why Bitcoin is so fascinating?

1. Decentralised economy

In an era where big businesses are just as likely to influence politics and the economy, cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, offer an alternative. These are mined via networks of computers and can be bought and sold through online wallets which are not subject to the whims of the government.

2. Data privacy

Unlike using a credit card, your information is not shared when you use your Bitcoin, and retailers cannot have more access to your Bitcoin than you are willing to give them. In this way, it works a lot like cold hard cash, but in the virtual world. In an era of anxiety about data-mining, this is certainly something which appeals to Bitcoin fans.

3. Into the unknown

How much is one Bitcoin worth? $20? $200? $20,000? Experts have suggested all of these. Who is right? Cryptocurrencies are not yet protected by financial regulators, so investing in them does carry an extra level of risk. At the same time, jumping into the unknown and on board the crypto- bandwagon places you at the vanguard of contemporary investing, which might bring its own rewards.

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