Why Use Bitcoins?
Bitcoin is one of many cryptocurrencies to hit the Internet in recent years, and it is also the most popular and widely adopted. Bitcoin is leading the digital currency movement and the mainstream media attention that surrounding it, but a lot of Internet users still don’t understand what bitcoin really is and why they should be using it. You’ve got a credit card and PayPal already, why would you bother switching to bitcoin? Once you've read this article, you’ll be ready to make the change.
Bitcoin Transactions Are Fast
Bitcoins are replacing what is now becoming an antiquated means of transferring value from one place to another. Cheques, wire transfers and bank transfers frequently suffer from delays and human error as different people get involved in the process from both ends of the transaction.
Bitcoin transactions are much faster and if a user chooses to select ‘zero confirmations’, the payment can be processed instantly. ‘Zero confirmations’ can be risky as users are capable of reversing transactions before the payments have been validated in the block chain, but even with just a few confirmations from the block chain, a transaction of any amount can be completed in a matter of minutes. Larger transactions often require more time as it’s recommended that there are no fewer than five confirmations before the funds are accepted; but even the largest movement of money would take no longer than a few hours.
Bitcoin Transfers Are Cheap
One of the major advantages to using bitcoin as a method of payment is that the fees are substantially cheaper than what you would expect from a bank transfer or online payment system like PayPal. Why should you pay a fee for moving your hard earned money?
Bitcoin trumps the entire market when it comes to competing on fees. This isn’t to say that bitcoin transfers are free of charge as merchants may choose to levy an admin fee on their customers, but you’ll be looking at a few cents and no where near the $50 fee that you might see when using a bank.
Bitcoins Are Decentralized
Modern history has shown a number of examples where central banks and human involvement have turned economies upside down over the course of a few years. In March 2013, Cypriots who had uninsured savings accounts larger than $100,000 were seized by the Central Bank to offset their own economic crisis. This type of aggressive economic policy is a result of central banks and individuals being unable to take full control of what is rightfully theirs - the money that you have in your bank may well be safe for now, but it is never truly your own.
Bitcoin is different. What happened in Cyprus could not be repeated if those savings accounts were stored in bitcoin. Bitcoin is owned by the people and it is maintained for the people with no strings attached.
Bitcoins Don't Have Chargebacks
When a bitcoin transaction takes place, it’s complete and there are no chargebacks. In some instances, an unethical user can reverse a transaction using illicit software, but only when the transaction has not been confirmed by the block chain as mentioned above. The overwhelming majority of transactions are completed and can be refunded by the recipient once the transaction has taken place. This makes it almost impossible to commit fraud, something that is rife when using credit cards or other processing systems like PayPal.
Secure and Anonymous Bitcoin Transactions
Security and anonymity is perhaps the biggest appeal of bitcoin. The majority of online purchases made through credit cards are insecure, online forms disclose their credit card number, expiry date, security number and personal details that can be used for identity fraud and theft. These forms can be and have been exploited by hackers in dozens of high profile data thefts.
Bitcoin does not require that same level of exposure. When a bitcoin transaction takes place, a security certificate is generated that combines public and privately held information on both users so that the two parties can see the information they require to complete the transaction. So long as the certificate isn’t openly shared, those who aren’t involved in the transaction will not be able to see any sensitive information whatsoever.
Bitcoins Aren't Subject To Extreme Fluctuations in Value
Governments and/or central banks control the money supply in their own economy, meaning that they can print or remove currency from the market as and when they please. This type of ‘monetary policy’ is often used to tackle or promote inflation and it is not uncommon for it to be misunderstood or misused for the benefit of short term gains.
Bitcoin was designed with this very principle in mind. Only 21 million bitcoins can ever be in circulation on the global economy and this supply cannot be affected in any way - while the price of bitcoin fluctuated heavily in its early years, this certainty on supply gives investors confidence and provides stability.
Bitcoin is Private
There are times when transactions simply need to be private, and bitcoin satisfies this need for privacy. Of course all transactions are made public on the block chain, but this information only relates to how many bitcoins were moved and to which address. Compare this with what you would expect from a card-based transaction where a full paper trail can be linked back to your name, ultimately leaving you with no real privacy as to how you spend your money.
Bitcoin can be spent anywhere, anonymously and at any time!