Just in case there are any disinfonauts still wondering what this Bitcoin thing is, Venturebeat supplies an idiot’s guide:
Drama, greed, controversy, conspiracy, crime, risk, theft, speculation, wealth — such was the world of Bitcoin in 2013.
The crypto-currency captivated us with its soaring highs and plunging lows in 2013, rising from $10 to $1,200 in the course of a year. It surpassed the value of gold at its peak before crashing down to $500. Today it flutters between $380 and $682 on different exchanges.
We watched breathlessly as early Bitcoin owners became millionaires and authorities seized millions of dollars worth of Bitcoins from the the Web’s notorious black market, the Silk Road. We witnessed efforts to uncover the identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, and we listened to luminaries in finance and economics heatedly debate Bitcoin’s future.
Millions of people followed the saga, but far fewer chose to buy Bitcoin themselves amidst all the uncertainty and volatility.
Now Bitcoin is emerging out of its angsty adolescence into a more mature, adult, stable form. The Bitcoin ecosystem is growing more robust and legitimate, and the movement’s evangelists are pushing hard for mainstream adoption — to turn Bitcoin into a currency rather than an asset or a financial lark and make the most of its unique capabilities.
For those of you who spent last year curious but wary about Bitcoin, here is a guide to everything you need to know.
We will take you through what Bitcoins are, how they are created, where to buy and sell them, how to store them safely, and where you can spend them.
What is Bitcoin and how does it work?
To put it very, very simply, Bitcoin is the Internet’s version of money.
Bitcoin is at its core a cryptographic protocol, which is why it is also referred to as a “crypto-currency.” The protocol creates unique pieces of digital property that can be transferred from one person to another. The protocol also makes it impossible to double-spend a Bitcoin, meaning you can’t spend the same Bitcoin twice…
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