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Today is the tenth anniversary of the virtual currency Bitcoin. But on its birthday it could be worth less by the end of year than it was on its previous birthday - for only the second time since it arrived in the virtual wallet. And there are still a couple of months of trading to go. But what is Bitcoin and how does it all work? Bitcoin, often described as a cryptocurrency, a virtual currency or a digital currency - is a type of money that is completely virtual. It's like an online version of cash. You can use it to buy products and services, but not many shops accept Bitcoin yet and some countries have banned it altogether. The physical Bitcoins you see in photos are a novelty. They would be worthless without the private codes printed inside them. Each Bitcoin is basically a computer file which is stored in a 'digital wallet' app on a smartphone or computer.
Soon to be filthy rich continue reading. If you did exactly that and are currently reading this over a glass of Armand De Brignac aboard your ft superyachtthen bully for you. If, however, you don't understand what Bitcoin is, let alone know how to get hold of any, it's time to gen up.
There could well be more money to be made and chances are that someone you know has already bought in. Got fomo? Here's a quick-start guide Bitcoin is a digital currency whose every coin and transaction is tracked on a huge database called the blockchain.
Rather than existing in one place, this database is held by all Bitcoin users. Like any currency, Bitcoin has a value in terms of others — dollars, say, or pounds — and, as people have become interested in its potential, Bitcoin's value has soared.
It has been the best-performing currency globally every year since apart from when it was, err, the worst. Instead, you can snap up as tiny a fraction of one as you. The most user-friendly method is to download a free mobile app called Coinbase. You can transfer local currency to your Coinbase "wallet" via a credit or debit card and buy or sell Bitcoin at the click of a button for a small fee.
Coinbase also lets you invest in two rising-star "alt coins": Ethereum and Litecoin. These are cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin and there are hundreds of. Some have been set up as a joke, such as Dogecoin because: geeky internet memesbut others — including Monero, What is the best magazine for bitcoin and Dash — have the potential to go far.
Ethereum, which recently won backing from Microsoft and JP Morgan Chase, is up per cent this year. Buying cryptocurrency is a crapshoot. It's highly volatile: the last time the US stock market fell by more than ten per cent in a day was back in ; Bitcoin has seen more than ten per cent wiped off its value what is the best magazine for bitcoin times since January A cryptocurrency could also be obliterated overnight.
Should major governments regulate hard against it or hackers manage to break its security, that's your money up in smoke. What's more, criminals have been stealing from online wallets though that is avoidable: keep your cryptocurrency offline if you own a significant. Depends on who you listen to.
If you end up hitting pay dirt, make ours a double. Since the creation of the first Bitcoin inthe cryptocurrency has had a roller-coaster ride. Herewith, a timeline June WikiLeaks begins to accept Bitcoin for donations. February Bitcoin Magazine launches.
June Bitcoin exchange Coinbase opens. December Microsoft begins accepting Bitcoin for games and apps. AugustBitcoins stolen by hackers from the Bitfinex exchange. March For the first time, one Bitcoin is worth more than one ounce of gold. April Japan makes Bitcoin a legal currency. As one of our most-read pieces, this article was emailed, in its entirety, to all our GQ Commuter newsletter subscribers.
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Like this? Now read:. So, you've bought Bitcoin. Now what? A gentleman's guide to Ethereum. GQ Awards. British GQ. Edition Britain Chevron. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Technology Bitcoin Magazine October Issue. GQ Recommends.
By Teo van den Broeke 18 October By Anna Conrad 14 October By Poppy Malby 9 October