It’s been an exciting time for the Atlas team recently, taking our new platform on the road and telling our story to a more global audience. But the more people we meet, the clearer it is that the story of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is only just beginning. Interest continues to grow, with more people each day finding out how to take advantage of the benefits of cryptocurrencies.
We’re often asked by those new to the world of crypto, “what’s so great about Bitcoin”?
So here it is — a run-down of the key things you need to know about the world’s most well-known cryptocurrency.
It’s faster and cheaper
Let’s start with the basics. Transactions are faster with Bitcoin than other digital ways to pay. Normally, sending a payment from one bank account to another — even with the same bank — can take anything between 30 minutes and a full day. And if you’re sending money abroad, you could be looking at a three-day wait. With Bitcoin, the average length is around 10 to 20 minutes. There are no ‘business days’ either, meaning you can send the currency to any person on any day, at any time.
Using Bitcoin can be cheaper, too. Sending a payment with Bitcoin requires paying a small fee to ‘miners’ of the payment network — on average, a transaction costs a few dollars regardless of the quantity of Bitcoin sent. But with other currencies, the costs quickly rack up when you tally up a fee for the transaction, monthly charges by payment card providers and additional fees charged to sellers and suppliers. That’s not to mention the added fees often applied to transfers sent abroad.
It’s global, and getting more popular by the day
The money you save on international payments with Bitcoin is no accident. The network breaks down artificial barriers — it’s been global and borderless from day one. That means whether you’re sending a transaction to your next door neighbour or a friend on the other side of the world, Bitcoin reaches them in the same amount of time and doesn’t accumulate additional charges or taxes.
Think of it this way: Bitcoin payments are to email what traditional payments are to a letter in the mail. And they’re growing more popular all the time — not only among the public, but now more retailers and banks accept Bitcoin than ever before. Some governments are even considering national cryptocurrencies as a way to move towards a ‘cashless’ society.
It keeps your information private and secure
Here’s an uncomfortable truth we don’t always remember: every transaction you’ve ever made on your credit or debit card is stored on a company’s server, somewhere. While that information could easily be stolen, corrupted or even sold to malicious third-parties, Bitcoin couldn’t be more different — thanks to the smart cryptographic process that underpins it.
It’s also easy to forget that using a credit or debit card online carries additional risk — that information is also stored and exposed to potential theft. When it comes to Bitcoin, following best practice means your data is truly safe — and without a private key to your Bitcoin address, hackers couldn’t even access your balance.
It’s reliable and trustworthy
For central banks managing normal currencies, making mistakes with monetary policy can have drastic consequences, from high inflation to loss of purchasing power. In contrast, the quantity of existing Bitcoin is locked-in to a maximum of 21 million units.
The existing financial system, ultimately, relies on trust. You are required to trust governments, regulators, institutions and their employees with your financial wellbeing, and hope that nothing goes wrong. But the Bitcoin system doesn’t ask you to trust any entity or middle-man — the system is based purely on cryptography and mathematics.
It’s easier than ever before to get started
This has been the biggest challenge for Bitcoin to overcome in recent years. Fortunately, huge strides have been made and getting to grips with it is easier than ever before.
There’s one key step to getting started with using Bitcoin — you’ll need somewhere to store it. That’s where your cryptocurrency wallet comes in. Whether you decide to go with a virtual wallet (mobile or desktop) or external wallet (a ‘hardware wallet’), there are plenty of online guides to help you find the best option for your needs.
Next, you’ll have two options for buying your own Bitcoin. Once up and running with a wallet, many opt to buy theirs from a Bitcoin brokerage house — or ‘exchange’. But another option is to simply find a friend who already owns the currency and offer money in exchange for a Bitcoin transfer to your wallet.
Of course, once you’re ready to start enjoying the advantages of Bitcoin, you might want to consider investing with a platform like Atlas Quantum.