Just a few years ago, the high-tech digital cash known as Bitcoin seemed like a fantasy. It was confined to Silicon Valley circles. More and more, it is becoming obvious that Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies that use the same blockchain technology, are here to stay.
What exactly is Bitcoin? And what does it offer that makes it attractive enough to stick around for the long-run. We will get into this and some of the potential consequences of adapting this new technology.
What is New About Bitcoin?
The mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, is largely considered to be a genius, or perhaps even a group of geniuses. They finally solved the infamous double-spending problem of digital cash.
The grand innovation here is what they call blockchain technology. Basically, the ledgers for the transactions are completely public and updated on several servers at the same time. This solved the problem by having a unique code for each fraction of a token, and making it public knowledge exactly where that value was stored.
This basically automatic and decentralized system of finance has been an important innovation not only for using digital cash, but also some surprising new uses that we will get into a bit later. But for now, let us focus on some places that are finally fulfilling that initial promise: to use cryptocurrencies to buy things as a new form of digital cash.
More and More Places to Use It
What once seemed like a far-off science fiction fantasy has rather rapidly become a daily reality. This new form of cash, untethered from any one nation or central bank, is accepted more and more widely. It is now common to use Bitcoin, Ethereum, or even Litecoin at any number of locales online and off.
Some examples that seem to be ahead of the pack are online sportsbooks. Here you will find a guide to the online best betting sites. They accept a wide range of deposit methods, including cryptocurrencies. This guide will even show you the ones with the best bonuses and reputation on the web. It is a good idea to trust the experts when signing up for an online sportsbook.
This is far from the only place. Big household names such as Microsoft, Starbucks, and Tesla are all joining the currency vanguard by accepting cryptos. The list grows all the time, and includes many electronic wallets as well, such as PayPal and Venmo. These central nodes are key, as they can have influence on a number of retailers to begin opening up to this new technology.
Surprising New Uses of Blockchain Technology
While blockchain technology as originally developed by Satoshi was meant for digital cash, it has quickly evolved to include many other opportunities. This is truly a wide range of new uses that is currently being explored. As more uses are developed, the more frequent and entrenched this new technology becomes in our society.
Some of the biggest ones fall under the category of DeFi, or decentralized finance. In this type of finance, you do not need to rely on third parties, such as banks. With this type of technology, you can create smart contracts.
Smart contracts are automatic. They are self-enforcing. You do not need a third party to enforce, execute, or document the contract. It is all coded publically and uses complex blockchain architecture. This technology can reduce the costs of paying banks and potential fraud, making for a faster and more efficient economy.
More and More Countries Step Up To Regulate It
While it may seem like bad news at first, when countries begin to regulate Bitcoins and other forms of digital currencies, it actually means they have mainstreamed. Central banks are now taking them seriously and providing a regulatory framework that will provide some stability to the emerging industry.
One can see how private and public institutions move forward into the world of digital currencies when looking at India. Here, Paytm is waiting for further regulation from India. This is an example of how regulation can be a good thing for the expansion of private blockchain enterprises.
Elsewhere, such as in the United States, we have seen a flood of regulations, which has gone hand-in-hand with more private acceptance of the currency. For example, if you make money by investing in Bitcoin, you now have to pay taxes on those earnings.