What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a new type of currency that is completely virtual. It is designed to enable users to send money over the Internet without needing a credit card or bank account.

The technology was first introduced in 2008 as open-source software. 


Characteristics of Bitcoin

  • Bitcoin is accessible. Anyone with access to the internet can start using Bitcoin immediately. All you need is a Bitcoin wallet. At, signing up for an account is free and takes only minutes, and every account comes with its own ready-to-use Bitcoin wallet.
  • Bitcoin is global. Bitcoin that is bought in the Philippines is the same as Bitcoin bought in the United States, Israel, Iceland, Argentina, or anywhere else in the world. 
  • It's cheap and easy to send Bitcoin. You can send Bitcoin from one part of the world to another, instantly, using just your computer or your mobile phone, and it would cost you a fraction of what you'd normally pay for a bank wire or traditional remittance.
  • You can convert fiat into Bitcoin, and Bitcoin into fiat. Bitcoin services like online exchanges, peer-to-peer marketplaces and Bitcoin ATMs make it possible to quickly change your fiat (ex. Philippine pesos) into Bitcoin, and just as easily change your Bitcoin back into fiat.


Learning resources for beginners

If you are new to Bitcoin and wish to understand how it works, we highly recommend visiting the following links:

1. WATCH:'s intro video's concise animated video outlines the advantages, and simply introduces the concept of wallets and ledgers.

2. VIEW: Visual Capitalist's infographic 

Visual Capitalist published this infographic entitled the Definitive History of Bitcoin, which gives an excellent overview of how it all started and what it took for Bitcoin to get to where it is now.

3. LISTEN: Freakonomics Radio podcast 

Freakonomics Radio (the podcast of Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, authors of the Freakonomics books) ran a very interesting episode in March 2014 called “Why Everybody Who Doesn’t Hate Bitcoin Loves It." The episode covers most of the basics, and also addresses some of Bitcoin’s most controversial aspects.

The episode was posted back in March 2014, but you can still download the episode from iTunes, or stream it off Freakonomics’ official website.  

4. READ: Yevgeniy Brikman's blog post  

Software engineer Yevgeniy Brikman put together an excellent post on his blog entitled “Bitcoin by analogy" where he works his way through the tough basic questions, including:

  • what gives Bitcoin validity?
  • what is meant by “decentralized” currency?
  • how does Bitcoin mining work?

He delves into the technical aspects without being overly technical, and sheds light on the more mysterious aspects of Bitcoin.  


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