These are the basics. The building blocks you need to understand and trade crypto currencies successfully online
We get into the real stuff where the action happens.
You now need to take on some more responsibility before risking your funds.
Do you know when you send ZAR 1,000 to a friend? Well, you don’t mail the cash, do you? Of course not. You get your bank to send the cash. The bank doesn’t mail the cash either. Instead, the bank has a ledger it shares with all the other banks. (the same ledger used to create money). Your bank sends an instruction to your friend’s bank. They tell them to increase your friend’s side of the ledger (balance) by ZAR 1,000. And they decrease your balance by that same amount.
Banks share a ledger or many ledgers which are interoperable. Because they have this functionality they are also the gatekeepers to Central Banks and Governments who create money in the first place.
Banking infrastructure is quite old. Some of the technology is still from the ‘70s! Furthermore, the whole process can take a while, sometimes even days. Also, it can cost huge amounts in fees.
Enter Bitcoin. Bitcoin is also a ledger called the blockchain, nothing more. But, unlike the ledger the bank’s share, the Bitcoin ledger is not controlled by one entity or small group of entities.
The Bitcoin ledger is controlled by the Internet itself. A copy of the ledger is shared by volunteer computers, globally. Anyone, anywhere, can keep a copy. Moreover, when you want to send money to someone, you send a signal to this distributed network of computers to update the ledger.
Just like the above example with the bank, the network will increase your friend’s balance and decrease yours. Only, in this case, the distributed network of computers did it by itself, autonomously.
The transfer process on this ledger is super fast and super cheap when compared with the bank. Also, anyone can use this ledger. You don’t need anyone’s permission, any forms, or ID. On the Bitcoin ledger you are sending ‘Bitcoins’; Dollars, Euros, Rand, Yen values. On the bank ledger, they use FIAT; Rand, Dollars, Euros, for example.
Bitcoin is a currency, as a result, you can use it to buy things and pay bills. The Bitcoin ledger offers near-instant money (Bitcoin) transfer, globally, at a very low cost furthermore, the Bitcoins only exist as ledger entries. They are not physical. It is a virtual currency.
A process called ‘mining’ brings bitcoins onto the ledger. You can mine bitcoins out of the digital crust of the internet. Just like you mine gold out of the Earth’s crust. There are only about 17 million of them at the moment. They are very rare. As result, they are very expensive to ‘dig’ out of the digital ‘crust’ of the internet. There will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins.
Economically, the mining process for bitcoins and gold is the same. In contrast, your bank receives Rand on its ledger from the central bank. The bank prints a lot of them. Some say too many. So, some would argue that Bitcoin is simply a better form of wealth creation mechanism, for this reason.
Do you feel you now know what Bitcoin is and what it’s all about? Well, we’ve just started! In the next section, we’ll reveal why you should learn to trade Bitcoin and similar digital currencies. There are plenty of advantages and profit opportunities with trading Bitcoin. We’ll reveal those in our next lesson.