It was worth $ 400 five years ago, but over $ 60,000 in mid-April. You can buy it at a grocery store or gas station using any of the 32,300 ATMs that sell it. And it plays a leading role in many scams now targeting older Americans.
It’s Bitcoin, a type of money that bears little resemblance to what people have understood to be money for centuries. It is not issued by any country. There are no printing presses or Bitcoin mints. It only exists on computers.
A huge industry has grown up around Bitcoin. Big companies like PayPal, Dish Network, and Overstock.com now accept it as a payment method. Elon Musk’s electric car company Tesla spent $ 1.5 billion on it in January. But just because this currency touches the general public does not mean that it is for everyone. Here’s what you need to know to avoid getting burned.
Where do you find it?
Contrary to what the name suggests, Bitcoin only exists as a digital code. Transactions are made and verified through a digital ledger, known as a blockchain, using a network of computers; the virtual money itself is stored in what is called a digital wallet. If you want to buy Bitcoin, you don’t have to buy a full one; you can buy tiny fractions – and do so online through Bitcoin exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance, and Gemini, or at one of the many ATMs in the United States that sell it.
Where is he from?
Bitcoin’s origin story has all the qualities of a thriller: It was started in 2009 by someone (or someone) using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, who posted an article online proposing a currency that did not need to go through a financial institution. More than a decade later, after billions of dollars in Bitcoin transactions and despite the efforts of many would-be detectives, it’s still unclear who created it.