Bitcoin - An Emerging Global Payment System
Online transactions have become commonplace in most of our lives. Companies like Amazon have become ubiquitous, and with good reason. Their service is impeccable. The myriad of competitors, vie for a small slice of the online marketplace. This creates some amazing bargains for the consumer, not to mention, keeping the businesses sharp. With the online retailers, we have witnessed some amazing progression in the last decade. Although, there are areas of this online ecosystem, that have remained stagnant, if not abusive to their customers. What segment, you ask? The credit card companies.
Most of us have purchased things online, using standard payment systems. Companies like paypal, visa, mastercard, american express, have dominated the online payment systems, for a long time. As seen with Visa's record breaking, $17.9 Billion IPO in 2008, cashless transactions are becoming more prevalent. With all the money flowing into credit card companies, merchant account processors, and other electronic payment systems. It makes one wonder why the credit card companies can continue to abuse their customer base. There is very little competition in this space, and it shows.
Today, there are some viable alternatives to the standard payment system. A recent development in technology that allows people to move money, outside of the traditional credit card processors. This new technology is called bitcoin. It's a fascinating system, that allows some amazing things to happen. Much like credit cards, your "coins" live online, and can be spent freely amongst other bitcoin users, or merchants that accept this form of payment. Although, you don't "Sign up" for bitcoin. You don't receive "credit". You purchase your bitcoins, and store them in a digital wallet. This can be done on a online account, or on your computer.
The process is slightly different, than your typical online banking & credit card scenario. Although, it's not at all complicated. Well, not anymore complicated than your current online banking profile. Signing up for an online bitcoin wallet, only takes a few minutes. Once you verify your information, you are free to use bitcoin as you wish. This ranges from purchasing bitcoin, or products. Or, even trading them, in one of the many, bitcoin trading services.
Can bitcoin truly replace today's payment processors? Maybe not immediately, but there are some great advantages for both the consumer, and online merchants. Not to mention the investment opportunity that bitcoin offers, by simply buying, and holding bitcoins.
Why is bitcoin important?
Inherently, bitcoin has advantages that other payment processors simply cannot compete with. Here are a few of the important items:
- No central authority - You own your bitcoins, and they are yours for as long as you want them
- Minimal transaction fees.
- Relative anonymity - Your bitcoin address is a series of letters & numbers
- Send bitcoin globally within minutes
- Secure - bitcoin uses military grade cryptography to secure your funds.
- Independent from any countries currency. If recent events from Cyprus, come to a city/state/country near you, bitcoin is protected
- Mobile & tablet compatible.
How to get started using bitcoin.
Getting started with bitcoin is very straight forward. Remember, this is not a credit card. Bitcoin is money, and a payment processor rolled into one. The easiest way to get started with bitcoin, is to setup an account with one of the online wallet companies. Here you can purchase your first bitcoins, then if you feel comfortable you can use some of the more advanced features. That is for another day. Let's get started.
Once your get your online wallet account setup, you are free to use your bitcoins as you wish. There are numerous places online to purchase items with bitcoin. Not to mention, the rapidly growing, local merchants.