What is Bitcoin?
Welcome to the next generation of money. Welcome to Bitcoin.
What is Bitcoin?
Created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous individual or group of individuals, Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency that allows for payments to be sent out directly from person to person — without the need for a third party like a bank or financial institution. Instead, it relies on a network of computers to process and verify transactions. All of this is recorded on a public ledger called the blockchain.
With a strong track record of security maintained by a decentralized network of computers and nodes called "miners", the Bitcoin network is the most secure financial technology on the planet — it's virtually never been down, it's never been hacked, and it's never failed as a means of reliable payments for anyone who wants to use it.
By cutting out the middleman, Bitcoin allows for incredibly fast, secure, and cheap payments that can be sent from anywhere in the world. Anyone can get started with Bitcoin without understanding the technical details. You don't need to make the trek over to your local bank. You don't need an ID. You don't even need your name. All you need is an Internet connection and a Bitcoin wallet.
What is a Bitcoin Wallet?
Bitcoin wallets come in many different shapes and sizes, but at the end of the day they all do the same thing — they allow you to send and receive Bitcoin. You can think of your Bitcoin wallet like your regular wallet — except instead of holding cash or credit cards, it holds your Bitcoin.
A Bitcoin wallet is like your own personal bank account that lives on your computer or mobile device. It allows you to send and receive Bitcoins, store your Bitcoins, and even use them to buy goods and services.
A common confusion of people new to Bitcoin is that many think you can only buy single whole bitcoins at a time. But that's not the case! You can buy as little or as much as you want. Bitcoin is divisible into 100 million units, so you can buy as little as 0.00000001 bitcoin if you want. These fractional units, called "satoshis" — or "sats" for short — is a word you'll hear thrown around a lot the more you get exposure to the Bitcoin world. You can choose as many sats as you want to buy, whether it's $5 or $5000. The choice is yours.
While the process of setting up a Bitcoin wallet may seem daunting at first, it’s actually quite simple. And once you have a wallet set up (we like the NOAH app, but we're a bit biased), you can start using Bitcoin right away!
What makes Bitcoin unique?
Bitcoin is permissionless — anyone can use Bitcoin for any purpose. No one can prevent you from accepting or sending Bitcoin and no one can block a transaction. No one can reverse or cancel a transaction and no one can censor your payments.
In a world where billions of people don't have access to modernized financial services, Bitcoin is their ticket to inclusion in the world economy. Many live dozens of miles away from a nearby bank, and time required to travel there and open up an account is often prohibitive. In some countries, banks and financial institutions discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, and social status. But with Bitcoin, there are no barriers to entry.
Bitcoin is for anyone and everyone — no permission needed.
Bitcoin is borderless — wherever you are in the world, you can send and receive Bitcoin. It doesn't matter if you're in Manhattan, rural Wyoming, Nigeria, or the Philippines — you can send Bitcoin from anywhere, at any time, to any place.
While Bitcoin is global and doesn't have any borders, government-issued fiat currency is restricted by geographic boundaries. For example, if you want to send money from the United States to Europe, you need to go through a bank or other financial institution, pay exorbitant fees, and wait days or even weeks for the transaction to clear.
Bitcoin is fast — transactions take place immediately and can be confirmed within as little as 10-20 minutes. For comparison, international bank transfers can take anywhere from several hours to several days. And now, with new advancements built on top of the Bitcoin protocol like The Lightning Network, Bitcoin transactions can be made nearly instantaneously.
Bitcoin is non-inflationary — unlike the US dollar or other fiat currencies, Bitcoin has a fixed supply — there can never be more than 21 million bitcoin. And only a small amount of bitcoin is created every year, which tends to decrease the inflation rate and helps explain why bitcoin holds its value well over long periods of time.
Bitcoin is transparent — all Bitcoin transactions can be viewed on the public ledger called a blockchain. This transparent public ledger is immutable — the information cannot be changed retroactively, and it cannot be tampered with. This means that anyone, at any time, can verify the accuracy of the Bitcoin blockchain.
In the traditional banking system, there is a lot of opacity — you don't really know where your money is or who has access to it. It's just a bunch of ones and zeros on a computer somewhere. But with Bitcoin, you can see exactly where your money is, where it's been, and where it ends up going.
Why Bitcoin Matters to You
People want Bitcoin for a variety of reasons. Some people want Bitcoin because they see it as a store of value — an asset that will hold its value over time. Others want to use it for day-to-day transactions, like buying coffee or groceries. And for many, people want Bitcoin as a way to send money back home to family and friends in countries with unstable economies or high inflation rates.
It's easy to get bogged down in the technical details. But at the end of the day, Bitcoin is the most inclusive, robust, and secure financial technology on the planet — and that's why at NOAH, we chose Bitcoin. We chose Bitcoin because it's the best money the world has ever seen. We chose Bitcoin because it's yours.
You are in control of your money. Not a bank, not a company, not a government. Just you. Bitcoin is your bank. Bitcoin is your money. Bitcoin is your decision.
Bitcoin is a lot of things.
But at its core, Bitcoin is freedom.