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In our hyper connected tech world we have probably all heard a number of buzzwords that are related to cybercrime. Identity theft, ransomware, hacks, leaks, fraud, viruses, phishing, forgery, malware and spam are all terms that we either hear on the news or the latest primetime tv drama and that is because cybercrime is evolving at an alarming rate.

What is Cybercrime?

Cybercrime refers to criminal activities carried out by means of computers or the internet and it is one of the fastest growing black markets in the world. Cybercriminals work in illicit parts of the internet with incredibly high risk and even higher profit margins. In order to stay one step (or several steps) ahead of law enforcement, hackers are always evolving and advancing to use the most cutting edge technology available.

Bank Security

One of the biggest security weaknesses with the banking system is that banks are legally required to collect all sorts of your personal information in order for you to store value or use their network. These privacy invasive regulations are commonly known as Know Your Customer laws or KYC for short. These laws create an abnormally large collection of personal data for hackers and cybercriminals to target by forcing your personal identity to be attached to all of your electronic spending. The end result is the erosion of financial privacy and the creation of large caches of your personal data ripe for exploitation by dark markets.

Cache for Cash

The larger these collections of personal data caches become, the greater incentive for a group of hackers to target them. These data caches can be at banks or on social media accounts. According to the Wall Street Journal a recent hack of Home Depot resulted in 53 million email accounts being compromised. With these e.mail hackers can launch phishing scams and spam attacks that can deliver malware.

Once this malware installs itself on your computer, it searches for personal info such as names, addresses, phone numbers, bank accounts, passwords, medical records, social security numbers and anything else that can be used to hijack your identity both on and offline. Once your data is mined, hackers can do all sorts of things with it like opening up bank accounts or lines of credit in your name such as personal loans, credit cards, claim your tax returns, obtain medical care like prescription drugs just to name a few.

This is not just a threat when you spend money on the internet but every time that you swipe your credit or debit card you are transmitting lots of your personal data. So imagine that every single time that you have ever used your credit card…ever. Now imagine that malicious actors gained access to that data. How could your life be damaged?

Use Bitcoin

It is much harder for identity theft to destroy your credit when your identity is not attached to your money. This is why the world needs a payment network that doesn’t require any of your personal information in order to send, receive or store value. Bitcoin is just the solution for such a problem. It provides the user with increased privacy while reducing your risk of falling victim to cybercrime and we are just beginning to learn of the benefits of using bitcoin.

Take Action

We are doing whatever we can to increase bitcoin awareness and educate new users and we need all the help we can get. If you feel that this post would benefit others, please share it. Furthermore, if you feel like educating people about bitcoin out in the real world, start the discussion with one of our bitcoin shirts.

How do you think bitcoin will help to prevent cybercrime? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

The post Cybercrime is Evolving Faster Than Your Bank’s Security appeared first on 101 Reasons to Use Bitcoin.

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Skeptics are eager to criticize bitcoin because they claim that it doesn’t have any “intrinsic value” and therefore can’t possibly be money. What they fail to realize is that bitcoin has a market utility that no other form of money in history has ever had. That’s a bold statement so let me show you why bitcoin is money.

What is Money?

In order for something to be money, it needs to perform three basic functions. It needs to be a used as a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value. In order to do these three things, it needs to possess six characteristics. It needs to be durable, portable, divisible, uniform, scarce and acceptable. All throughout history, societies have used a number of devices to provide these three functions with various levels of these six characteristics. Some historically popular forms of money have been salt, whale’s teeth, beads, shells, feathers but the most popular money of them all has been gold because it had more of these six characteristics than all of the others. In short, money is money because of what it does; not because of what it is.

Bitcoin and the history of money - YouTube

Bitcoin is Durable

Money needs to be durable if it is going to stand the test of time. Durability is one of the reasons that gold was the best form of money for thousands of years. In ancient societies, certain food commodities were used as money because everyone wanted food. As we all know, food spoils after a while so it ended up not being the most durable form of money. One of the reasons that whale’s teeth made good money was because of how durable they are.

Bitcoin is Portable

Money needs to be portable if people are going to carry it with them. One of the problems with gold is that it is difficult to transport in large quantities and doing so puts the holder at high risk of robbery. Portability is probably the main reason why paper money was invented. People would deposit their gold or other forms of money into a bank or vault and were issued a certificate of ownership for their money. These certificates were just an IOU issued by the owner of the vault where the money was stored. This system was the birth of representative money. (It’s important not to confuse this with fiat money of today but more on that later.) Bitcoin is probably the most portable form of money in history because anyone can hold an unlimited amount of money in their pocket.

Bitcoin is Divisible

Money needs to be divisible if people are going to use it in everyday life. Historically, a lack of divisibility has been one of the of the biggest problems with most forms of money. You typically cannot divide money by itself. You need someone else to divide it for you if you don’t have smaller amounts yourself. Have you ever asked anyone “Hey, do you have change for a fifty?” They might respond, “No, sorry. I can’t break a fifty.” This is because your fifty dollar bill is not divisible by itself. It needs to be exchanged for other smaller denominations of money in order to divide it. Bitcoin on the other hand is divisible into one hundred million smaller units by itself (100,000,000 units). This makes a single bitcoin one million times more divisible than your dollars, pounds, euros pesos, yen, etc.

Bitcoin is Uniform

From a technical perspective Bitcoin is perfectly uniform or “fungible” because every bitcoin is just like every other bitcoin. Because of the transparent nature of the technology behind bitcoin (the blockchain), some governments do not consider certain bitcoins the same as others. Some bitcoins may be linked to illicit activity and therefore be subject to certain scrutiny from law enforcement. There is debate about the level of fungibility that bitcoin has but since bitcoin is an open-source software, the network is constantly looking for ways to change this to make bitcoin even better.

Bitcoin is Scarce

Money needs to be scarce if people are going to trust it as a form of money. If money can just be printed out of thin air at the whim of a politician or banker, then it is not scarce. This lack of scarcity is one of the biggest problems with the global money supply since money supplies can just be inflated or even hyperinflated to the point that bills are worth less than the paper they are printed on. Bitcoin on the other hand, solves the problem of scarcity because the supply is controlled by math rather than politicians and bankers.

Bitcoin is Easily Acceptable

As the bitcoin infrastructure grows, more people are realizing that bitcoin is not just a fad. People are finding new ways to accept it as a payment for goods and services. If you would like to accept bitcoin in just seconds on any computer or mobile device, be sure to try out RushWallet.com and you can accept your first bitcoin before you are done reading this post. What’s also important to note is that bitcoin’s borderless nature enables it to be accepted in any country in the world without any permission from banks or governments. This makes bitcoin more acceptable than most currencies in the world.

Use Bitcoin

In conclusion, bitcoin is a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of value and is more durable, portable, divisible, uniform, scarce and acceptable than any other form of money on the planet. Even if you don’t yet see how bitcoin is going to change the global economy, the best things that you can do for your future is to own at least a little bit and save it until the infrastructure grows to the point that you find a use for it.

Take Action

We are doing whatever we can to increase bitcoin awareness and educate new users and we need all the help we can get. If you feel that this post would benefit others, please share it. Furthermore, if you feel like educating people about bitcoin out in the real world, start the discussion with one of our bitcoin shirts.

How do you think bitcoin is going to change the way the global economy works? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

The post Bitcoin is Durable, Portable, Divisible, Uniform, Scarce and Easy to Accept appeared first on 101 Reasons to Use Bitcoin.

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“What is Bitcoin?” was one of the most searched terms of 2014 according to Google and reasonably so. When I first heard about it years ago, I was so confused as to what it actually was and even more confused about what it wasn’t. Well, as it turns out Bitcoin is a number of things but the more I read about Bitcoin across the web I’ve heard a lot of people call it things that are completely wrong. So in order to help remove a bunch of the confusion, I have compiled this list of things that Bitcoin is NOT.

Bitcoins are Not Physical Coins

This took me so long to understand. When I first heard about Bitcoin back in 2009/2010, I did a bunch of reading and I was only more confused than before I started doing research. People were calling them online tokens but apparently there was also a guy in Utah that was minting something called a “Recalescence Coin” or a physical bitcoin. This made me confused when I learned that bitcoin can only be manifested online. Well how was this guy making bitcoins then? It took some more digging to figure out that bitcoins are nothing but information. That’s all. But as we all know, information can be written down just about anywhere and that’s what the maker of these Recalescence Coins was doing. One of the ways that this coin minter decided to store bitcoins was laser etched into the face of gold coin and a very tamper resistant seal over the etching. It probably doesn’t help that lots of tech publications still use images of physical coins in a number of their blog posts as the featured image.

Bitcoin is Not a Ponzi Scheme

I get so frustrated whenever I hear this for two reasons. First because the person telling me this does not know what a Ponzi scheme is and second they don’t understand what bitcoin is. So they just sound like a double idiot. Ponzi schemes are centrally controlled lies to get investors to continually buy into something and then pay the old investors with money from the new investors. Eventually the lie will collapse. There ARE however lots of Ponzi schemes masquerading as businesses in the bitcoin economy. One of the most common bitcoin related Ponzi schemes is “cloud mining”. You buy a Bitcoin miner somewhere in the world and then receive daily payouts, that slowly get smaller over time as the complexity of mining increases. As new people buy into the cloud mining pools, those funds are often used to pay the older “investors” and they think that they are mining Bitcoin. It is only a matter of time before they are found out and their lie will collapse.

Bitcoin is Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme

Yes, it is true that a number of people have made some small fortunes by buying into Bitcoin when it was just pennies per bitcoin but those stores are mostly sensationalist hype and not the norm. Bitcoin as money is a very risky endeavor and should you should take extreme caution when you buy large quantities of it. This is especially true when you are buying larger quantities all at once. It is true that you can make some phenomenal returns on Bitcoin in very little time but if you are going to buy some it is best to buy what you can easily afford to lose. One strategy commonly used when purchasing highly volatile commodities is to use a dollar cost average approach in order to buy more when the price falls and buy less when it rises. This will ensure that you mitigate risk as the price fluctuates rapidly.

Bitcoin is Not a Bank

Banks are an old and centrally controlled monopoly system that are reliant on humans and heavy regulations in order to operate. There are lots of rules, regulations and policies that banks are required to abide by like collecting all sorts of personal information. With lots of those regulations comes expensive compliance which is then passed onto the banks’ customers just like you. Bitcoin on the other hand is an open-source math experiment that allows people to store and transact value without the permission of anyone else but yourself. Bitcoin is not a bank at all. In fact, it makes a number of bank functions completely obsolete like personal checking and savings accounts. As the technology behind Bitcoin progresses, it will prove to render a number of services offered by banks to also be obsolete like securities, bonds and even lending.

Bitcoin is Not “The New Papyal”

A little while ago TechCrunch released an article about how “Bitcoin is the new PayPal” or something and while one of the many functions of Bitcoin is a payment network like PayPal, it is also nothing like PayPal. Bitcoin is far superior to any centrally controlled and regulated entity for sending and receiving money. You can’t reverse Bitcoin transactions and you don’t need permission from PayPal to send or receive money. While reversing transactions does have advantages for certain transactions this opens up opportunity for lots of online fraud as business owners (small and big) can become victims of buyers claiming that they never received the product they ordered and PayPal will freeze the funds until the dispute is settled. For this reason payment mechanisms like Bitcoin offer protection for online sellers from this sort of fraud. All that being said, Bitcoin is more like the new cash or gold; not the new PayPal.

Bitcoin is Not controlled by any Central Authority

Neither banks nor governments directly control Bitcoin. They can absolutely create laws around Bitcoin and black list you from conducting business with their bank if they chose but one of the beauties of Bitcoin is that it belongs to the people of the entire world and not some elite banking cartel backed by the monopoly of legal tender laws. This lack of control is what draws a number of entrepreneurs from around the world who want to harness the power of this new technology.

Bitcoin is Not Worthless just because it’s not Tangible

To say that Bitcoin is worthless is to say that VISA and MasterCard, e.mail or the internet are worthless. Although VISA and MC only transact fiat currencies around the world, they offer tremendous value to their users because they are payment networks. They allow their users to conduct electronic transactions all over the world. Do you remember the tag line “VISA, It’s everywhere you want to be.”? Well there is some truth to that statement. VISA is used all over the world. I have personally used both visa and MasterCard in around 15 countries. I have also had my accounts frozen several times because I was spending money in “high risk” areas where credit card fraud is common so my accounts were suspended. Once in Spain I had my ATM card frozen just hours before I needed to fly back to the U.S. And the cab drivers only accept cash. It created a BIG problem on my end. But Visa and Other payment networks like it do have value because people use them and the bigger the network, the bigger the value of the network effect. The same is true of Bitcoin. As more and more people use Bitcoin the more valuable the network effect becomes.

Bitcoin is Not Anonymous

Too many people think that just because your name is not directly tied any given bitcoin address that it is therefore anonymous. That could not be further from the truth. While, there is a lot of privacy with Bitcoin, it is not at all anonymous because every bitcoin transaction ever made is public to the entire world on an immutable ledger. It would be much more accurate to say that Bitcoin is radically transparent than radically anonymous.

Bitcoin is Not Untraceable

People who think that Bitcoin is untraceable don’t understand the radical transparency of the blockchain. Because every transaction is publicly visible on the blockchain, it is probably the most traceable form of money in the world.

Bitcoin is Not “Fake Money”

As Ryan X. Charles on Twitter wrote: “Money is a form of non-programable Bitcoin that people used to use before they invented computers and cryptography” and he means that in the truest of senses. Money is made by markets; not by governments or banks and that is EXACTLY what Bitcoin is. It is a medium of exchange, a unit of account and a store of vale for a certain market of tech nerds and other free thinkers and that market gets bigger every time someone new decides to use Bitcoin. If you think you paper money is real and Bitcoin is fake, then you do not understand the principles of sound money. Fiat currencies are printed from nothing at the whim of bankers and politicians while Bitcoin is created by mathematical algorithm.

Bitcoin is Not Illegal

Bitcoin is an open-source peer-to-peer math experiment and because it is just a math experiment it is not illegal (in most places around the world) but that does not mean that you cannot do illegal things with it. You can use it to receive an illegal payment for a ransom or to purchase illicit drugs but you can do these same things with cash, credit cards or PayPal and yet all of these mechanisms are not illegal (Cash may soon become illegal in places like India and Scandinavia). As long as bitcoin is used for legal activities, it will stay legal but if the only people who adopt bitcoin are those who seek to do things that are illegal or even immoral then it will likely become illegal in a number of jurisdictions around the world.

I’m sure that I missed a number of things that Bitcoin is not but these 11 things are often the cause of lots of confusion in the Bitcoin space and I feel like they really hurt user adoption. If you would like to learn more about What Bitcoin IS and the many reasons why you should adopt and use it, then please follow us on our social media channels.

What is something that bitcoin s not? Let us know with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

The post 11 Things that Bitcoin is NOT appeared first on 101 Reasons to Use Bitcoin.

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We all use money in our daily lives. Some of us use paper bills, some use electronic forms of money while some economies rely heavily on barter systems and commodity based money like gold. No matter what form of money you use, you shouldn’t be required to pay for things with your private information along with each payment. This is where bitcoin has immense privacy enhancing features for transacting value both on and offline.

Cash

Before the invention of electronic money, the only way that you could pay for things was with cold hard cash. Cash came in many forms and up until the invention of fiat money the preferred form of cash was gold. Since gold is way to difficult to transport in quantity, paper note representations of gold were created and still to this day, cash is the most private and anonymous means of transferring value. This is one the main reasons why cash is the currency of choice for illegal activity.

Know Your Customer (KYC)

Banks and financial institutions are required by law to collect too much of your personal information. These types of regulations often perpetuate financial exclusion and further foster global disparity by keeping the lower class out of the banking system.

In order to open a bank account in most developed nations, you need all sorts of identifying documents. Government issued photo ID, birth certificates, proof of residence and this is if you are a citizen. If you are an immigrant, things become much more difficult and often result in denial. It is these KYC regulations that are one of the driving forces behind the erosion of privacy and increasing poverty around the globe. You shouldn’t have to surrender your identity in order to store and transact value in the digital age.

Checks

Checks gave birth to all sorts of new fraud and cybercrime that had never existed before. Whenever you pay someone with a check you are revealing some very personal information about yourself. Each check has your first name, last name and address. That’s not good for your privacy. You also surrender both your checking and routing numbers on each check which can open you up to some check fraud problems. Watch the movie “Catch Me If You Can” starring Leo DiCaprio for the story of the greatest check fraudster in the world, Frank Abagnale.

Debit and Credit Cards

Every single time that you swipe your credit or debit card you are surrendering personal information about yourself not only to the vendor that you are buying from but also to your bank. With each transaction, they know where you are, when you are there, how much you spent and often times what you purchased. ApplePay removes some of this information being revealed but you still do not have private control of your funds.

Digital Cash

One of the beautiful things about bitcoin is that you can store and transact value without having to attach your identity to your money. This is what makes bitcoin the most private payment network on the planet. Not only do you keep full control of your personal information when you spend with bitcoin but you also keep full control of your funds. It is this type of financial privacy that will enable more economic inclusivity than any existing payment mechanism in the world today.

Do you think you should have to surrender your personal information to spend money? Tell us what you think with a comment below or a tweet at @BitcoinReasons

The post Do We Pay for Things With Our Privacy? appeared first on 101 Reasons to Use Bitcoin.

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