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Why People Use Bitcoins

There are a number of advantages to using a digital currency such as bitcoins, rather than pounds, dollars or euros.

  • Free from Government control: There is no central authority controlling the bitcoin network. That means the currency can’t be meddled with by a government or a central bank. They can’t suddenly decide to seize your money (remember Cyprus in 2013?)
  • Anonymous: while the currency is transparent, so that everyone can see the movement of bitcoins by looking at where the transactions come from and where they end up, nobody knows who actually owns the wallets the coins are moving in and out of. So you can make purchases anonymously, so long as you are not tying the purchases to your real life identity (ie by having goods paid for with bitcoins delivered to your personal address).
  • Reliable: The fact that the network controlling digital currencies is decentralized means that if part of the network goes down for any reason, the other computers in the network will route around the problem to keep the money rolling.
  • Fast: unlike transferring real money to another bank, or writing a cheque, there is very little delay while the transaction clears. Confirmation of a transaction can happen in anything between 10 minutes to an hour. That’s much faster than even the swiftest international wire transfer. Some merchants don’t wait to receive the confirmation before completing a sale, in which case the transaction is instantaneous.
  • Cheap: the fees for transferring bitcoins are typically lower than those your bank or credit card provider charges.
  • Irreversible: once a bitcoin transfer has been made, it can’t be reversed. So merchants taking bitcoins as payment don’t have to worry about chargebacks.
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