Understanding Bitcoin as a traditional financier

By Darren Williams

Bitcoins might seem scary to those who aren’t familiar with the concept but, as a lot of people know, they’re pretty easy to understand once you can grasp how they work. The trouble for those in the traditional financial field is that it can be tricky to make a move to something that’s not mainstream. Cash, and now digital transactions, are relatively easy to understand because we grow up having an understanding of our own currency, no matter where we come from. Unlike dealing in pounds sterling or dollars, however, Bitcoin is a currency unto its own.

What Does That Mean?

As a cryptocurrency, you’re not able to go to a traditional ATM and withdraw anything, as Bitcoins form part of online exchanges, and as such, they are digital assets. Originating in 2008, they have gained popularity in increasing levels over the years. By now, if you work in finance, you’ll know what it is to some extent. But now it’s a very real possibility that your family and friends will as well.

The Specifics

It’s likely that when you got your degree or training in your field, Bitcoin wasn’t relevant. In some roles, it still won’t be – yet. However, with some instability of currencies all over the world in recent years, thanks to changing political climates and a multitude of other factors, this currency is appearing more and more often in places you might not expect. “Bitcoin” refers to its units, and it’s all based on mathematical proof, making it a complex, but ultimately trustworthy system.

Where Can You Use It?

Bitcoin has some surprising uses, which you might not have considered. Certain takeaway sites and even health food outlets such as BeachBody accept Bitcoin for their transactions. In fact, you can find a variety of leisure outlets that will accept your Bitcoin, from hotel websites through to those in the automotive industry (think car dealers).

Of course, the arts and entertainment industry is not one to be ignored! Gamers can find slot machines using Bitcoins at VegasCasino, giving them that added piece of mind while enjoying iGaming, on either classic or jackpot slots, because their details are being kept so secure. VegasCasino was one of the first gaming sites to adopt the currency exclusively. Other entertainment outlets are following suit; for example, in modern cities like America’s Austin, Texas – even their Alamo Cinema accepts it.

What Makes It Such A Viable Alternative?

Once you have a firm grasp on the specifics, it’s easy to see why there’s such a “buzz” over Bitcoin. As it’s all online – and we are as a nation too, increasingly so – it allows us a modern currency to suit our modern lifestyles. It will never be printed, and there’s no differentiation between Sterling/Dollar/Euro and so on, which means that, no matter where you are in the world, your money will be worth the same. It can be transferred anywhere, anytime, relying only on a web connection.

It’s safe, too. Sceptics of any kind of security issues will be pleased to know that it’s separate from any one authority, and it’s created by a community of people that anyone can join. In layman’s terms, it runs on an entirely peer-to-peer basis, cutting out the middle man with direct transactions. Each exchange is verified online and recorded in a publicly available ledger called the Blockchain.

You can convert traditional currencies or partake in something called “Bitcoin mining” to acquire the currency. Those with knowledge of finance should catch on fairly quickly, and if it’s something you choose to invest in, you do have plenty of opportunities to do so.