Bitcoin is P2P electronic cash that is valuable over legacy systems because of the monetary autonomy it brings to its users. Bitcoin seeks to address the root problem with conventional currency: all the trust that's required to make it work -- Not that justified trust is a bad thing, but trust makes systems brittle, opaque, and costly to operate. Trust failures result in systemic collapses, trust curation creates inequality and monopoly lock-in, and naturally arising trust choke-points can be abused to deny access to due process.
Bitcoins have all the desirable properties of a money-like good. They are portable, durable, divisible, recognizable, fungible, scarce, hard to counterfeit.
Bitcoins are sent easily through the Internet, without needing to trust any third party.
- Are permissionless and borderless. The software can be installed by anybody without any arbitrary gatekeepers.
- Are fast. Transactions are broadcast through the peer-to-peer network in seconds and can become irreversible within an hour.
- Are censorship-resistant. Nobody is able to block, intercept or freeze a transaction of any amount.
- Do not require any ID to use. Making it suitable for the unbanked, privacy-conscious people, computers or people in areas with underdeveloped financial infrastructure.
- Are irreversible. Once a transaction is settled nobody can undo it, like cash. (but consumer protection is still possible.)
- Works 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
Many people use bitcoin as a store of value, they have been described as "swiss bank account in your pocket".
- Stored Bitcoins:
- Cannot be printed or debased. Only 21 million bitcoins will ever exist.
- Have no storage costs. They take up no physical space.
- Are easy to hide. Any amount can be stored on a hard disk, paper backup, or even memorized in your brain.
- Are in your direct possession. If you keep the private key of a bitcoin secret and the transaction has enough confirmations, then nobody can take them from you no matter for what reason, no matter how good the excuse, no matter what.