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 and hard to counterfeit.
- Bitcoin Transactions are:
- Permissionless and borderless. The software can be installed by anybody worldwide.
- Fast. Transactions are broadcasted in seconds and can become irreversible within an hour.
- Are censorship-resistant. Nobody is able to block or freeze a transaction of any amount.
- Irreversible. Cannot be undone once settled, like cash. (but consumer protection is still possible.)
- Do not require any ID to use. Making it suitable for the unbanked, the privacy-conscious, computers or people in areas with underdeveloped financial infrastructure.
- Online and available 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 regardless of amount.
- Are easy to hide. Can be stored encrypted on a hard disk or paper backup.
- 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.