Bitcoin has gotten a lot of headlines in 2017, and most of them are related to strong performance. The world’s leading cryptocurrency topped $3,000 in value for the first time in its short history early in June, leading a lot of financial analysts to predict lucrative highs in the coming years. But that’s all on the financial side of things, for people who look at Bitcoin as a commodity, not unlike gold, silver, or even oil.
What about the tech side of things?
When Bitcoin first emerged, its most enthusiastic supporters promoted it as a digital alternative to conventional currency. Operating purely electronically, it was supposed to become a viable substitute for the dollar, to be used in everyday transactions, and eventually to supplant world currency systems. It hasn’t done the latter just yet, but as its value has increased Bitcoin has also enjoyed more activity in world marketplaces. But what are the actual tech-related perks to using Bitcoin, as opposed to a digital version of conventional payments, such as Apple Pay?
Mobile Transactions Are Simple
We’re using our phones and other devices to make payments more and more frequently. Ordinarily, that just means inputting your personal credit card information on an app. With Bitcoin, however, you can store and spend currency without needing to handle any personal information. A lot of people who are wary of tech security issues will appreciate this, as it keeps payment separate from identity.
Transactions Costs Are A Non-Factor
This wasn’t immediately apparent to a lot of people experimenting with Bitcoin, but the more that merchants adopted the cryptocurrency, the clearer it became. Online gaming platforms represent one of the most recent major industries to incorporate Bitcoin payments, and one of their pitches is that there are no transaction costs, as you sometimes find with services like PayPal. This is because Bitcoin is a pure, tech-based currency, rather than a business facilitating digital use of an existing form of payment.
A lot of people argued early on in the emergence of Bitcoin that it was the Blockchain that represented the real breakthrough in tech. We could write entire essays about what the Blockchain is and how it works, but for now it’s the public ledger that automatically records any and all Bitcoin transactions. An article discussing some of the perks of cryptocurrency described this ledger as a large property rights database, arguing that it does away with the need for services from lawyers, notaries, and others in major purchases. The record of any transaction is automatically and permanently recorded, resulting in a transparency that doesn’t affect anonymity.
Storage Is Simple
There’s definitely value in being able to store wealth purely through technological means. That’s what Bitcoin wallets allow users to do. They effectively act as bank accounts, accessible via private keys, and only by using these keys can you authorize a transaction. It gives users full control over their assets with only the use of a mobile phone or computer.