The bitcoin protocol was released on January 3, 2009. (I published this on the ten year anniversary) It is volatile the price reached about $20,000 a year ago and is about $3,800 at the time of this writing. The price is the boring part, however. The interesting thing is that it works. It enables transactions to be sent without a trusted third party like a bank, credit card company, Paypal or Patreon. Bitcoin is about freedom.
This is how Satoshi Nakamoto described bitcoin in the abstract of the white paper:
“A peer-to-peer version of electronic cash system payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. “
Bitcoin is just a ledger nerds like me download, the same way you might download your favorite song using bittorrent, only downoading songs is illegal and believe it or not, downloading the bitcoin blockchain is legal.
That’s all bitcoin is. It can be complex to explain how it works just as it can be complex to explain how a secure credit card transaction works or how the chip on your debit card uses cryptography to try and protect the money in your bank account. Bitcoin is a form of electronic cash. People hardly use cash anymore. Maybe you remember a time when you went to a grocery store and handed the cashier a few dollars to purchase a magazine. The cashier gave you a receipt and some change and then you went home. No one needed to know your name, your address, social security number, location of where you went after you purchased the magazine, what gas station you bought some gas at before you entered the store, the 1000 most common products you purchase, or which stores you opted to earn cash back from. The store did not care about your politics, what you wrote, spoke, or did on the Internet.
Thanks for reading.