In the news and all over the web, people have been chatting away about the latest in online currency, Bitcoin. If you are anything like me, you’ve been wondering what in the world is this thing?

Bitcoin 101

Well…wonder no more. Check out my musings on the elusive currency and why you need to pay attention.

So, What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin, developed in 2008 is  the first decentralized digital currency (Try saying that 5 times fast). In other words, it is digital money that you can send over the web in a variety of different methods. You can send the currency person to person (without the assistance of a bank). Fees are lower, you can use them internationally. Bitcoins are used for electronic purchases and transfers and are tracked daily on a ledger called “blockchain”.

How do I get one?

Bitcoins are generated via a computer by anyone running a program called a miner. You do need to get a Bitcoin wallet first ( think of it like an app), that you store your currency in. It doesn’t take long to get one and it’s one step closer to getting your moola!

Three ways to get one without mining:

1. Accept Bitcoins as a form of payment for service or goods.

2. You can trade your current Bitcoins for currency in other countries.

3. You can purchase and sell bitcoins through exchanges. MtGox is one of the world’s largest exchanges.

Wait, How Much Are They Worth?

As of January 2014, Bitcoin is worth 856 USD with prices fluctuating based on the market.

bitcoin 101

What Can I Buy With Them?

ANYTHING…but with caution. The market is has been known to be flooded with illegal sales of drugs, guns, etc. On a lighter note, Overstock just announced that it would be the first retailer to accept Bitcoin.

For more information about Bitcoin and to get started check out CoinBase.

My 2 cents:

I am ecstatic that Bitcoin is open source and completely run online. When I did my research, I read countless articles that stated it would never make it mainstream. That’s the beauty of it. It doesn’t need to! It already has a loyal following and what makes it so unique is virtually anonymous currency. Now, we all know that nothing is ever untraceable, but it is a start.

So I ask: Are you down with Bitcoin? Any plans on using it yourself? Sound off below!