I spent some time today trying to firm up my holiday travel plans. While I perused some online travel agencies, I came across one that just announced it would now accept Bitcoins as a form of payment for airfare booked through their website. Bitcoins? I think I’ve heard of them, some sort of decentralized digital currency, kind of like cash for the internet, but I believe it’s time to learn more…
In short, Bitcoin is an online network that folks can use to send payments from one to another, in that respect only, perhaps vaguely similar to Paypal. Bitcom is the worlds first “open” financial network. No one actually owns it, or runs the Bitcoin network. It’s actually a peer-to-peer system, with people like us, and our computers working together to process these transactions and, Bitcoin is its own currency, with this monetary unit being called a Bitcoin. Are you guys with me so far?
Because Bitcoin has all these unique properties, the hope is that use of it will allow all kinds of exciting applications that could not be covered by previous payment systems. Evidently, there are quite a few merchants already hopping on the Bitcoin bandwagon and offering up everything from cupcakes to web hosting services for Bitcoin payments. Who knew? Of course it appears that a big draw (to those so inclined) may be the ability to move your Bitcoin around without the taxman knocking on your door.
So what now? It looks like Bitcoin is growing, payments are being made worldwide, people are purchasing Bitcoin as an investment, and yes, some folks are already getting rich off it. People all over the world are already trading hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bitcoin every day. Wow. To learn more, visit bitcoin.org and let us know what you think. Now I have to get back to my plane tickets.