Menu IconA vertical stack of three evenly spaced horizontal lines. 1,200 at the end of April. Bitcoin is divorced from governments and central banks. It’s bitcoin wallets explained through a network known as a blockchain, which is basically an online ledger that keeps a secure record of each transaction all in one place.
Every time anyone buys or sells bitcoin, the swap gets logged. Several hundred of these back-and-forths make up a block. No one controls these blocks, because blockchains are decentralized across every computer that has a bitcoin wallet, which you only get if you buy bitcoins. True to its origins as an open, decentralized currency, bitcoin is meant to be a quicker, cheaper, and more reliable form of payment than money tied to individual countries. The people with the most bitcoins are more likely to be using it for illegal purposes, the survey suggested. Each bitcoin has a complicated ID, known as a hexadecimal code, that is many times more difficult to steal than someone’s credit-card information. And since there is a finite number to be accounted for, there is less of a chance bitcoin or fractions of a bitcoin will go missing.
Every four years, the number of bitcoins released relative to the previous cycle gets cut in half, as does the reward to miners for discovering new blocks. The reward right now is 12. As a result, the number of bitcoins in circulation will approach 21 million, but never hit it. This means bitcoin never experiences inflation. Unlike US dollars, whose buying power the Fed can dilute by printing more greenbacks, there simply won’t be more bitcoin available in the future.