Bitcoin essentially is the virtual currency that more and more people use on daily basis, whether for shopping online but also some companies offer payment with Bitcoins in their stores. This payment system was developed by Satoshi Nakomoto back in 2008, and he released it as open-source software in 2009. Transactions made are registered by public database and since this system has no single administrator or central repository, it’s classified as decentralized virtual currency by the US Treasury.
But in order to get one of the Bitcoins for yourself you need to exchange it for any other value or “mine it” yourself. The process of finding new Bitcoins resembles the gold mining process. You basically need someone to find one for you and here we introduce the term Bitcoin miner. Bitcoin miner is software specifically made for finding new Bitcoins and people often buy high end computers for Bitcoin miners to run on. Some companies even sold boxes with necessary hardware inside that runs Bitcoin miners. It’s a whole new way of earning money.
Currently there is over 14 million circulating Bitcoin units in the world, and experts say that it will take until year 2140 for all Bitcoins to be mined totaling a number of 21 million units. Currently 1 Bitcoin is worth 250 USD and the rate is falling steadily over the years as more and more of the units become available.
The list of the companies accepting bitcoin as the virtual currency and enabling the customers to pay with bitcoins grows on daily basis. Some of the major companies are Amazon, Target, Victoria’s Secret, Reddit, PayPal, Zynga and Ebay.
The software for storing and managing your Bitcoins is called Bitcoin wallet and there are many companies offering free software for clients to use. Also there is free mining software available for anyone who would like to try and mine their own Bitcoin. However mining process requires a lot of time and electricity and the cost of mining largely outweighs the potential earning if and when you mine a bitcoin.