What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a new type of currency. You earn it, save it, and spend it just like money. What makes bitcoin unique is that it's 100% electronic. You can't actually see it or hold it in your hand because it is made up of "bits" inside of a computer. There are no physical metal coins that jingle in your pocket. Bitcoin is just the name of the currency.

There is a company named "Cassius" which makes a collectable metal coin with the Bitcoin logo. But, this is not what people are trading when they use Bitcoin. Actual Bitcoins are digital and have no phsyical form.

Metal collectable coins made by a company named Cassius.
Actual "bitcoins" are 100% electronic and don't have a physical form.

What is money?

Think about your government-issued currency for a moment. If you live in the United States you get paid in dollars. You store your dollars in a bank. You keep some dollars in your wallet. You spend the dollars when you want to buy something.


Bitcoin works the same way. But, when you use it, you become your own bank. Bitcoin gets stored in a software program called a "wallet". You can send and receive bitcoins using a wallet  You store your Bitcoins there until you're ready to use them. In the screenshot below you can see that the owner has a balance of 4 Bitcoins in their wallet. Bitcoin is abbreviated as "BTC" (like American dollars are "USD" and British pounds are "GBP").

The currency symbol for Bitcoin looks like this: ฿ or this: B⃦

You can learn all about how to actually use Bitcoin here.

This software program is called a "wallet" and you use it to store your bitcoins.
This user has a balance of 4 bitcoins. (Written as 4.00 BTC)

Bitcoin:
  • Is 100% electronic
  • A peer-to-peer (P2P) currency
  • Allows people send money directly to each other
  • Is a cheaper way to send money
  • Is a safe way to buy things 
  • Is easy to use!

Why do we need Bitcoin?