As an IT consultancy that procures its fair share of Dell devices, we were interested to hear that Dell has recently become the largest retailer in the world to accept bitcoins.
Last year Dell started accepting Bitcoin in the US and received payment for a $50,000 computer system in the digital currency. Now the computer company is accepting Bitcoin in the UK, thanks to its partnership with bitcoin wallet Coinbase. But for those of you who barely know what bitcoins are, how to get them or where to spend them, we have compiled a few ‘Bitcoin Facts’ to bring you up to speed.
1. No one single entity controls this currency
With most currencies, there are rises and falls in its value based on the global market, and you can physically hold it. Bitcoin defies all of these. It is instead controlled by everyone who uses bitcoin. The software used for bitcoin logs and validates activities of the bitcoins across the globe.
2. There’s a finite number of bitcoins
You might think that because there are no bills to print or coins to mint, there could be an infinite number of bitcoins in existence; however that would devalue the currency and render it worthless. There are exactly 21,000,000 coins.
3. Bitcoins have no inherent or set value
If you look at a five pound note, you know that it is simply a piece of paper with a number on it and some pictures saying it is “worth” £5. It only has value because we say it does. Bitcoins are the same. The little digital pieces of code that are bitcoin are only worth money because people say they are and want to trade real services for them. The more popular bitcoin gets, the more value is going to be placed on each individual bitcoin.
4. You can see all transactions
The unique thing about Bitcoin is that it is completely transparent in terms of transactions and amounts. Everything is able to be seen on the block chain. It is this complete openness that instils a lot of trust and security amongst the bitcoin community.
5. You cannot reverse a transaction or be forced to pay
With bitcoins, you can never be forced to pay, nor can you take back a transaction. If you send a company 10 bitcoins for a product, you cannot revoke that transaction nor can they repeat bill you.
6. You can send money with little to no fees
If you want to send money to a friend in Thailand from the UK, you would likely have to pay bank transfer fees, currency conversion fees and potentially others. Additionally, your friend may have to wait a few days before the money is available. With bitcoins, there are little to no transaction fees and the money is available almost instantly.
7. Bitcoins are held in digital wallets
Much like your online bank account, you also have a bitcoin wallet. Your bitcoin wallet is created when you sign up and is much like a physical wallet, but more secure. If you lose it, it is lost forever, but it is impossible for people to take money from your wallet without you giving it to them. Additionally if you know a bitcoin address, you can see how many bitcoins the person has.
8. You can really buy things with bitcoins
Bitcoins may sound a bit farcical at first, but there is no denying that you can buy real things with them. There are a variety of businesses who accept bitcoins as payment, both online stores and in physical stores. Popular online stores who accept bitcoins (aside from Dell) include Newegg, Overstock and Microsoft. In person stores include Reeds Jewellers, One Shot Hotels, Holiday Inn (located in New York) and even local pizza places (or so we have been told).
Are you interested in having your bitcoin wallet? Get started here.
Note that most London IT providers, IT companies and IT consultancies do not accept the currency. At least not yet!