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Is Bitcoin A Safe Alternative? Essay

1136 words - 5 pages

With the rapid advancement of technology some peculiar and new ideas are changing the way we think about and approach problems. One bold new idea gaining popularity is the idea of cryptocurrencies, types of digital money that lets the user spend anonymously, bypass third parties, and purchase goods cheaply. Bitcoin, to date the most successful cryptocurrency, is a safer, cheaper, and more anonymous alternative option to using fiat money for online transactions. With the rise of personal computers and widespread access to the World Wide Web, it was inevitable that shopping by means of the internet would see a dramatic increase in use. Out of this online shopping boom, the idea of cutting out ...view middle of the document...

Bitcoin solves this by cutting these third-parties out and creating a direct link between you and the retailer. To do this you first need to create what is called a wallet. A highly secure file of data stored on your computer, a wallet is your own personally created bank that only stores and transacts with your personal BTC. Easy to create with only a small amount of research, wallets give you greater flexibility over the handling of an account since you have a copy physically installed to your computer instead of located remotely in a banks mainframe. Another pro of the personal wallet is the humbly named Pretty Good Privacy, or PGP, encryption. Required to move BTC between two interested parties, encryption is basically the digital equivalent of a lock and chain that keeps unwanted visitors such as hackers from dipping their hands into your digital cookie jar of BTC. The effectiveness of PGP encryption is described by Kurt Klein, Though there are hundreds of encryption programs, PGP is so good that it's used around the world and no one--not even the federal government--has been able to break it (17). With PGP being the tungsten version of this lock and chain it is the perfect solution to larger companies good intentioned, but inept cyber security teams.
Once you've got a wallet, and start trading in BTC you'll immediately feel the effects in your pocket. When retailers use credit companies and banks to process transactions, the banks and credit companies, get a small kickback from retailers in the form of merchant fees. In order to cover these costs, retailers pass the merchant fee onto to the consumer in the form of high prices of goods. By creating your own personal bank in the form of a wallet you essentially bypass the middleman and therefore bypass merchant fees. Currently the only drawback to this is only a small percentage of stores will accept BTC. The exception is tech based companies. While Walmart, Hy-Vee, and Mcdonalds may not currently accept BTC, many small companies based in Silicon Valley, the hub of online business, have a sort of mini exchange going on locally with BTC. This couple support from larger online retailers such as eBay, Tesla, and TigerDirect, all Fortune 500 companies give BTC usage a bright future. The beauty of the digital currency is...

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