Bitcoin is a strange beast. It’s newsworthy enough for the mainstream public to be aware of it but confusing enough that those same people only have a vague sense of what it is and how it works. But worry not, as we’re from the Internet and we’re here to help.
A Brief Introduction
The ignorance surrounding Bitcoin isn’t surprising, as cryptocurrencies are very different from the forms of payment most of us are used to on a daily basis. From their creation through mining to the way they’re sent and stored, the whole business of Bitcoin leaves most people with a blank look on their face.
Luckily the Internet is here to save us all from ignorance. The following resources all seek to explain what Bitcoin is and how cryptocurrencies operate. And if you get to the end of this article still none the wiser, don’t stress, as you’re still in the majority.
MakeUseOf has covered Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies quite often over the years, especially once they hit the mainstream in 2013.
You should start by reading our Bitcoin Guide, before moving onto our explanation of what you can buy with Bitcoin. There’s a lengthy feature looking at the future of Bitcoin, an overview of how you can mine Bitcoin for yourself, and a list of the disadvantages to Bitcoin mining.
There’s a piece about mining Litecoin designed for those who missed out on the Bitcoin goldrush, and an exploration of three alternative cryptocurrencies. Another six alternative cryptocurrencies are then compared to Bitcoin, before we disclose Android apps designed to help you track the markets.
Moving away from MakeUseOf and we find that Webcomics have had a field day explaining, exploring, and mocking Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
There was a whole comic dedicated to Bitcoin, simply called Bitcoin Comic. It’s no longer being updated, but the archives are more than worth exploring. This one explains just how engrossed in Bitcoin mining some people have become, while this one delves into the murky underbelly of drug deals made using Bitcoin.
Brainless Tales explains Bitcoin with a simple visual, while HijiNKS ENSUE struggles to get its head around the concept of cryptocurrency, and I Can Barely Draw decides the people who use real cash are the crazy ones.
Explain Bitcoin Like I’m Five
You probably couldn’t explain Bitcoin to a real five-year-old, but explaining Bitcoin to an adult as if they were five does work rather well. There’s a subreddit on Reddit titled ELI5, and a search for Bitcoin throws up a number of informative discussions.
And then there is this post on Medium written by Nik Custodio, which offers an in-depth explanation of what Bitcoin is and how it operates, but using language we can all understand.
Infographics are a great way of explaining things in a visual, non-brain-hurty way. There are likely a whole host of infographics referencing Bitcoin out there on the Internetz, but we have just three to share with you.
Daily Reckoning has ‘The Full History of Bitcoin‘, Online Accounting Degrees has ‘Bitcoin 101‘, and Who Is Hosting This has ‘How to Explain Bitcoin to your Grandparents‘. All of which are both informative and entertaining.
We close with a collection of Bitcoin quotes all 140 characters or less. These can therefore be liberally posted to Twitter to show you understand what Bitcoin is all about. Even if you’re just faking it. As everybody else but the small minority who actually mine cryptocurrencies are doing. Truth.
Image Credit: Zach Copley via Flickr