Bitcoin Basics 101

Is Bitcoin Real Money?

Short answer: Yes, Bitcoin is money.

Bitcoin is money for the internet. Some even call it magic internet money! It is a scarce digital commodity used as cash by millions of people and machines (yes, automated tasks running Bitcoin) around the world. People buy coffee with Bitcoin at local shops. Others get paid in Bitcoin and use it to shop online. Friends use it to settle with whoever paid for dinner. Workers send Bitcoin back home to help family, regardless of where they live or who they are. Bitcoin is a censorship-free decentralized electronic currency.

Since its start in 2009, Bitcoin has provided an alternative to traditional government-issued money. No single government, corporation, or nation controls Bitcoin. There is no need for a bank or central money planner. People store Bitcoin in software called a wallet, which is available for almost any device. If you're a merchant and want to get started with a payment gateway or point-of-sale system, see our merchant solutions page.

Bitcoin is the first successful digital currency designed with trust in cryptography over central authorities. The properties of Bitcoin vary but have core focus areas such as being permission-less, immutable, censorship resistant, decentralized, scarce, and open source. These properties make Bitcoin ideal money and beneficial to people worldwide. Bitcoin is also more than a system to store and transfer value from one person to another. Bitcoin is a protocol, a computer network, and decentralized global network of individuals that are creating new innovations daily.

To get started, read the Getting Started guide first, then head over to the FAQ to learn more about Bitcoin. If you still aren't sure where to learn more, visit the Bitcoin Forum and ask someone!