Bitcoin is a new currency. A special one.
In Nigeria, we spend Naira that is issued by the CBN (actually printed by NSPM) and make transactions with it both online and offline. Then when we try to buy things from US online stores, we have to pay the dollar value with an equivalent Naira value. So with Naira we can spend our money anyway and anywhere we like.
And Bitcoin is like that. It is issued (mined is the preferred word) digitally by a huge network of crazy fast specialized computers. And like Naira, you can spend it worldwide either by paying directly with your Bitcoin or exchanging it for another currency. In fact, two days ago, I exchanged Naira for Bitcoin. So you can buy it too.
What is special about Bitcoin?
- A lot of the sites that won't let you shop with your Naira mastercard or restrict you to paypal (which dislikes Nigerians) allow Bitcoin. That was why I opened Bitcoin account. I needed to buy an iTunes gift card to allow me credit my iTunes account and buy Jobs (movie), and the stores wouldn't let me because I'm a Nigerian. The one I used for my previous card purchases no longer support Google Wallet (which is the way I bypass the location restriction). But one of the sites accepts Bitcoin. So I read more about Bitcoin and was impressed and opened a Bitcoin account. Then funded it. And as for the obsession with getting the movie via iTunes, I don't understand too.
- Extremely low transaction charges. In some cases, no transaction charges.
- Very easy to use. It's like Paypal without all the restrictions and lengthy account opening form. You receive money and transfer money using your Bitcoin account address. You don't have to have 2 accounts -- merchant account to receive payment and regular account to make payment -- like some other payment services. Just one account can receive and make payment.
- Very fast. Money transferred to you reach you in seconds. And if you enable a double confirmation, then 10mins. Few payment services come close. It's like transferring money from one GTB account to another. But this one is better, because you can transfer to anyone in the world.
- Secure. It's extremely secure. And that's why it's very popular. And no one can freeze your account. You're are your own bank and regulatory body.
- Anonymous. No one can trace your transactions. There's nothing matching your account to your name and other personal details. You can shop without worrying about someone knowing more than you want them to know about you.
- It is the future. Or at least, part of the future. We can't expect things to remain this way. We've been spending paper money for more than a millennium now.
- Great for Nigerians. Now you can sell your service to a global community. With the Bitcoin payment system, you can receive payment from anywhere in the world for your services and not pay any (big) transaction charges or fulfill some impossible terms. Just put it up on your website or online store.