Namibia has seen a steady increase of interest in Bitcoin, the world’s first viable digital currency. This article aims to give a simple overview of what it is, how it came about and how it works.
Bitcoin is a new form of digital money created in response to the 2008 global financial recession. It can be sent anywhere within seconds by anyone who has access to the internet with no middle man involved. You might ask yourself, why do we need a new form of money? Bitcoin has several advantages over the global government issued money system we use today, we list some of those advantages below:
- Bitcoin is based on cryptography which is a special branch of mathematics used to secure and encrypt data so it cannot be counterfeited.
- Currently, when governments experience economic hardship they tend to just print more money. This diminishes the value of the public’s savings held in that particular currency. In contrast to this, there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins created — meaning it is scarce and its value is better preserved. Bitcoin’s value against other financial assets has steadily risen since it started operating on 03 January 2009.
- Bitcoin is transparent because ownership is recorded in a publicly accessible ledger called the ‘blockchain’. The entries into this ledger are verified by millions of people around the world using their computers through a process called ‘mining’. The entries must pass stringent cryptographic verification to be considered valid. People ,referred to as ‘miners’, must validate each entry and if it is correct — they are rewarded with Bitcoin. This is how Bitcoin is issued.
- Bitcoin is highly divisible, making it suitable to move very large or very small amounts of value on the same network. 1 Bitcoin consists of 100,000,000 units called ‘Satoshi’, meaning it can be split up a hundred million ways.
- Bitcoin is stored on your computer or mobile phone (or even a piece of paper) using an application called a bitcoin wallet. These are freely available through the Google and Apple app stores. Unlike banks you don’t need an ID or salary slip or any personal documentation to participate in Bitcoin, as long as you have a bitcoin wallet, you can send and receive bitcoin. Wallets (such as Samourai and Hodl) are easy to use and and have great security features.
- Bitcoin is decentralised meaning that no entity or person controls it. There are no middle man to stop a transaction between two parties and no way to freeze anyone’s funds. No bank or government can enforce their policies on it because bitcoin is held directly by its owners on their devices or whatever means of storage they choose.
- Bitcoin has a working governance model, with the exception that it has no traditional hierarchy. Every single person using it has a stake in how it operates. This makes it a very complex system but means it is ‘anti-fragile’ as it can withstand many types of events such as:
- Changes in its software code (Getting millions of people to agree on even the smallest change without a leadership structure is very complex and difficult)
- Financial meltdown (Bitcoin has lost more than 50% of its value over 4 times since 2009 but still continues its growth as an asset class unabated)
- Political upheaval (i.e. in Venezuela or Zimbabwe where it is seeing growing adoption despite the collapse of their financial systems).
Bitcoin has operated with less than five hours of downtime to this very day, meaning its uptime is more than 99% which cannot be said of any other financial network ever to exist.
Bitcoin could become the new global money — but this will not happen overnight. Its popularity has steadily grown as millennials and generation X’ers increase digital finance technology adoption over ‘brick and mortar’ institutions such as banks.
2018 has seen Bitcoin move in excess of 3.5 trillion USD in value. It now has a total trading volume which has surpassed that of the metal gold. Many more such milestones are likely ahead on Bitcoin’s road to becoming the world standard for monetary settlement. However, as with any new asset class, that road will be filled with obstacles. Bitcoin can be volatile and risky as compared to traditional financial assets. If it is used for speculation purposes (such as exchange trading), serious losses may be incurred.
Although bitcoin is not yet accepted by the big online retailers such as Amazon, Apple and eBay, adoption is steadily growing and can already be used through various services such as BitRefill, Expedia, Overstock or Microsoft — where one can buy a variety of products ranging from flights and video games to mobile airtime top ups in over 90 countries.
The use of Bitcoin as a technology, form of payment or investment in Namibia is still small but we have observed a steady growth in all three aspects. If you would like to buy bitcoin in Namibia, we have got you covered. Similarly, if you want to sell bitcoin in Namibia, we have also got you covered!
At Bitcoin Trade Namibia we believe Bitcoin is the future of money and that is why we strive to help bring the Namibian investor, developer or general interested public into this game changing new technology.
Buy and Sell Bitcoin in Namibia at https://bitcoin-namibia.trade