So what are Bitcoins?
Bitcoin is a digital currency that was introduced in 2009. They are the first example of a cryptocurrency, which is a currency that relies on cryptography to secure its transactions.
Cryptography is the name given to the study and practice of secret communications. Most people would use the word 'code', as in secret-codes (though it can easily get confused with computer code!)
Think of the Engima Machine in WW2, used by the Germans to encode and decode their messages. It was people who studied cryptography (called cryptographers or cryptologists) who worked to break the codes and understand the German messages.
Modern cryptography is based around computer science and mathematical theory and is used to help keep secure all sorts of electronic data, such as in banking, confidentiality, authentication and so on.
How do Bitcoins differ from other currency?
Aside from relying on cryptography for its security; Bitcoin is also decentralised, which means that no single person or organisation, like a bank, is responsible for controlling it. The protocol that defines Bitcoin self-regulates the security and validity of transactions.
Who created Bitcoin?
Bitcoin was created by a person (or persons) going under the name 'Satoshi Nakamoto’. This name is likely a pseudonym and the true identity of Bitcoin’s creator remains a mystery.
Intriguing! How much is a Bitcoin worth?
As a new and developing concept, the value of individual Bitcoins can fluctuate dramatically. Currently a single coin is worth approximately $230 US, so for practicality’s sake each coin can be divided up into smaller units, in a similar way as to how pounds can be divided up into pence.
Who uses Bitcoins?
Bitcoins can be used by anyone, but it’s worth doing some more research into how they work first. They are accepted by a growing number of people and companies around the world and are ideal for anyone who wants to make instant transactions without having to rely on banks or other conventional financial organisations; especially relevant since the Financial Crisis a few years ago.
Why is FACT accepting them as donations?
Part of FACT’s mission is to keep up with new technologies and ideas as they develop. Bitcoin is a new and exciting way of regarding currency that breaks from many of the norms that we associate with money and finance. FACT is keen to embrace these new ideas and help expose them too.
What will my donations be used for?
We hope to turn FACTLab into an ongoing project and with the help and support of your donations, we can realise this ambition! FACTLab is currently in it's pilot stage and very much a work in progress - as time goes on, we hope to develop this into a more ambitious programme.
How do I get Bitcoins?
First you need an online Bitcoin account, known as a ‘wallet’ which can be obtained for free from various organisations ( for example blockchain.info/wallet). Bitcoins can then be bought from various organisations online, or from Bitcoin ATMs that let you buy them with cash.
How do I donate Bitcoins?
The address for FACT’s Bitcoin account is:
or you can scan the following QR code:
FACT is a registered charity, and as such we rely on donations alongside public funding to develop and maintain our programme. If you're not so tech savvy, you can support FACT in other ways - find out more on our Support Us page.
For more information there are many guides at coindesk.com/information