Bitcoin explained in 10 answers for neophytes :


Store proposing payments in bitcoins, in Caluire, near Lyon, in April 2014. No French bank accepts bitcoins since it is not a currency. But some traders do it.

Can we talk about money?
For its supporters, there is no debate. "It looks like a currency because there is a course and it allows to buy goods," says Manuel Valente, director of operations of the House of Bitcoin. But according to Article L111-1 of the Monetary and Financial Code, bitcoin and its imitations are not because "the currency of France is the euro." According to article R642-3 of the Penal Code, only this one must be accepted by all businesses. Nor is it a fiduciary currency, built on trust in a central bank as a regulator.

Many speak of cryptocurrency, the Bank of France even refuses this name and prefers that of "cryptoactif". Because a currency must respond to several functions that bitcoin does not cover: that of unit of account, that of intermediary of the exchanges, whereas few traders accept it, and that of store of value, whereas it is too volatile and does not rely on any concrete value like gold.

Is there a limit to the creation of cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrencies proliferate: in addition to bitcoin, ether and ripple, the three most well-known currencies, there are more than 4,500 new animals. Can the phenomenon be amplified infinitely? "The technique has favored this multitude of currencies. In theory, anyone can decide to launch its public cryptocurrency ", answers Julien Maldonato, partner at Deloitte. Each cryptocurrency has its own functioning: the number of bitcoin has been set at 21 million by the creator of the program. Other currencies have no ceiling. This is the case of ether, whose production is however limited to 18 million units per year. In the long run, the proliferation should come up against a reality: to survive, a currency must have a value of use. However, even the most famous cryptocurrency, bitcoin, remains used only marginally. Which is dedicated to the extinction of thousands of cryptocurrencies.

Can I steal my bitcoins?
If the transactions on the blockchain are inviolable and unalterable - a principle that has never been denied - this does not prevent the theft of bitcoins: hackers can seize your private key, the equivalent of your blue card code. To guard against this risk, several solutions exist. The first is to entrust its digital gold to a platform of cryptocurrencies, as one deposits its cash in the bank. In this case, beware of the choice of platform: like banks, custodians of digital funds can be robbed. At the end of December, the Korean platform Youbit filed for bankruptcy after two robberies. A month later, on the night of 25 to 26 January, the Japanese actor Coincheck was stealing the equivalent of 430 million euros. This type of risk is lower if we choose established players, like the world leader Coinbase, observes however Julien Maldonato.

Second track: buy a hardware wallet, a small electronic device that functions like a digital safe, like the Ledger Wallet marketed by the French Ledger or Trezor Wallet of the Czech Trezor. The third option, called "paper wallet", is considered by some geeks as absolute security: it consists of printing on a piece of paper the "hash" - this long series of figures that serves as a lock for your bitcoins. A simple piece of paper ... not to forget the bottom of his pocket as a vulgar ticket dyer.
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