The Steak Shop To The Moon
By now you must have heard of Bitcoin, the online cryptocurrency that has taken financial norms and flipped them on their head while changing the way we think about online transactions.
It has been around since 2010 but has only come to the mainstream public in the last year or two, you may have heard news stories of overnight millionaires or promises of riches on lost hard drives.
I recently saw a bus stop advertisement for bitcoin, it’s safe to say that once an investment reaches the level of “bus stop ad” it’s probably too late for any rags to riches story but, with such high volatility, there is still plenty of opportunities in bitcoin as an investment.
But let’s not lose sight of what Bitcoin was designed to be. Not so much an investment but a way to conduct online transactions with total privacy and security from hackers. We won’t go into a huge amount of details because there are plenty of more focused articles on the security of Bitcoin but the basic principle is that it operates on a “blockchain” which you can imagine as a digital ledger that records every transaction made.
This digital ledger is duplicated and distributed between every single computer on the blockchain which makes it almost impossible to tamper with because any difference in the ledger would be immediately apparent to every connected system, the only way to hack a blockchain would be to hack every single system connected to it simultaneously across all variants of the ledger.
While technically not impossible, this would require more computing power and energy than currently available on the planet and, as more and more transactions take place, more blocks are added to the chain and the system becomes even more secure. So the more you use Bitcoin, the safer it becomes.
Now we understand a little bit about Bitcoin and how it is one of the safest ways to make payments online, I’m delighted to say that The Steak Shop is embracing the new world and you can now order and pay for your fine quality meats with Bitcoin! That’s right, we’re joining the growing number of businesses out there taking Bitcoin as payment. Businesses from Elon Musks Tesla to a small street food cart in Taiwan have started to accept Bitcoin and the list is continually growing.
How do you pay with bitcoin?
Paying with bitcoin is almost as easy as performing any other transaction. You store your bitcoin in a “wallet” that is either on your computer for online-only use or you can even install apps to hold your wallet on your mobile device for in-person purchases. To make an online purchase, you simply checkout as you normally would and the wallet takes care of the rest. For in-person purchases, it would just be a case of presenting your wallet's unique QR code to be scanned by the shop and the transaction is completed effortlessly.
How do you get bitcoin?
Getting your hands on bitcoin can either be extremely difficult or extremely easy, it depends on how much money you’re willing to spend.
By far the easiest way to get bitcoin is to simply buy it. There are innumerable exchanges on the internet where you can transfer almost any currency into Bitcoin and deposit it directly into your wallet. At the time of writing, 1 Bitcoin is worth around £35,000 so the vast majority of transactions would be in the thousandths of a fraction of a bitcoin so prices may look a little strange at first glance.
The hardest way to get ahold of Bitcoin is to “mine” it. Don’t worry though, you won’t need a pickaxe and a canary. The process of “mining” Bitcoin is actually more like “reviewing” it.
The way it works is that Bitcoin will reward people with small pieces of bitcoin if they use their processing power to verify each individual block of the blockchain.
Again, we won’t go too in-depth but the way it works is each “block” of blockchain is made up of 1MB of data which could consist of one extremely large transaction like a yacht purchase or several thousand smaller ones like a thick cut Txuleta.
The users who are reviewing this code are checking the 64 digit hash number of the block and matching it up to the transactions, in other words, their computers are randomly generating 64 digit long “hashes” and hoping they match the block. If a user gets lucky enough to be the first one to match the block, they may get a very small fraction of bitcoin as a reward.
These hashes and the calculations needed to match them often run into the orders of trillions so you are going to need an extreme amount of computing power to effectively mine Bitcoin. If you already have a huge rig set up then it may be worth it for a few hours per day but then you’ll be weighing the value of the Bitcoin fragments against the spike in your electricity bill!
So as you can see, Bitcoin is easy to use, certainly the most secure way of paying for goods or services online and is enjoying a giant boost in mainstream appeal. If you’re a user of Bitcoin then get your steak orders in now! If you’re not yet a user then it may be time to get involved, a lot of top minds predict Bitcoin to become almost an industry standard and the last thing you want to do is get left behind.