Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren’t printed, like rand, dollars or euros. They’re produced by people, and increasingly businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that solves mathematical problems.
Rather than being controlled by a single source or company, Bitcoin is created and stored in a peer-to-peer networking system. It relies on what’s supposed to be secure cryptography for its creation through the use of digital signatures known as blockchains.
Bitcoin can be bought on exchanges, or directly from other people via marketplaces. You can pay for them in a variety of ways, ranging from: Hard cash to credit and debit cards to wire transfers, or even with other cryptocurrencies, depending on who you’re buying them from and where you live.
The first step is to set up a wallet to store your bitcoin. You’ll need one, whatever your preferred method of purchase. This could be an online wallet (either part of an exchange platform or via an independent provider), a desktop wallet, a mobile wallet or an offline one (such as a hardware device or a paper wallet).
The most important part of any wallet is keeping your keys (a string of characters) and/or passwords safe. If you lose them, you lose access to the bitcoin stored there. Even within these categories of wallets there’s a wide variety of services to choose from. So do some research before deciding on which version best suits your needs.