The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Key info you need to know about Bitcoin

  • Print

The opening of new Bitcoin ATMs in Toronto may have some people looking for more information on the digital currency that's earned controversy even as it gains in popularity. Here's all you need to know about Bitcoin:

What is it?

Bitcoin is a type of virtual currency that was created in 2009 and has been growing more prevalent ever since. The currency, which is not regulated by any bank or third-party financial overseer, allows people to make one-to-one transactions across borders. In the United States, Bitcoins are officially viewed as pieces of property rather than legal tender, according to a recent ruling by the Internal Revenue Service.

How does it work?

Users can install a Bitcoin wallet on their computer or mobile phone, which will generate a special address to which others can send payments. Transactions can take place between individuals, although a growing number of high-profile businesses have started accepting Bitcoin payments. These include computer retailers Dell and Tiger Direct and discount clothing store Overstock.com.

How much is it worth?

The value of Bitcoins has fluctuated wildly over the past year, trading as low as $100 and as high as $1,100. Currently, 1 bitcoin converts to about C$600.

Are there risks?

Financial authorities around the world have spoken out about perceived risks with the virtual currency. While the Canadian government has not issued any formal statement on Bitcoin, internal memos acquired under the Access to Information Act suggest Ottawa has been briefed on the risks. These include pseudo-anonymity, the ability to purchase the currencies with cash, the ease of moving digital funds across borders and the lack of restrictions on deposits and withdrawals. Financial authorities in the U.S., such as the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have both warned the public that Bitcoins are not backed by the government and are therefore popular tools among hackers and scammers.

How can I get some?

North American users wanting to acquire Bitcoins will most commonly have to start by visiting a Bitcoin Exchange, which will allow them to purchase the virtual currency with traditional money. There are a variety of Bitcoin exchanges online, some of which have had to shut down due to instability and security concerns. Bitcoin ATMs are also beginning to crop up, including existing machines in Toronto and Vancouver.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Gail Asper says museum honours her father’s vision

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • A young goose gobbles up grass at Fort Whyte Alive Monday morning- Young goslings are starting to show the markings of a adult geese-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 20– June 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think the Scottish independence referendum will have an effect in Canada?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google