What Does a Bitcoin Look Like?

Learn what Bitcoins look like and how they work! Find out how Bitcoins are created and how they can be used for payments.

What Does a Bitcoin Look Like?

Bitcoins have no physical form, but they appear as a line of 1s and 0s on a computer screen. Like other forms of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is a purely digital product that exists only in the digital world. On a computer or mobile device, Bitcoin appears as numerical values such as 1 BTC, 1.5 BTC, etc. It is divisible to 10^8 decimal places, also known as the smallest unit of Bitcoin.

This representation can be printed and exchanged like physical money, provided it is in a standard format. A bitcoin is data with assigned ownership. Ownership of data is transferred when transactions are made, similar to using a debit card to transfer money to an online retailer. To send or receive bitcoins, you use your wallet, which is a mobile application.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that operates without any central control or oversight from banks or governments. Instead, it is based on peer-to-peer software and cryptography. Nowadays, they are also called Pay-to-Hash (P2SH) scripts that start with '3', while the old Bitcoin addresses used to begin with '1' (also known as legacy Bitcoin addresses). There are also some ATMs called Bitcoin kiosks that will allow you to withdraw cash in exchange for bitcoins.

Mining is the process that maintains the bitcoin network and also how new coins are created. Bitcoin is more than just a cryptocurrency used as a payment or for investors to hold it and wait for its value to rise. There are numerous cryptocurrency exchanges online where people can do this, but transactions can also be done in person or through any communication platform, allowing even small businesses to accept bitcoin. Not only does the cryptocurrency community support the potential of virtual currency, but banks and corporations are eager to implement Bitcoin payments because they allow fast transactions with minimal fees.

Bitcoin miners, also known as nodes, are owners of high-speed computers that independently confirm each transaction and add an entire block of transactions to the ever-growing chain, which has a complete, public and permanent record of every Bitcoin transaction. It's important to note that Bitcoin is a virtual asset and there is no physical Bitcoin you can touch or feel. In reality, there is no such thing as a bitcoin or a wallet; it's just an agreement between the network on the ownership of a currency. When bitcoin was first launched, it was possible to almost instantly mine a coin using even a basic computer.

As a new Bitcoin user, you need to generate your first Bitcoin address and create more whenever you need it. Similarly, public keys or public addresses of Bitcoin are also an alphanumeric string that encodes the logic to spend the coins present in it. New Bitcoins are created as part of the Bitcoin mining process, in which they are offered as a lucrative reward to people who operate computer systems that help validate transactions.