Bitcoin is the oldest, biggest and most important of all cryptocurrencies.
Created in 2009 by an anonymous person or group going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was the first currency to be built on a blockchain. In essence, a blockchain is a way of recording all the transactions that have ever occurred in a single, public ledger.
The blockchain uses this information to verify new transactions in real time, preventing double-spending and removing the need for a trusted intermediary such as a bank to check whether the person making the transaction has the funds to do so. The blockchain itself is shared between a vast global network of computers making it impossible to alter.
Bitcoin has a hardcoded upper limit of 21 million coins, which are released at roughly 10-minute intervals through a process known as ‘mining’. In mining, powerful computers compete to solve complex cryptographic problems (hence cryptocurrency). The successful computer receives an amount of Bitcoin while also adding a new ‘block’ of verified transactions to the blockchain. This system is called a Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism
The release of new Bitcoin is designed to be deflationary (i.e. over time one Bitcoin should gain more purchasing power). Every four years, the network undergoes a process called the ‘Halving’, which halves the amount of Bitcoin sent to successful miners. At the beginning, each block generated 50 Bitcoin. Three Halvings later, that’s been reduced to 6.25 Bitcoin. It’s expected that the final Bitcoin will be mined in the year 2140.
As the oldest and most traded cryptocurrency, you’ll often see Bitcoin used as a trading pair for altcoins. For many cryptocurrency traders and investors, the goal isn’t to earn more fiat currency (which are inflationary by design) but rather to accumulate as much Bitcoin as they possibly can.
Note: there are a number of so-called Bitcoin ‘forks’ in existence that split off the main chain and became independent currencies. These include Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Satoshi’s Vision (BSV), Bitcoin Diamond (BTCD) and Bitcoin Gold (BTCG). Always make sure when you’re buying Bitcoin, you’re buying coins on the original chain.
Bitcoin is legal to buy in the UK from a regulated cryptocurrency exchange and is treated as an asset.
Yes, you can buy less than 1 Bitcoin. Bitcoin is denominated to 8 decimal places, with the smallest denomination being known as a ‘satoshi’ or sat. On CoinJar you can start buying Bitcoin with £10.
The price of Bitcoin in GBP is determined by the international Bitcoin market – basically, the price to be found on cryptocurrency exchanges in the UK and all around the world.
Don’t invest unless you’re prepared to lose all the money you invest. This is a high‑risk investment and you should not expect to be protected if something goes wrong. Take 2 minutes to learn more: www.coinjar.com/uk/risk-summary.
Cryptoassets traded on CoinJar UK Limited are largely unregulated in the UK, and you are unable to access the Financial Service Compensation Scheme or the Financial Ombudsman Service. We use third party banking, safekeeping and payment providers, and the failure of any of these providers could also lead to a loss of your assets. We recommend you obtain financial advice before making a decision to use your credit card to purchase cryptoassets or to invest in cryptoassets. Capital Gains Tax may be payable on profits. CoinJar’s digital currency exchange services are operated in the UK by CoinJar UK Limited (company number 8905988), registered by the Financial Conduct Authority as a Cryptoasset Exchange Provider and Custodian Wallet Provider in the United Kingdom under the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017, as amended (Firm Reference No. 928767).
The CoinJar Prepaid Mastercard is issued by EML Money DAC pursuant to a license by Mastercard. EML Money DAC is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. EML Money DAC is authorised and regulated as an issuer of electronic money by the Central Bank of Ireland under registration number C95957. EML Money DAC is deemed authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Details of the Temporary Permissions Regime, which allows EEA-based firms to operate in the UK for a limited period while seeking full authorisation, are available on the Financial Conduct Authority’s website. Registered office: EML Payments, 2nd Floor La Vallee House, Upper Dargle Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Company Registration number: 423276.
Apple Pay and Apple Watch are trademarks of Apple Inc. Google Pay is a trademark of Google LLC.