Users can buy Bitcoins or earn them by using computers to solve math equations, a process called mining. But similar to the Gold Rush of 1849, the more miners there are, the harder it becomes to mine Bitcoins.
If you have traditional money, putting it in your wallet or in a bank is a no-brainer. But you may have to explain cash transactions of $10,000 or more to comply with anti-money laundering laws.
Bitcoin users can also have digital wallets that exist online, or they can keep their Bitcoin “key” on something physical, like a piece of paper or a thumb drive.
More merchants are taking Bitcoins, but regulators worry that some online marketplaces
(like the now-defunct Silk Road operation) aid illegal transactions, like drug deals, using Bitcoins.
For client banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation will insure at least $250,000 on deposit accounts like checking and savings.
Bitcoin, however, has no central bank or regulator.
Although some start-ups are buying traditional insurance policies to reassure users, if investments go sour, there aren’t a lot of options.


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