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There are lots of ways to send money - western union, paypal, bank wire, etc that are more established and fairly quick. What are the advantages of using bitcoin from a bitcoin-proponent's point of view?

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This question is too subjective for a stack exchange site. From the FAQ, you should only ask "practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face." –  eMansipater Aug 31 '11 at 0:00
    
It could easily be rephrased as "What are the qualities of bitcoin as a currency and as a means of facilitating transactions that are unique" –  lemonginger Aug 31 '11 at 0:02
    
It needs to be rephrased. It is too vague/subjective right now. –  nmat Aug 31 '11 at 0:13
    
@lemonginger, et al - I changed to the suggested title, feel free to suggest more edits (just click on the edit button directly) –  ripper234 Aug 31 '11 at 0:15
    
Maybe something like "What are the perceived advantages that bitcoin has over other currencies or other ways of sending money?" –  lemonginger Aug 31 '11 at 0:38
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1 Answer

up vote 13 down vote accepted

The primary advantages are:

  1. Speed and price. You can transfer money anywhere in the world within minutes with negligible fees.

  2. No central authority. Bitcoin is not dependent on any company or government to maintain its value.

  3. You can start accepting bitcoins instantaneously, without setting up merchant accounts, buying credit card processing hardware, etc.

  4. Bitcoins are less traceable than many types of monetary transactions (though not anonymous).

  5. Bitcoins cannot be counterfeited and transactions cannot be reversed.

  6. No transaction blocking or account freezing. We have seen governments freeze bank accounts of dissidents and payment processors refuse to process certain types of transactions (wikileaks, online gambling in the US, etc). With bitcoin this is impossible.

  7. A known amount of inflation. Bitcoin is seen as a store of value because the total number of bitcoins that will ever be created is known in advance and it is impossible to create more than that.

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Regarding 4., they're certainly more traceable than cash, which is arguably the most common type of monetary transaction worldwide. Might be worth mentioning that specifically. –  eMansipater Sep 21 '11 at 14:45
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In some circumstances, in others much less traceable than cash which often requires two people to physically meet somewhere and exchange it –  lemonginger Sep 22 '11 at 1:11
    
Regarding 1., it's not true since you need to wait for confirmations. –  Lohoris Feb 2 '12 at 11:53
    
and confirmations take 'minutes', so 'within minutes' is certainly not incorrect. :) –  nanotube Feb 2 '12 at 18:46
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#7 is incorrect. You conflated "inflation" with "debasement". Although the debasement rate is known, the inflation rate has been running wildly between deflation and inflationary drops from $35 to $2 then back up to $17. –  Shelby Moore III Mar 21 '13 at 18:10
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