The bitcoin is a crypto currency, called this because it uses cryptography to control the creation and transfer of money. Bitcoins are digital coins that are generated over the internet and can be used wherever they are accepted for a legitimate transaction. They are the first decentralized global currency. When a bitcoin user makes a purchase or pays for a service of any kind, the payment triggers a broadcast of the financial transaction to the Bitcoin network. This bitcoin transaction is a digitally signed message transferring the ownership of bitcoins from one bitcoin address to another. Bitcoin transactions do not pass through a banking institution, eliminating the usual banking charges. Instead, they are usually transacted through an account referred to as a digital wallet. Bitcoin Exchange Rates Bitcoin exchange rates are calculated by the ratio of the bitcoin to another currency such as the dollar. It is difficult to chart future exchange rates against currencies such as the USD or EUR because the bitcoin is not backed by any banking institution and can fluctuate randomly for any number of political or financial reasons. There are currently several online currency exchanges available where one can exchange dollars, euros and other currencies for bitcoins. The bitcoin is now selling at just over $566.00. The BTC/EUR exchange rate is 411.10 and the BTC/CAD is C$ 634.00 The main idea behind bitcoins is to facilitate cheap, anonymous transactions. Bitcoins are often compared to gold. There are a finite number of bitcoins. 21 million exist and they are predicted to last until 2140. Like gold, Bitcoins are mined. But rather than digging them up from the ground, Bitcoins are extracted online via complex algorithms. Learn more about fluctuating Bitcoin exchange rates and the uses of the Bitcoin in currency markets by reading our weekly Bitcoin Currency Review.