Bitcoin, the electronic currency system, allows direct payments from one party to another without the necessity of a financial institution.
It is self-governing, and the value of Bitcoin varies, sometimes with substantial volatility.
People can use Bitcoin for almost any type of transaction, including online shopping, and paying for goods or services from businesses that accept it as a payment form.
You can now find Bitcoin ATMs in a handful of cities in the United States.
As with any other form of currency, keeping track of Bitcoin is essential to smart spending and saving.
Fortunately, tracking Bitcoin is becoming easier, and the biggest Bitcoin exchange, Coinbase, has recently teamed up with to include Bitcoin tracking in a popular personal finance app.
Mint is currently the only personal finance app that allows consumers to track their Bitcoin holdings.
Now, in addition to having a reliable finance tracker for traditional financial transactions, Bitcoin users can track their Bitcoin value any time on their computer or mobile device. Coinbase is what's known as a Bitcoin "wallet," which is a platform with which consumers and businesses can make transactions using bitcoin rather than traditional currency.
Coinbase is currently the largest Bitcoin wallet service, hosting over 1 million consumer Bitcoin wallets.
Coinbase also provides Bitcoin wallets for 25,000 merchants, and that number is rapidly growing.
Coinbase wallets are stored using AES-256 encryption, and the company stores up to 97% of its customer funds offline in bank vaults to prevent theft.
Coinbase's sensitive user data is disconnected from the internet, and its drives and paper backups are stored redundantly in several safety deposit boxes and vaults worldwide for safety and security. Instead of having one entity tracking Bitcoin transactions, the entire Bitcoin network tracks them, in order to make theft or double-spending practically impossible.