Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be converted to and from almost every fiat money. Bitcoin is essentially created from computer code and fiat money is created by governments. Both are mediums of exchange and bitcoin conversion provides a choice to hold value in cryptocurrency or fiat currency.
NOTE: Altcoins and cryptocurrency are used interchangably.
Everyone uses fiat money on a daily basis in their own country. Fiat is latin for "it shall be" or said another way, "because I said so", which is an appropriate term considering all fiat money is issued by central banks within central governments.
Bitcoin conversion means different things to different people so it requires some clarification of the three dimensions, calculators, trading and data. Most people who search the term want to know how much their bitcoin is worth in U.S. dollars on a given day or time. Instead of U.S. dollars someone could be searching conversion value such as Euros, Britsh Pounds, Japenese Yen and so on. As another example someone in China wants to know how much their Ether is worth in Yuan so they use a conversion calculator or currency convertor by typing in the amount of one for the value of the other.
Conversion Calculator Examples:
1) BTC Satoshi: Does all conversions in satoshis, 1/100,000,000 of a bitcoin
2) Bit USD: Very simple bitcoin to USD convertor
3) Cryptonato: Conversions for hundreds of of altcoins with 4 major fiat currencies
Bitcoin conversion can also refer to selling, buying, trading or exchanging bitcoin for USD and not just seeking information as in the prior example. In this case a bitcoin or altcoin exchange or similar platform is the method for making the actual conversion. The possible conversions are:
A) Trade cryptocurrency for fiat currency
B) Trade one cyptocurrency for a different cryptocurrency
C) Trade fiat currency for cryptocurrency
D) Trade one fiat currency for a different fiat currency
(This already existed before bitcoin so it's not relevant to this conversation)
Bitcoin Conversion Platform Examples:
1) Multiple tradional exchanges (This requires a seperate blog post)
2) Coinbase: Universal platform for buying bitcoin with fiat money
For example: Put USD in and get bitcoin out
3) CoinToPal: Sell bitcoin for USD into Paypal without signing up for an account
(NOTE: You must have a PayPal account; you don't create a CoinToPal account)
For example: Put bitcoin in and get USD out
4) ShapeShift: Trade any one of the top cryptocurrencies for any other top crypto without an account
For example: Put bitcoin in and get Ether out. Put Dogecoin in and get bitcoin out.
Bitcoin charts show conversion values while providing market data for various altcoins including total market capitalization, price history and price changes. Some of them allow users to display the altcoin value in the top fiat currency of your choice such as USD, CAD, Euros, British Pounds etc.
Crypto Market Data Examples:
1) CoinMarketCap: Displays market capitalization for hundreds of altcoins by rank
2) Bitcoin Average: Combines charts with a bitcoin only conversion calculator to over 140 fiat currencies
3) CoinCap: Displays altcoins by rank with market cap, price, supply and volume
Notice how some of the altcoins are ranked differently than CoinMarketCap.
Summary of Conversion Clarified
Bitcoin Conversion means the following 3 things summarized from above:
1) Conversion Clarified: Informational conversion calculators for determining price of one asset relative to another
2) Bitcoin Exchanges: Exchanging, trading, buying or selling cryptocurrency and fiat currency
3) Market Data: Market information broad in nature simliar to tradional finanical information aggregators
In 2016 their are 195 countries in the world using 180 fiat currencies. There are hundreds of altcoins so the number of possible conversion pairs is staggering. Let's say 180 times 500 altcoins equals 90,000 different pairs. Some fiat currency is more widely used than others and the same goes for cryptocurrencies with bitcoin (BTC) toping the list. The U.S. dollar, sometimes called the world currency, is widely used for commerce so it's not suprising to find simple bitcoin conversion calculators with BTC to USD. The less fiat or crypto is used in practice then the less likely you will find a conversion calculator for a rare trading pair.
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