What Does a Bitcoin Look Like? A Detailed Insight into the Technology and Currency

  • Vera Thornpike
    📚 WikiCoin

    Wonder if Bitcoin exists in some physical form? If so, then what does Bitcoin look like? Let’s debug the myths and reveal the truth about BTC’s appearance

What Does a Bitcoin Look Like? A Detailed Insight into the Technology and Currency
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Bitcoin has turned into a buzzword since the interest in cryptocurrencies exploded in 2017. We have heard of it so often, but a picture is worth a thousand words. Wait, you can’t remember how Bitcoin looks? Wonder if it has any physical form at all? Let’s find out what exactly Bitcoin is, and whether it has any relation to fiat paper money.

So, what is Bitcoin?

This is the first electronic cash that appeared in 2008. Bitcoin was invented by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto – a person, or a group of people, who addressed the fundamental problems of the modern financial systems. The key ideas behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrency in general are:

  1. Put users/sellers in charge of financial operations and own money.

  2. Eliminate middlemen from transactions (banks, government).

  3. Reduce fees.

  4. Make transactions transparent, which would prevent corruption and cut expenses.

  5. Create money that would be totally independent of any government or authority. Users are free to use BTC as they want – there are no restrictions.

  6. Secure assets as strongly as possible. Blockchain makes for safe storage – Bitcoins stored in the wallet cannot be stolen thanks to cryptography.

They have managed to create a decentralized system that puts the asset owner in charge of his money. Within a short time, Bitcoin has managed to become a highly popular means of storage, payment, and investment. Now, it’s being widely integrated into real life in different spheres. Bitcoin payments are adopted by eCommerce stores, hospitals, food & catering, and many other organizations. Such giants as Microsoft, Dell, PayPal, and Google promote it, too. Bitcoin has an application programming interface (API), price index, and exchange rate.

How does it work?

The process of transactions is a bit complicated; it differs from what we’ve gotten used to.

As a new Bitcoin user, you need to generate your first Bitcoin address and create more whenever you need to. The address can be disclosed to friends so that they can transfer money to your account, and vice versa.

All finished transactions are included in the blockchain on which the whole network relies. It allows Bitcoin wallets to calculate their spendable balance for the new transactions to be verified to make sure they’re really owned by the spender. The integrity of blockchain is ensured with the help of cryptography.

Here’s how Bitcoin transactions work
How Bitcoin transactions work: the scheme for dummies

A transaction is a transfer of value between BTC wallets. Every Bitcoin wallet has a private key (it’s also called a ‘seed’) that is used to sign transactions and provide the mathematical proof of their origin. The signature also protects the transaction from being altered by anyone. The transactions in the Bitcoin network are usually confirmed within 10-20 minutes, and this process is called ‘mining’.

Mining is a consensus system that’s used to confirm the transactions by including them in the blockchain. The blocks are stored in chronological order to protect the neutrality of the network and let different computers agree on the state of the system. For transactions to be confirmed, they should be packed in a block that complies with cryptographic rules and is verified by the network. Thanks to these rules, blocks cannot be modified because otherwise, all subsequent blocks would be invalid.

Besides, mining adds the element of lottery, which prevents any individual from simply adding new blocks. No person or group can control what’s included in the blockchain, or replace its parts. Therefore, all transactions are irreversible.

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So, what does Bitcoin look like?

Unlike fiat currency, which is emitted in the form of paper money and metal coins, Bitcoin is a completely digital asset, which means it looks like numerous lines of codes. The codes contain multiple conditional statements. It also means that:

  • A Bitcoin wallet is an alphanumeric string.

  • A BTC transaction is an encrypted function of different parameters.

Sound too complicated? View Bitcoin as a computer file that can be stored in a ‘digital wallet’ app on your PC or smartphone. People can send Bitcoins (or parts of it) to your digital wallet, and you can send this digital money, too. Every transaction is recorded in the public registry, called ‘blockchain’.


When you have a $100 paper note in your hand, you realize its value; when you transfer it to your MasterCard, you understand that you possess the same money but converted into the digital state. It’s just a number of codes on your plastic card and a banking account. The same goes for Bitcoin, but you cannot cash it out directly (it can only be transferred in fiat).

Just for fun, one Internet user has modeled a paper Bitcoin. This is what it might look like:

What would a Bitcoin paper note look like? Here’s one version created by an Internet user
Theoretically, a Bitcoin note might look like this

Does the gold coin have value?

If you’re into cryptocurrency and Bitcoin, most likely you have often seen the golden Bitcoin:

Beware of fraud: these coins are nothing but a souvenir!
The popular golden Bitcoin souvenir coin

“Told you! Physical Bitcoins exist!” – you might exclaim and be wrong.

Sorry to disappoint you, but it’s just another trick of souvenir sellers to make money on hype. Such an object is just a Bitcoin symbol that you can buy online for some $1-2. These coins are made of plastic or metal and are not connected to the Bitcoin company in any way. Bitcoin coin has no other value except for purely aesthetic.

It has also nothing to do with Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and other forks.

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How to cash out Bitcoin?

Now that you know that there’s no physical equivalent of Bitcoin, you may wonder how to cash it out. The answer is simple: transfer it to fiat currency. There are several ways to get money converted from Bitcoins:

  1. Cryptocurrency exchange websites allow you to exchange regular money for Bitcoins, and vice versa. Such websites include Coinbase and Coinsquare (US & Canada), BitBargain and Bittylicious (UK).

  2. Bitcoin ATMs also allow exchanging BTC for cash. They are not so widely spread, though: you can find them in large cities only.

  3. LocalBitcoins and other similar services allow finding a seller who will buy your BTC for cash. Beware of scams and frauds!

Please note that there’s a bunch of Bitcoin projects that appear to be scams, especially investment websites and exchanges. Read customer reviews on the Bitcoin forum to make sure that website’s reputation isn’t tarnished.

Can I make purchases using Bitcoin?

Absolutely, yes! There’s an ever-growing number of shops and companies accepting Bitcoin payments. So if you don’t want to spend time and efforts on cashing out, transform your digital currency into real objects – use it for making purchases.

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The list of companies accepting Bitcoin is enormous!


Internet services


Online stores


KFC Canada


Naughty America

Jeffersons Store

Virgin Galactic




A Class Limousine


Etsy Vendors

Whole Foods

The Pirate Bay





One Shot Hotels

Some projects allow users to have a plastic card that can be used as a regular bank card in any store; cryptocurrency is automatically converted into the local regular currency.

Bottom Line

Whether you like it or not, Bitcoin does not look like usual paper and metal money – it does not exist in a physical form. However, it is gradually becoming a normal means of payment and has store value. Not only the cryptocurrency community admits the potential of virtual currency – banks and corporations are eager to implement Bitcoin payments because it allows for fast transactions with minimal fees.

Some five years ago, we couldn’t even imagine that a piece of code might have so much value and power. Bitcoin is a revolutionary digital currency that completely changes the concept of transactions and is set to rock the boat of the conventional world economy.  

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Blockchain Developer Salaries. Top Job Offers of Blockchain Companies

  • Eric Croix
    📚 WikiCoin


    Are you fascinated by Bitcoin and Ethereum? Would you like to take part in the development of Web 3.0 and the payment systems of the future? Then you may also be wondering how much you will be paid for such work. Tune in to find this out!

Blockchain Developer Salaries. Top Job Offers of Blockchain Companies
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The blockchain sphere was sort of under the radar since the introduction of Bitcoin until finally Ethereum’s ERC20 standard appeared and gave birth to thousands of startups in 2017. The ICO craze led to a notorious crypto bubble, which drove up the demand for quality developers. Innovative technology, low competition, and startling salaries attracted many of the engineers from other spheres to the blockchain space. As they were building new networks and dApps, the infamous crypto burst of 2018 occurred and some of the companies started to rapidly lose the funds they raised.

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After the dust settled, the surviving startups realized that the only competitive advantage they can have in the future is only a real working product. The times when people paid millions of dollars just for a white paper are gone. Hence, to make it through hard times and eventually prosper, crypto companies need experienced engineers even more. In addition, large enterprises like IBM and Google realized the new trend and are now making the competition even tighter. Unlike the freshly appeared startups, these behemoths have plenty of cash in their pockets to pay a premium for good specialists.

Considering that the blockchain sphere is still in its infancy and there is enough room to grow professionally and financially, engineers around the world are still looking into entering the space. There are also people who never touched a terminal but were attracted to the crypto market during the latest bull cycle and want to start their professional paths within the industry. For all of them, it will be useful to know the size of a paycheck to aim for. Therefore, in this article, we will present you with an overview of the job market for blockchain engineers. Let’s get going!

Where to look for a job?

Traditional job listing boards

Traditional aggregators

For our first step, we took the most popular website for job search overall, which is and also a resource that is used by startups to post their listings – AngelList. We also included LinkedIn, as it’s by far the most used social network for professionals. The blockchain-related openings on these resources soared significantly (in some cases more than 4 times) from 2016.

Specialized aggregators

Specialized aggregators

The new industry inspired a new type of job board. Currently, there are several crypto-oriented resources where one is able to find a job in a crypto startup. Among such service providers are Blocktribe, Cryptojobslist, Blockace and a number of others.


Upwork logo

For people, who are familiar with working remotely, Upwork is the go-to resource to find clientele. This is the most popular freelance website in the world and the paychecks there can be astonishing.

Company websites

IBM/VISA/Google logos

Some of the job postings for large (and some small) companies never leave company websites. Recruiters may be in a passive mode of searching for some positions, so it’s always useful to double check the ‘career’ section on websites.

How big of a paycheck to expect

Blockchain developers make 10 to 20% more than their non-blockchain peers. This is on par with AI software developers. For instance, if we talk about the most prominent place for software companies, Silicon Valley, a blockchain engineer’s salary there may reach $158k USD a year, while a hardware engineer’s salary will only be $135k USD. Switzerland companies in some cases offer even higher salaries that may go up to $180k USD a year, but you have to consider that the taxes and prices there are quite high too.

Median salaries

If we review the market as a whole, the average salary for software engineers specializing in blockchain is $114k USD. The range of salaries goes between $50k and $134k USD a year for a full-time job. For freelancers, the hourly rates start from $15 and continue up to $300 USD.

As we discussed in our article about the most popular languages in blockchain development, there are new ones like Solidity and Simplicity that are just starting to get traction. Enterprises with their products are also more inclined to pay higher amounts of money to those, who already have narrow specialization, such as Hyperledger composers.

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Enterprises vs startups

It’s important to distinguish between young companies and well-developed enterprises. Startups are looking to recruit the best professionals out there as they influence the company’s image. People heading there will receive more responsibility, freedom of making decisions and room for professional growth. On the flipside, the salary range is in the lower bracket of $50k to $70k USD. However, in the long run, financial rewards can be much higher for some devs, as they may be offered equity in the company or certain allocation of tokens that have a chance to skyrocket.

Startup vs Enterprise

For those, who are looking for more secure positions, enterprises represent a better choice. Starting salaries for junior developers can be from $70k to $80k USD and senior devs usually start getting from $100k to $120k USD. The drawbacks could include a limited set of tasks, the need to report more to seniors and not so many promotion prospects. In addition, enterprises will be able to provide better social compensation and benefits.

Top offers

  • Senior Managing Consultant at IBM ($122k-$179k USD/year)

IBM is one of the leaders in software development with a great legacy of hardware development. With Hyperledger and Sawtooth, IBM strives to capture a significant share of the developing blockchain market. The position they offer pays well and requires an appropriate level of experience, at least 5 years of programming and half a year in blockchain development.

  • Blockchain SI Partner Development Manager at Microsoft ($109k-$172k USD/year)

Considering the size of Microsoft and their involvement in cloud and blockchain solutions based on their Azure platform, there is no wonder that it makes it to the top of our list. Except for advanced programming skills and knowledge of the proprietary software, this job will require the perfect candidate to have a background in business communication and management experience.

  • Blockchain Engineer at Visa ($110-$140k USD/year)

Visa, like any global payment system, feels the competition from cryptocurrencies the most and tries to get the best talent to evolve quickly. A developer joining this company should consider making an emphasis on Java and Golang, as Visa requires two-year experience with these languages. Expertise in other spheres of software development will also be a plus along with specialization in scalable products.

  • Blockchain Developer at Blocksmith ($45k-$65k USD/year)

Here we step onto the startup grounds. Blockchain offers outsourcing services related to the blockchain to other startups and enterprises. In their job posing, Blocksmith highlight willingness to learn and share knowledge as the core requirements. Unlike enterprises like Visa and IBM, they value personality more than tech expertise. In addition, the person who gets hired will be eligible for equity share after working within the company for more than 6 months.

  • Senior C++ Blockchain Developer at Atlas City ($90k USD/year)

Atlas City is another startup that is focused on helping other businesses to cut costs and boost efficiency. The team looks for a person with decent knowledge of blockchains, which is apparent by the requirement of knowing C++, a language Bitcoin was built with. Among other requirements worth considering is the knowledge of Linux and back-end scripting. The salary for a startup is rather high and there is a neat bonus of being eligible equity.

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The bottom line

To sum up, the blockchain sphere with its incredible volatility and instability is still a technical environment that is set to disrupt our world and transform it completely. Despite rallies and crashes on the market, the business side of blockchain has been rumbling since its inception.

This field is definitely challenging because there are many undiscovered territories, and the infrastructure is not always clear. However, anyone with exceptional ambitions and libertarian views will feel comfortable in the epicenter of the blockchain development buzz. Thankfully, at this point in time, there is no shortage of opportunities, and the level of experience varies greatly from company to company. In some cases, personality comes before knowledge. If you feel uncomfortable working at the office, you will be glad to find out that there are not only many freelance opportunities but also remote offerings from startups and enterprises.

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When it comes to payment, like in any workplace it will depend on a number of variables. First and foremost, you will have to choose between working in a recently initiated startup or an enterprise with a long history of operation. Second, your development experience along with the knowledge of specific languages will play an important role. Third, if you want to get a higher position, be prepared to learn or prove some managerial skills. Finally, your personality and willingness to learn new things in such a fast-paced environment will also be evaluated by hiring parties. In any case, you can safely consider that your payroll will be a little bit higher than the average for developers in other fields. After all, the demand for the workforce in the blockchain is high and the supply is low – it’s time to ride this wave!

Image by U.Today image archive.

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