Bitcoin gaining buzz; Sioux Falls start-up and expert explain why

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency have been around since about 2009 but recently started gaining popularity as people try to find more ways to secure their money online.

(Image Source: Pixabay / MGN)

"It's's a new technology that's recently been created and really taken off," Joshua DeWitt, CEO at CoinLion. "And it's a problem people were trying to solve on the internet of how to create digital cash."

CoinLion is a new startup in Sioux Falls that wants to be the first to manage your digital assets -- particularly cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and others -- the way your financial adviser might manage your investment portfolio. The company even has its own cryptocurrency for clients.

Bitcoin and other digital currency are unique because they allow people to exchange money without a middle man.

"It's almost like sending a text message to a friend, you simply just put in their address and you send it to them -- there is no in between middle man or anyone taking fees out of that, or taking control of your finances, if you will," DeWitt said.

But because Bitcoin is still pretty new, its value fluctuates.

"It is very volatile," Paul Batcheller, partner at PrairieGold Venture Partners said. "I think Bitcoin this very day is down 20 to 30 percent."

That's because ...

"It's supply and demand," DeWitt said. "There's only two ways to get a Bitcoin -- you have to buy it from somebody or you have to mine it with very high-powered super computers."

Which has people wondering exactly how it functions.

"There are a lot of people who think it's more like gold," Batcheller said. "Where it's not something you're going to use for day-to-day transactions, but it's something that will have a stored value."

And the transactions you use it for, happen more slowly than say, swiping a credit card. So if Bitcoin is too slow for you ...

"A lot of people only talk about Bitcoin, but if you really get into it, there's over 1,500 different digital currencies right now and these digital assets do different things and have different purposes," DeWitt said.

Experts say if you're interested in learning more about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, you should do some research and download popular apps for trading, like Coinbase, and try it out.

Another question many raise is how secure it is. Experts say the key is to use a secure wallet for your "key" and also to be careful where you exchange your money.