How do banks pay each other? In most countries, when banks want to transfer money to each other, perhaps upon instruction from a customer, they don’t put bundles of banknotes in vans, they pay each other digitally. How does this work?
This post is intended as a primer about payment systems and explains correspondent banking, nostros, real time gross settlement (RTGS) systems and deferred net settlement (DNS) systems. It supports other posts where I discuss decentralisation of these systems using distributed ledgers.
Important note: If you own more than $1,000 worth of cryptocurrency then you should definitely be using a hardware wallet instead of keeping coins on exchanges. I recommend a Trezor which you can buy for €89 directly from their website.
This article is a gentle introduction to bitcoin and assumes minimal technical knowledge.
Shorter companion pieces to this are:
In the popular media, you will often read comments like “Bitcoins are stored in a digital wallet”, or “You can send money using blockchain technology”. These comments can be misleading and can confuse. By the end of this you should understand enough to participate in a dinnertime conversation about bitcoin, and not be mystified by the topic.