Economists, investors, enthusiasts and naysayers love to argue about the nature of bitcoin. Is it the future of money? A hedge against chaos? A pile of cash doused in lighter fluid?

The thing is, it's hard to tackle the big questions unless you know something about the inner workings of bitcoin. So here's your guide to the basics of how the cryptocurrency functions: the concepts and vocabulary you need to know before you can start winning arguments on reddit. For more information see our definition and How Bitcoin Works.

Disclosure: the author owns bitcoin.