Bitcoin – Digital Money on the Internet

Bitcoin is an internet currency that was started in 2009 by a Japanese software company. In contrast to normal money, which is distributed and controlled by government, there is no central organization behind Bitcoin. You can send and receive Bitcoin money without giving your name or address and without paying fees to a bank. Bitcoins are not physical. However, they can be bought at exchanges all across the Internet, where you can trade them for normal money. Customers can save their bitcoins in an internet wallet, a kind of software that manages your virtual money. From there you can buy products from merchants who accept bitcoins. You can also sell items and get bitcoins in return. Only your special ID is transferred across the Internet, never your real identity. Bitcoin is a way of sending and receiving money anonymously. Not all governments are happy about this new internet currency. Some see it as a way of transferring money, for example from drugs or other illegal activities, from one place to another. The value of bitcoins is determined by their popularity in the world and how they are trusted. If many businesses accept the currency and more and more people use it to make transactions, its value goes up. Recent scandals around Bitcoin exchanges, however, has made the value of the digital currency go down. Many economic experts see Bitcoin as the currency of the future. However, it is not ready for mass use. The network may suffer from hacking attacks and the value of the money is not very stable. Bitcoin is also seen as a playground for money speculators.


Exercise 1

Match the words in bold from the text to these definitions:

1. _________________ = the money that a country uses
2. _________________ = against the law
3. _________________ = what something is worth
4. _________________ = place where you can buy and sell things
5. _________________ = unknown; without giving your real name
6. _________________ = place where you keep your money when you go shopping
7. _________________ = give away
8. _________________ = money you have to pay for a service you get
9. _________________ = for everyone
10. _________________ = person who buys and sells things
11. _________________ = to believe in something
12. _________________ = not real


Exercise 2

Combine the words from the two boxes to form collocations as in the text:
digital / internet / mass / money / software / virtual
company / currency / money / speculator / use / wallet
1. ____________________________________
2. ____________________________________
3. ____________________________________
4. ____________________________________
5. ____________________________________
6. ____________________________________
7. ____________________________________
8. ____________________________________


I know English idioms!

The topic of today’s reading text is bitcoin – virtual money. It may be hard to imagine that there is a kind of money that doesn’t have a physical form. At this stage it’s also good to say that “Money doesn’t grow on trees” as an English idiom says. But what does it mean exactly? It is usually said to warn someone to be careful how much money they spend, because there is only a limited amount of it. – „Mum, I’d like a new bike.” – „I’ll have to think about it – money doesn’t grow on trees, you know!”


Phrasals, phrasals…

This lesson’s text uses the phrasal verb “go down” – a very popular one! Among others, it means “to be reduced in price, value, amount quality, level or size”.

Let’s study these examples: The temperature went down to minus ten last night. The company’s shares went down 7p to 53p.


Grammar corner

The reading text uses quite a lot of passive constructions, that is structures using the verb “to be” and the third grammar form of the main verb, for example:
to be given, is written, was bought, will be sold etc.
Find in the text all examples of passive structures.



digital – cyfrowy
currency – waluta
software – oprogramowanie
in contrast to – w przeciwieństwie do
to distribute – rozprowadzać
fee – opłata
physical – materialny
exchange – wymiana, tu: kantor
to trade sth for – handlować, wymieniać
to save – zachować, zaoszczędzić
wallet – portfel
to manage – zarządzać
merchant – kupiec, handlowiec
to accept – przyjmować
item – tu: rzecz
in return – w zamian
to transfer – przekaz(yw)ać
ID (identity) – tożsamość
to send – wysyłać
to receive – otrzymywać
anonymously – anonimowo
government – rząd
drugs – narkotyki
illegal – nielegalny
value – wartość
to determine – określać
to trust – ufać
recent – niedawny
to go up – wzrastać
to go down – maleć
mass use- masowy użytek
network – sieć
to suffer from – cierpieć na, tu: doznawać
hacking attack – atak hakerski
stable – stabilny
playground- plac zabaw


download lesson (pdf)



1. currency = the money that a country uses
2. illegal = against the law
3. value = what something is worth
4. exchange = place where you can buy and sell things
5. anonymous = unknown; without giving your real name
6. wallet = place where you keep banknotes and coins when you go shopping
7. distribute = give away
8. fee = money you have to pay for a service you get
9. mass = for everyone
10. merchant = person who buys and sells things
11. trust = to believe in something
12. virtual = not real
1. digital money
2. virtual money
3. internet currency
4. internet wallet
5. digital currency
6. software company
7. mass use
8. money speculator
Ex. Grammar corner
was started, is distributed and controlled, can be bought, is transferred, is determined, are trusted,