Bitcoin is a digital method of storing value that can be completely secure. Bitcoins can be transferred directly to anyone else who has a Bitcoin wallet, also in a completely secure way. Bitcoin uses a public ledger to store and confirm all the transactions of bitcoins created and transferred from one or more sources to one or more others. Bitcoin uses cryptographic methods to ensure only those who hold the private keys to any particular bitcoins can transact with those bitcoins. Bitcoins are often referred to as BTC and by the symbol
How do you store bitcoins?
Bitcoins are best stored in a Bitcoin wallet that you completely control on your computer. The wallet will allow you to create addresses that you can request others to send bitcoins to you. Others can provide you with an address to send bitcoins to them.
A Bitcoin address is a long string of letters and numbers. Examples being: 12c6DSiU4Rq3P4ZxziKxzrL5LmMBrzjrJX or 3N3KpSmxNsZQsdpCqT15KXenHVwLjRDCgb
A Bitcoin address represents a place where a Bitcoin transaction can send bitcoins, that no one but those who hold the private keys to the Bitcoin address can later use. A wallet will allow you to create secure transactions using your bitcoins and send them to addresses. The wallet will keep a full history of the Bitcoin public ledger, called the block chain, on your computer.
Is it safe?
The security of your bitcoins is up to you. If you run a Bitcoin wallet on your computer, connected to the internet to keep it up to date, then the risk element is only your computer. If others have access to your computer, then there is a risk of viruses being put on the computer to steal your bitcoins. If you run a Windows computer then there is the common risk of viruses that infect millions of Windows computers around the world. There are specfic Windows viruses that try to hack Bitcoin wallets and record keys typed to get passwords and access to your Bitcoin wallet. Anti-virus programs do not guarantee you will not get viruses - they only provide some level of protection from previously known viruses. I recommend installing Ubuntu on a computer to run your Bitcoin wallet.