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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a type of electronic cash. It's a decentralized digital currency with no central bank or single administrator that can be sent out of user-to-user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.7
Transactions are confirmed by network nodes through cryptography and listed in a public distributed ledger known as a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto9 and published as open-source software in 2009.10 Bitcoins are made as a reward for a process known as mining.
Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, the majority of them using bitcoin.12.
Bitcoin has been criticized for its use in prohibited transactions, its own high electricity consumption, price volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the possibility that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, even though many regulatory agencies have issued investor alarms about bitcoin.14
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The domain name"bitcoin.org" was registered on 18 August 2008.15 On 31 October 2008, a link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System5 was submitted to some cryptography mailing list.16 Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin software as open-source code and published it in January 2009.171810 Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.9.
In January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the very first block of the chain, known as the genesis block.1920 Embedded in the coinbase of the block was the following text:"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks. "10 This note has been interpreted as either a timestamp and a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.21:18.
The receiver of the initial bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, that made the very first reusable proof-of-work system (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin applications on its launch , and on 12 January 2009 received ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.2324 Other ancient cypherpunk fans were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, creator of b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of little gold.25 In 2010, the first known commercial transaction using bitcoin happened when developer Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John's pizzas for 10,000 bitcoin.26.
Nakamoto is estimated to have mined one million bitcoins27 before disappearing in 2010, when he handed the network awake key and control of the code over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen afterwards became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This abandoned opportunity for controversy to grow over the future development course of bitcoin.3029.
After early"proof-of-concept" transactions, the first major consumers of bitcoin were black markets, such as Silk Road. During its 30 months of existence, beginning in February 2011, Silk Road exclusively accepted bitcoins as payment, transacting 9.9 million in bitcoins, worth roughly $214 million.31:222
In 2011, the price started at $0.30 each bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for the year. The cost rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month that the price fell to $11.00. The next month it fell to $7.80, and in another month to $4.77.32
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Litecoin, an early bitcoin spin-off or altcoin, you could try this out appeared in October 2011.33 Many altcoins have been created since then.34
In 2012, bitcoin prices started at $5.27 growing to $13.30 for its calendar year.32 By 9 January the cost had risen to $7.38, but then dropped by 49 percent to $3.80 over the next 16 days. The price then rose to $16.41 on 17 August, but dropped by 57 percent to $7.10 within the next three days.35.
In March 2013 that the blockchain briefly split into two independent chains with different rules. The 2 blockchains operated simultaneously for six hours, each with its own version of the transaction history. Normal operation was revived when the vast majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of the bitcoin software.37 The Mt.
Gox experienced processing delays due to insufficient capacity44 resulting in the bitcoin cost dropping from $266 to $76 before returning to $160 within six hours.45 The bitcoin price rose to $259 on 10 April, but then dropped by 83% to $45 over the next three days.35 On 15 May 2013, US authorities seized accounts associated with Mt.
881.48 This marked the first time a government agency had captured bitcoin.4950 The FBI captured about 26,000 bitcoins in October 2013 from the dark web website Silk Road during the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.515253 Bitcoin's price rose to $755 on 19 November and crashed by 50% to $378 the same day.
In 2014, prices started at $770 and dropped to $314 for the calendar year.32 In February 2014 that the Mt. Gox exchange, the most significant bitcoin exchange in the time, said home that 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its customers, amounting to nearly $500 million. Bitcoin's cost fell by nearly half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).