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Key pointsBitcoin is a digital currency known as a cryptocurrencyThe peer-to-peer technology underpinning it is known as the blockchain a public ledger of transactionsBitcoins can be stored in a virtual wallet and used to Purchase other currencies or actual world goods
Where once a single bitcoin was worth a few cents it is now worth about $9,200 per coin (November 2017), creating millionaires in the process.There have been many reported cases where individuals mined thousands of comparatively worthless bitcoins as a hobby years ago, only to now realise they are rich.One IT worker even threw out a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins.
All this is done with no central authority or bank.Who created itBitcoin and the blockchain technology was created by someone under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto and released as a working beta in 2009. Satoshi's true identity remains a puzzle as he vanished from the scene in 2010 after seemingly handing over the reins into Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation.Over the years numerous individuals have promised to be Satoshi, including Australian computer scientist Craig Wright.
Once the limit is reached, no more bitcoins can be made.However, a single bitcoin can be subdivided as far down as the eighth decimal place (0.00000001BTC) to buy smaller goods using only a fraction of these coin.How do you store or send bitcoinYou can shop and send bitcoins from an encrypted electronic wallet, which is run as a program on your computer.The wallet functions using two keys a private key and a public key which look to be a seemingly random string of numbers and letters.The private key is kept secret by you and functions as a password that unlocks the wallet and allows you to send any bitcoins connected with it.
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If the web site gets hacked or someone gets your login details that they could get and drain your funds from the exchange.There is no way for a transaction to be reversed or recovered if a burglar sends your bitcoins to their wallet.After buying your coins you need to transfer them to a secure digital pocket made by you and not hosted online.You can even write down the pocket's personal key on a sheet of paper (this is known as a newspaper wallet) and stick it in a safe.If you don't save the private key on your computer or online then recipients can never break in next and get your funds.
Bitcoin means different things to different individuals. For some, it's a future of freely moving currency untied to any central bank. To others, it's a purely electronic entity of questionable worth and doubtful origin. However, what's Bitcoin, in the most basic senseIn most casual conversations, you can eliminate knowing that bitcoin is, basically, a digital currency.
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In reality, it is two much more complex things.Bitcoin has been with us since 2009, when a person (or group) under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto introduced a platform (Bitcoin, uppercase) that hosts a digital currency (bitcoin, lowercase). Bitcoin the stage is built on the concept of evidence of work data that is expensive and time-intensive to produce but can be readily verified.
To mine a bitcoin, a computer must finish a complicated algorithm, essentially going through the job of an extensive calculation in exchange for some newly minted currency. That piece of electronic currency is worth whatever the market determines through distribution and demand.Transactions are connected to some users Bitcoin address, which can be saved on its own general ledger, called the blockchain.
This comparative anonymity makes the platform appealing for things such as incognito purchases within the internet.A key component of Bitcoins blockchain is the fact it is an open, distributed ledger. Through the dispersed nature of the ledger, the transactions on the blockchain are confirmed by the consensus of every member, offering protection and trust without a third-party overseer.One of the most important things to bear in mind when thinking about exactly what Bitcoin (or even bitcoin) is: there is no single answer.