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Key pointsBitcoin is a digital currency known as a cryptocurrencyThe peer-to-peer technology underpinning it's known as the blockchain a people ledger of all transactionsBitcoins can be stored in a digital wallet and used to buy 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 instances where people mined thousands of relatively useless bitcoins as a hobby years back, only to now realise they are rich.One IT employee even threw out a hard disk containing 7,500 bitcoins.
All this is done without a central authority or bank.Who generated itBitcoin and also the blockchain technology was created by someone under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto and published 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 to Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation.Over years numerous individuals have claimed to become Satoshi, including Australian computer scientist Craig Wright.
Once the limit is reached, no longer 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 just a fraction of the coin.How would you store or send bitcoinYou can store 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 like a seemingly random string of numbers and letters.The private key is kept confidential by you and acts as a password that unlocks the wallet and lets you send any bitcoins associated with it.
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In case the website 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 piece of paper (this is known as a newspaper wallet) and stick it in a safe.If you don't store the personal key on your computer or online then recipients can never break in and access your funds.
Bitcoin means different things to different people. For some, it is a future of moving currency untied to any central bank. To others, it's a purely electronic entity of questionable value and dubious origin. However, what's Bitcoin, in the most basic senseIn most casual conversations, you can get away with knowing that bitcoin is, essentially, a digital currency.
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In fact, it is two considerably more complex things.Bitcoin has been with us since 2009, when a person (or group) under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto introduced a stage (Bitcoin, uppercase) that hosts a digital currency (bitcoin, lowercase). Bitcoin the platform is built on the concept of proof of work information that is expensive and time-intensive to create but can helpful site be easily verified.
To mine a bitcoin, a computer has to complete a complicated algorithm, essentially going through the work of an extensive calculation in exchange for a few newly minted currency. That bit of electronic currency is worth whatever the market decides through distribution and demand.Transactions are connected to a users Bitcoin speech, which is stored on its own general ledger, called the blockchain.
This comparative anonymity makes the platform appealing for things like incognito purchases within the internet.A key component of Bitcoins blockchain is the fact it is an open, distributed ledger. Through the distributed nature of the ledger, the transactions on the blockchain are confirmed by the consensus of every member, offering security and trust with no third-party overseer.One of the most important things to bear in mind when thinking about what Bitcoin (or even bitcoin) is: there is no single answer.