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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It's a decentralized digital currency with no central bank or single administrator which can be sent out of user-to-user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network with no 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 individuals using the name Satoshi Nakamoto9 and released as open-source software in 2009.10 Bitcoins are made as a reward for a process known as mining.
Research generated by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.12.
Bitcoin has been criticized because of its use in illegal transactions, its high power consumption, price volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the chance that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although many regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts 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 made when Nakamoto mined the very first block of the chain, known as the genesis block.1920 Embedded in the coinbase of this block has been 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 brought on by fractional-reserve banking.21:18.
The receiver of the initial bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, that created the very first reusable proof-of-work platform (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin applications on its launch date, and on 12 January 2009 received ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.2324 Other ancient cypherpunk fans were founders of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, founder of b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of little golden.25 In 2010, see here the first known business transaction using bitcoin occurred 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 this code repository over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen afterwards became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to grow over the future development course of bitcoin.3029.
After ancient"proof-of-concept" transactions, the first major users 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 about $214 million.31:222
In 2011, the price started at $0.30 each bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for year. The cost rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month that the price fell to $11.00. The next month it dropped to $7.80, and in another month to $4.77.32
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Litecoin, an early bitcoin spin-off or altcoin, appeared in October 2011.33 Many altcoins have been created since then.34
In 2012, bitcoin prices began at $5.27 growing to $13.30 for the calendar year.32 By 9 January the cost had risen to $7.38, but then dropped by 49% 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 over the next 3 times.35.
In March 2013 that the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with different rules. The two blockchains operated simultaneously for half an hour, each using 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 price dropping from $266 to $76 before returning to $160 within six hours.45 The bitcoin cost rose to $259 on 10 April, but then crashed by 83% to $45 within the next 3 times.35 On 15 May 2013, US government captured accounts associated with Mt.
881.48 This marked the first time a government agency had seized bitcoin.4950 The FBI seized about 26,000 bitcoins in October 2013 in the dark website Silk Road during the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.515253 Bitcoin's price rose to $755 on 19 November and crashed by 50 percent to $378 exactly the same day.
In 2014, prices started at $770 and fell to $314 for the year.32 In February 2014 the Mt. Gox exchange, the largest bitcoin exchange at the time, stated that 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its clients, amounting to nearly $500 million. Bitcoin's cost fell by nearly half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).