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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic money. It is a decentralized digital currency with no central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user-to-user on the peer reviewed bitcoin network with no need for intermediaries.7
Transactions are verified by network nodes via cryptography and listed in a public dispersed 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 procedure 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, cost volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the chance that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been utilized as an investment, although several 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 a 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 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 brought on by fractional-reserve banking.21:18.
The recipient of the initial bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, that created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin software on its launch , and on 12 January 2009 obtained ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.2324 Other early cypherpunk fans were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, creator of b-money, and Nick Szabo, founder of little gold.25 In 2010, the first known commercial transaction using bitcoin happened when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz purchased 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 programmer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This abandoned opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development course of bitcoin.3029.
After early"proof-of-concept" transactions, the first significant users of bitcoin were black markets, for example 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 the cost fell to informative post $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 made since then.34
In 2012, bitcoin prices began at $5.27 growing to $13.30 for its year.32 By 9 January the price had risen to $7.38, but then crashed by 49 percent to $3.80 over the next 16 days. The cost then climbed to $16.41 on 17 August, but fell by 57 percent to $7.10 over the next three days.35.
In March 2013 the blockchain briefly split into two independent chains with different rules. The 2 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 cost dropping from $266 to $76 prior to returning to $160 within six hours.45 The bitcoin price rose to $259 on 10 April, but then crashed by 83% to $45 within the next three 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 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 cost climbed to $755 on 19 November and crashed by 50 percent to $378 exactly the same day.
In 2014, prices began at $770 and dropped to $314 for the year.32 In February 2014 the Mt. Gox exchange, the most significant bitcoin exchange in the time, stated that 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its own customers, amounting to almost $500 million. Bitcoin's cost fell by almost half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).