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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 all transactionsBitcoins can be stored in a digital wallet and used to buy other currencies or real world goods
Where once a single bitcoin was worth a few cents it's now worth about $9,200 per coin (November 2017), creating millionaires in the process.There have been many reported instances where individuals 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.
This is done with no central authority or bank.Who generated itBitcoin and also the blockchain technology was made 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 disappeared from the scene in 2010 after seemingly handing over the reins to Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist in the Bitcoin Foundation.Over the years numerous people have promised to become 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 purchase smaller goods using only a fraction of these coin.How would you store or send bitcoinYou can store and send bitcoins from an encrypted digital wallet, which is run as a program on your computer.The wallet functions with 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 acts as a password that unlocks the wallet and lets you send any bitcoins associated with that.
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If the website gets hacked or someone gets your login information that they could get and drain your funds from the exchange.There is no way to get 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 a knockout post 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 paper wallet) and stick it in a safe.If you don't store the personal key on your computer or online then hackers can never break in and get your funds.
Bitcoin means different things to different individuals. For many, it's a future of freely moving currency untied to any central bank. To others, it is a purely digital entity of questionable worth and doubtful origin. But what's Bitcoin, in the most elementary senseIn most casual conversations, you can get away with knowing that bitcoin is, essentially, a digital currency.
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In reality, 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 platform (Bitcoin, uppercase) that hosts a digital currency (bitcoin, lowercase). Bitcoin the stage is built on the concept of proof of work data that is expensive and time-intensive to create 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 a few newly minted currency. That piece of digital currency is worth whatever the market decides through distribution and demand.Transactions are connected to some users Bitcoin address, which is saved on its general ledger, known as the blockchain.
This relative anonymity makes the system appealing for things such as incognito purchases over the internet.A key component of Bitcoins blockchain is the simple fact it is an open, distributed ledger. Through the dispersed nature of the web link ledger, the transactions on the blockchain are verified by the consensus of every member, offering protection 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: that there is no single answer.