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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a type of electronic cash. It's a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator which can be sent from user-to-user on the peer reviewed bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.7
Transactions are confirmed by network nodes through cryptography and listed in a public dispersed ledger known as a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto9 and released as open-source applications 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 prohibited transactions, its high electricity consumption, cost volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the possibility that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been utilized as an investment, even though 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 posted to a cryptography mailing list.16 Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin applications as open-source code and released it in January 2009.171810 Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.9.
In January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the first block of the chain, known as the genesis block.1920 Embedded in the coinbase of the 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 made the very 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 ancient cypherpunk fans were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, founder of b-money, and Nick Szabo, founder of bit gold.25 In 2010, the first known business transaction using bitcoin occurred when developer 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 alert crucial and control of this code repository over Gavin Andresen. Andresen later 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, 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, value about $214 million.31:222
In 2011, the price started at $0.30 per bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for the year. The cost rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month the cost 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 started at $5.27 growing to $13.30 for the year.32 By 9 January the price had risen to $7.38, but then dropped 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 within the next 3 times.35.
In March 2013 the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with different rules. The two blockchains operated simultaneously for half an hour, each with its own version of the transaction history. Normal operation was restored when the majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of the bitcoin applications.37 The Mt.
Gox experienced processing delays due to insufficient capacity44 resulting official site 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 dropped by 83% to $45 within the next 3 times.35 On 15 May 2013, US authorities seized accounts associated with Mt.
881.48 This marked the first time a government agency had captured bitcoin.4950 The FBI seized about 26,000 bitcoins in October 2013 from the dark web website Silk Road during the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.515253 Bitcoin's price climbed to $755 on 19 November and dropped by 50 percent to $378 the exact same moment.
In 2014, prices began at $770 and dropped to $314 for the year.32 In February 2014 the Mt. Gox exchange, the largest 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 nearly half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).