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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a type of electronic money. It's a decentralized electronic currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user-to-user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.7
Transactions are confirmed by network nodes through cryptography and listed in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto9 and published as open-source software in 2009.10 Bitcoins are made as a reward for a process 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, 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 utilized as an investment, even though 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 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 created when Nakamoto mined the very first block of the chain, known as the genesis block.1920 Embedded in the coinbase of the 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 both a timestamp and a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.21:18.
The recipient of the initial bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who made 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 out of Nakamoto.2324 Other early cypherpunk supporters were founders of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, founder of b-money, and Nick Szabo, founder of little gold.25 In 2010, the earliest known business transaction using bitcoin happened when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John's pizzas for 10,000 bitcoin.26.
Nakamoto is estimated wikipedia reference to have mined one million bitcoins27 before disappearing in 2010, when he handed the network alert key and control of this code repository over Gavin Andresen. Andresen afterwards became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development course of bitcoin.3029.
After ancient"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 the year. The cost rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month the cost fell to $11.00. The next month it fell 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 crashed by 49 percent to $3.80 over the next 16 days. The price then climbed to $16.41 on 17 August, but fell by 57 percent to $7.10 over the next 3 days.35.
In March 2013 that the blockchain briefly 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 revived when the majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of the bitcoin applications.37 The Mt.
Gox experienced processing delays because of insufficient capacity44 resulting in the bitcoin price dropping from $266 to $76 prior to 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 authorities captured accounts connected 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 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 dropped by 50% to $378 exactly the exact same moment.
In 2014, prices began at $770 and fell to $314 for the calendar year.32 In February 2014 that the Mt. Gox exchange, the most significant bitcoin exchange at the time, stated that 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its own clients, amounting to almost $500 million. Bitcoin's price fell by nearly half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).