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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized electronic currency with no central bank or single administrator that can be sent out of user-to-user on the peer reviewed bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.7

Transactions are confirmed by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public dispersed ledger called 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 created 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, the majority of them using bitcoin.12.

Bitcoin has been criticized because of its use in prohibited transactions, its own high power consumption, cost volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the chance that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been used 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 posted 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 created when Nakamoto mined the very first block of this 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 receiver of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who made the very first reusable proof-of-work system (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin software on its release date, and on 12 January 2009 received ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.2324 Other early cypherpunk fans were founders of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, creator of b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of bit golden.25 In 2010, the earliest 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 awake key and control of this code over Gavin Andresen. Andresen afterwards became lead programmer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development path of bitcoin.3029.

After early"proof-of-concept" transactions, the first major consumers 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, see this the price started at $0.30 per bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for year. The cost rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month that 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 its 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 cost then rose to $16.41 on 17 August, but dropped by 57 percent to $7.10 within the next three days.35.

In March 2013 the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with different rules. The two blockchains operated simultaneously for six hours, each using its own version of the transaction history. Normal operation was restored when the majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of their bitcoin applications.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 cost 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 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 website Silk Road during the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.515253 Bitcoin's price climbed to $755 on 19 November and dropped by 50% to $378 exactly the same moment.

In 2014, prices began at $770 and dropped to $314 for the year.32 In February 2014 that the Mt. Gox exchange, the largest bitcoin exchange in the time, stated that 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its clients, amounting to almost $500 million. Bitcoin's price fell by nearly half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).

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