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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a type of electronic cash. It is a decentralized electronic currency with no central bank or single administrator which 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 recorded in a public distributed ledger known as 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, 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 also the possibility that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been utilized as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued investor alarms 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 made when Nakamoto mined the very first block of this chain, known as the genesis block.1920 Embedded in the coinbase of the cube 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 brought on by fractional-reserve banking.21:18.
The recipient of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who created the very first reusable proof-of-work platform (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin applications 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, founder of b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of bit gold.25 In 2010, the first known commercial transaction using bitcoin occurred 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 alert key and control of the code repository over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen later became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This abandoned opportunity for controversy to grow over the future development course of bitcoin.3029.
After ancient"proof-of-concept" transactions, the first significant consumers 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 price rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month the price 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 made since then.34
In 2012, bitcoin prices started at $5.27 growing to $13.30 for the calendar year.32 By 9 January the price had risen to $7.38, but then dropped by 49% to $3.80 within 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 their bitcoin software.37 The Mt.
Gox experienced processing delays due to insufficient capacity44 resulting in that site the bitcoin cost 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 three days.35 On 15 May 2013, US government seized accounts connected 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 in the dark website Silk Road during the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.515253 Bitcoin's cost rose 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 largest bitcoin exchange in the time, said that 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its clients, amounting to nearly $500 million. Bitcoin's cost fell by almost half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).