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Essential pointsBitcoin is an electronic currency known as a cryptocurrencyThe peer-to-peer technology underpinning it is known as the blockchain a public ledger of transactionsBitcoins can be stored in a virtual wallet and used to buy other currencies or real world goods
Where once a single bitcoin has been worth a few cents it is now worth about $9,200 per coin (November 2017), creating millionaires in the process.There have been many reported cases where people 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 drive containing 7,500 bitcoins.
All this is done with no central authority or bank.Who created itBitcoin and the blockchain technology was made by someone under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto and published as a working beta in 2009. Satoshi's true identity remains a mystery 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 individuals have promised to become Satoshi, including Australian computer scientist Craig Wright.
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If the web site gets hacked or someone gets your login information that they can access and drain your funds from the exchange.There is no way to get a transaction to be reversed or recovered if a thief sends your bitcoins for their wallet.After buying your coins you need to transfer them to a secure digital pocket made by you and not hosted online.You can even write down the pocket's personal key on a sheet 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 recipients can never break in and get your funds.
Bitcoin means different things to different people. For many, it's a future of freely moving currency untied to any central bank. To others, it's a purely digital entity of questionable value and dubious origin. But what is Bitcoin, in the most basic senseIn most casual conversations, you can eliminate knowing that bitcoin is, essentially, an electronic currency.
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In fact, 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 stage (Bitcoin, uppercase) that hosts an electronic currency (bitcoin, lowercase). Bitcoin the platform is built on the concept of proof of work information that is expensive and time-intensive to produce but can be readily verified.
To mine a bitcoin, a computer must finish a complicated algorithm, essentially going through the work of an extensive calculation in exchange for a few newly minted currency. That piece of electronic currency is worth whatever the market decides through supply and demand.Transactions are connected to some users Bitcoin address, which is stored on its own general ledger, called the blockchain.