What is Bitcoin (BTC)?
Bitcoin is a digital money supply controlled by a network of peers.
As a decentralised digital currency, Bitcoin is created and managed via an open access software protocol. A vast network of computers manage the data and enforce a set of rules, not banks or a central authority.
Bitcoin network nodes verify the authenticity and compliance of every transaction. Bitcoin miners armed with powerful computer chips compete to batch these transactions and add them to the blockchain. The full and open record of the network’s history ensures bitcoins cannot be copied and modified. The need for a trusted third party is replaced by irrefutable cryptographic proof.
Wallet software assigns bitcoin owners both a public key that prove you own bitcoin and a private key that works like a super-secure password so bitcoins can only be accessed by the owner.
The software dictates only 21 million bitcoins will ever be introduced to the network’s economy. And it’s this scarcity that gives bitcoins value. Being valuable, divisible and transferable allows bitcoins to be used as currency.
BTC is able to sub-divided up to the eighth decimal place. The smallest unit of currency is called a Satoshi after Bitcoin’s creator. 1 BTC equals 100,000,000 satoshis (sats).
Bitcoin kickstarted the crypto revolution. Today, new applications and opportunities are being discovered (and debated) all the time.
Who created Bitcoin?
In 2006, under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto, a person or group started writing the code for a new digital cash system called ‘Bitcoin’.
A white paper explaining the software system was published in2008, before the release of Bitcoin 0.1 in January, 2009.
The yet to be identified Satoshi Nakamoto also wrote a volume of emails and forum posts on the future of Bitcoin, before going silent in 2011.Now, many hundreds of developers contribute to Bitcoin’s code, making fixes and improvements.
Why invest in Bitcoin?
Most technologists believe Bitcoin’s fundamental property that makes it different from other digital money systems– is that the network is decentralized.
A system where there is no middleman or central authority means only you have control of your money and your transactions cannot be denied. Bitcoin’s decentralization solves the trust issue inherent with centralized money managers. If any one computer stops performing its function, another can take its place.
Cryptography and private keys make Bitcoin durable and it’s portable enough you could carry all your wealth on a flash drive and transfer it instantly via the internet.
There are currently thousands of individuals and vendors accepting Bitcoin payments, and thousands of other small businesses taking payments and donations with Bitcoin.
You can also buy and sell BTC for other cryptocurrencies alongside more traditional currencies at exchanges 24/7.