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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent out of user-to-user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.7
Transactions are verified by network nodes via cryptography and recorded in a public dispersed 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 applications in 2009.10 Bitcoins are made as a reward for a procedure 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 illegal transactions, its high electricity consumption, price volatility, thefts from exchanges, and also the chance that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although many 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 submitted to some cryptography mailing list.16 Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin software as open-source code and released it in January 2009.171810 Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.9.
In January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the 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 both a timestamp and a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.21:18.
The recipient of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, that created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin software on its launch date, and on 12 January 2009 obtained ten bitcoins out of Nakamoto.2324 Other ancient cypherpunk supporters were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, creator of b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of bit gold.25 In 2010, the earliest known business transaction using bitcoin happened go to my blog when developer Laszlo Hanyecz bought 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 this code repository over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen afterwards 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 path of bitcoin.3029.
After early"proof-of-concept" transactions, the first significant users 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, value roughly $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 that 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 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 percent to $3.80 within the next 16 days. The cost then climbed to $16.41 on 17 August, but dropped by 57% to $7.10 within the next three days.35.
In March 2013 that the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with different rules. The 2 blockchains operated simultaneously for six hours, Earn Satoshi each using 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 due to insufficient capacity44 resulting in 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 crashed by 83 percent to $45 over the next 3 days.35 On 15 May 2013, US government seized 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 in the dark web website Silk Road during the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.515253 Bitcoin's cost rose to $755 on 19 November and dropped by 50 percent to $378 the exact same day.
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 at the moment, said that 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its customers, amounting to almost $500 million. Bitcoin's cost fell by nearly half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).