What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, launched in 2009. Unlike traditional fiat currencies, such as the British Pound, United States Dollar, and Euro, the Bitcoin network is decentralised and runs on thousands of computers worldwide. Bitcoin allows users to send and receive digital money (bitcoins or BTC). The network is popular because it is permissionless, non-censored, and investors can make transactions at any time, from anywhere in the world.
Due to its finite supply, investors often refer to Bitcoin as “digital gold.” Many view the coin as a store of value and believe that it will continue to appreciate over time.
How does Bitcoin work?
When an investor makes a payment, it is recorded on a type of database called a blockchain. Every network participant has an identical copy of the blockchain database stored on their device. Participants on the peer-to-peer network connect to process new information and record blocks of transactions on the blockchain. We refer to this process as mining.
There is a finite supply of Bitcoins, but not all units are in circulation yet. New coins are added to the blockchain through mining.
What is a blockchain?
A blockchain is a ledger that contains information. Once added, it is extremely difficult to change or delete data. The Bitcoin blockchain contains transaction details like the sender, the receiver, the number of coins, a unique hash containing its information, and the hash of the previous block to create the chain.
Blockchains have a “proof of work” security mechanism that slows down the creation of new blocks. Altering something within one block will break the chain, and it will be necessary to recalculate the proof of work for all of the following blocks. Also, blockchains operate on a peer-to-peer network. This means that any new blocks have to be verified by a majority of peers to ensure the network’s security.
Is Bitcoin legal?
In most countries, trading bitcoins is entirely legal. However, there are some exceptions, so it is important to check the laws of your jurisdiction before investing. Taxation and compliance regulations vary in countries where trading is legal.
Who created Bitcoin?
Bitcoin’s creator used the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, which could refer to a single person or a group. It has existed for over ten years, but no one has uncovered the real identity of its creator. Bitcoin combined several existing technologies, and we can trace back the concept of a blockchain to the 1990s.