What is Bitcoin? History, characteristics

Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital currency, which is used and distributed electronically.

Bitcoin is a decentralised peer-to-peer network. No single institution or person controls it.

Bitcoins can’t be printed and their amount is very limited – only 21 mln Bitcoins can ever be created.

Bitcoin was first introduced as an open-source software by an anonymous programmer, or a group of programmers, under the alias Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. There has been a lot of rumours about the real identity of BTC’s creator, however all of the people mentioned in those rumours have publicly denied being Nakamoto.

Nakamoto himself once claimed to be a 37-year-old male living in Japan. However, because of his perfect English and his software not being labeled in Japanese, there are reasonable doubts about this. Around mid-2010, Nakamoto moved on to other things, leaving Bitcoin in the hands of a few prominent members of the BTC community. Also Satoshi named Gavin Andresen a lead developer Bitcoin Evolution.

It has been estimated that Nakamoto owns around one mln Bitcoins, which amounts to approximately $3.6 bln as of September 2017.

According to Gavin Andresen, the very first thing he focused on after Nakamoto moved on from the project was further decentralisation. Andersen wanted Bitcoin to continue its existence autonomously, even if he would ‘get hit by a bus’.

For a lot of people, the main advantage of Bitcoin is its independence from world governments, banks and corporations. Not one authority can interfere into BTC transactions, impose transaction fees or take people’s money away. Moreover, the Bitcoin movement is extremely transparent – every single transaction is being stored in a massive distributed public ledger called the Blockchain.

Essentially, while Bitcoin is not being controlled as a network, it gives its users total control over their finances.

These days banks know virtually everything about their clients: credit history, addresses, phone numbers, spending habits and so on. It is all very different with Bitcoin, as the wallet doesn’t have to be linked to any personally identifying information. And while some people just simply don’t want their finances to be governed and tracked by any kind of an authority, others might argue that drug trade, terrorism and other illegal and dangerous activities will thrive in this relative anonymity.

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