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Essential pointsBitcoin is an electronic currency known as a cryptocurrencyThe peer-to-peer technology underpinning it's known as the blockchain a people ledger of all transactionsBitcoins can be stored in a digital wallet and used to Purchase other currencies or actual world goods
Where once a single bitcoin has been worth a few cents it's now worth about $9,200 per coin (November 2017), creating millionaires in the process.There have been many reported cases where individuals mined thousands of comparatively useless bitcoins as a hobby years ago, only to now realise they are rich.One IT worker even threw out a hard disk containing 7,500 bitcoins.
This is done with no central authority or bank.Who generated itBitcoin and also 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 puzzle as he vanished from the scene in 2010 after seemingly handing over the reins into Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation.Over the years numerous people have claimed to become Satoshi, including Australian computer scientist Craig Wright.
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In case the website gets hacked or someone gets your login details that they could access and drain your funds from the exchange.There is no way for 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 wallet's private key on a sheet of paper (this is known as a newspaper 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 access 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. However, what's Bitcoin, in the most basic senseIn most casual conversations, you can get away with knowing that bitcoin is, essentially, a digital currency.
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In fact, it is two considerably more complicated 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 stage is built on the concept of proof of work information that is expensive and time-intensive to create but can be easily 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 bit of electronic currency is worth whatever the market decides through distribution and demand.Transactions are connected to a users Bitcoin address, which can be stored on its general ledger, called the blockchain.