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Key pointsBitcoin is a digital currency known as a cryptocurrencyThe peer-to-peer technology underpinning it's known as the blockchain a public ledger of transactionsBitcoins can be stored in a virtual wallet and used to buy other currencies or actual world goods
Where once a single bitcoin was 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 people mined thousands of relatively worthless bitcoins as a hobby years back, only to now realise they're rich.One IT worker even threw out a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins.
All this is done with no central authority or bank.Who generated itBitcoin and the blockchain technology was made by someone under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto and released as a working beta in 2009. Satoshi's true identity remains a puzzle as he disappeared from the scene in 2010 after seemingly handing over the reins to Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation.Over years numerous people have claimed to become Satoshi, including Australian computer scientist Craig Wright.
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If the web site gets hacked or someone gets your login information that they can get and drain your funds from the exchange.There is no way for a transaction to be revoked or revoked if a thief sends your bitcoins to their wallet.After buying your coins you need to transfer them into a secure digital wallet created 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 private key on your computer or online then hackers can never break in and get your funds.
Bitcoin means different things to different people. For many, it is a future of moving currency untied to any central bank. To the others, it's a image source purely digital entity of questionable value and dubious origin. However, what is Bitcoin, in the most basic senseIn most casual conversations, you can get away with knowing that bitcoin is, essentially, an electronic currency.
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In fact, it is two much 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 a digital currency (bitcoin, lowercase). Bitcoin the platform is built on the concept of evidence of work data which is expensive and time-intensive to produce but can be easily verified.
To mine a bitcoin, a computer has to complete a complicated algorithm, essentially going through the work of an extensive calculation in exchange for some newly minted currency. That piece of digital currency is worth whatever the market decides through supply and demand.Transactions are connected to a users Bitcoin address, which can be saved on its general ledger, called the blockchain.