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Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to function with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is performed collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can participate. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin enables exciting uses that could not be dealt with by any preceding payment system. .

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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a kind of electronic money. It's 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 confirmed by network nodes via cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of individuals using the name Satoshi Nakamoto9 and published as open-source applications in 2009.10 Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process 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 because of its use in prohibited transactions, its own high electricity consumption, price volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the possibility that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been utilized as an investment, even though several regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin.14

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 applications as open-source code and published it in January 2009.171810 Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.9.

In January 2009, the bitcoin network was made when Nakamoto mined the very first block of this chain, known as the genesis block.1920 Embedded in the coinbase of this cube has been the following text:"The Times 03/Jan/2009 More Info Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks. "10 This note has been interpreted as either a timestamp and a comment on the instability brought on by fractional-reserve banking.21:18.

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The receiver of the initial bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who made the first reusable proof-of-work platform (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin software on its release , and on 12 January 2009 received ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.2324 Other ancient cypherpunk fans were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, founder of b-money, and Nick Szabo, founder of bit golden.25 In 2010, the earliest known commercial transaction using bitcoin happened 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 awake crucial and control of this code repository over Gavin Andresen. Andresen later became lead programmer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to grow over the future development path of bitcoin.3029.

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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 each 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 dropped 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

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In 2012, bitcoin prices began at $5.27 growing to $13.30 for its year.32 By 9 January the price had risen to $7.38, but then dropped by 49% to $3.80 within the next 16 days. The cost then rose to $16.41 on 17 August, but fell by 57% to $7.10 within the next three days.35.

In March 2013 the blockchain briefly split into two independent chains with different rules. The two blockchains operated simultaneously for six hours, each with its own version of the transaction history. Normal operation was restored when the vast majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of their bitcoin software.37 The Mt.

Gox experienced processing delays due to insufficient capacity44 resulting in the bitcoin price dropping from $266 to $76 prior to returning to $160 within six hours.45 The bitcoin price rose to $259 on 10 April, but then crashed by 83% to $45 over the next 3 times.35 On 15 May 2013, US government seized accounts connected with Mt.

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