BitCoin

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Bitcoin is a digital asset[12] and a payment system[13] created by an unidentified programmer, or group of programmers,[14] under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.[15] Bitcoin was introduced on 31 October 2008 to a cryptography mailing list,[16] and released as open-source software in 2009.[17] There have been several high-profile claims to the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto; however, none of them have provided proof beyond doubt that back up their claims.[15] The system is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary.[13]:4 These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called the blockchain,[18] which uses bitcoin as its unit of account. Since the system works without a central repository or single administrator, the U.S. Treasury categorizes bitcoin as a decentralized virtual currency.[1] Bitcoin is often called the first cryptocurrency,[19][20][21] although prior systems existed[note 5] and it is more correctly described as the first decentralized digital currency.[13][25] Bitcoin is the largest of its kind in terms of total market value.[26]

Bitcoins are created as a reward for payment processing work in which users offer their computing power to verify and record payments into a public ledger. This activity is called mining and miners are rewarded with transaction fees and newly created bitcoins.[13] Besides being obtained by mining, bitcoins can be exchanged for other currencies,[27] products, and services.[28] When sending bitcoins, users can pay an optional transaction fee to the miners.[29]

In February 2015, the number of merchants accepting bitcoin for products and services passed 100,000.[30] Instead of 2–3% typically imposed by credit card processors, merchants accepting bitcoins often pay fees in the range from 0% to less than 2%.[31] Despite the fourfold increase in the number of merchants accepting bitcoin in 2014, the cryptocurrency did not have much momentum in retail transactions.[32] The European Banking Authority[33] and other sources[13]:11 have warned that bitcoin users are not protected by refund rights or chargebacks. The use of bitcoin by criminals has attracted the attention of financial regulators,[34] legislative bodies,[35] law enforcement,[36] and media.[37] Criminal activities are primarily centered around darknet markets and theft, though officials in countries such as the United States also recognize that bitcoin can provide legitimate financial services.[35]

  • Currently 300K transactions/day (approx. 4 transactions/second)


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