Updated: May 29, 2020
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, first of its kind. It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for a middleman like the bank.
Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and started in 2009 when its source code was released as open-source software. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a computational process known as mining which require a lot of computer power and electricity. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.
Bitcoin has been criticized for its use in illegal transactions as it almost untraceable like cash, it has also been criticized for its high electricity consumption, price volatility, and thefts from currency exchanges. Some economists, including several Nobel laureates, have characterized it as a speculative bubble. Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin.
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