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Bitcoin () is a cryptocurrency, a form of electronic cash. It is a decentralized digital currency with no central bank or single administrator that can be sent out of user-to-user on the peer reviewed bitcoin network with no need for intermediaries.7

Transactions are verified 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 people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto9 and published as open-source applications in 2009.10 Bitcoins are made as a reward for a process known as mining.

Research generated by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.12.

Bitcoin has been criticized because of its use in prohibited transactions, its high electricity consumption, cost volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the possibility that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been utilized as an investment, even though many regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin.14

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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 a 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 first block of the chain, known as the genesis block.1920 Embedded in the coinbase of the cube was the following text:"The Times 03/Jan/2009 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.

The recipient of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin software on its release date, and on 12 January 2009 received ten bitcoins out of Nakamoto.2324 Other early cypherpunk supporters were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, founder of b-money, and Nick Szabo, top article creator of bit golden.25 In 2010, the earliest known commercial transaction using bitcoin occurred when programmer 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 alert key and control of best site the code over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen later became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development course of bitcoin.3029.

After ancient"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, worth roughly $214 million.31:222

In 2011, the price started at $0.30 each bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for year. The cost rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month that the price fell to $11.00. The next month it fell 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 made since then.34

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

In March 2013 the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with different rules. The 2 blockchains operated simultaneously for half an hour, each with its own version of the transaction history. Normal operation was revived when the majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of the bitcoin applications.37 The Mt.

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

881.48 This marked the first time a government agency had captured bitcoin.4950 The FBI seized about 26,000 bitcoins in October 2013 in the dark website Silk Road during the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.515253 Bitcoin's price climbed to $755 on 19 November and crashed by 50 percent to $378 the same moment.

In 2014, prices began at $770 and dropped to $314 for the year.32 In February 2014 that the Mt. Gox exchange, the largest bitcoin exchange at the time, stated that 850,000 bitcoins had been stolen from its customers, amounting to nearly $500 million. Bitcoin's cost fell by nearly half, from $867 to $439 (a 49% drop).

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