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To cut through some of the confusion surrounding bitcoin, we need to separate it into two components. On the one hand, you have bitcoin-the-token, a snippet of code that represents ownership of a digital concept sort of like a virtual IOU. On the other hand, you've got bitcoin-the-protocol, a distributed network which maintains a ledger of balances of bitcoin-the-token.
The system enables payments to be sent between users without passing through a central authority, such as a bank or payment gateway. It's made and held electronically. Bitcoins arent printed, like dollars or euros theyre produced by computers all around the planet, using free software.
It was the very first example of what we today call cryptocurrencies, a growing asset class which shares some characteristics of traditional currencies, with verification based on cryptography.
A pseudonymous software developer going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto proposed bitcoin in 2008, within an electronic payment method based on mathematical evidence. The idea was to generate a means of exchange, independent of any central authority, that could be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable and immutable manner.
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Bitcoin can be used to cover things electronically, if both parties are willing. In that sense, its like conventional dollars, euros, or yen, that can also be traded digitally.
Bitcoins most important characteristic is it is decentralized. No single institution controls the bitcoin network. It is maintained by a group of volunteer coders, and run by an open network of committed servers spread around the globe. This attracts individuals and groups who are uncomfortable with the control that banks or government institutions have over their money. .
Bitcoin solves the double spending problem of electronic currencies (in which digital assets can readily be replicated and re-used) via an ingenious combination of cryptography and economic incentives. In electronic fiat currencies, this function is fulfilled by banks, which gives them control over the traditional system. With bitcoin, the integrity of the transactions is maintained by a distributed and open network, owned by no-one. .
Fiat currencies (dollars, euros, yen, etc.) have an unlimited supply central banks can issue as many as they want, and can attempt to manipulate a currencys worth relative to other people. Holders of the currency (and especially citizens with very little alternative) keep the price.
With bitcoin, on the other hand, the distribution is tightly controlled by the underlying algorithm. Even a small number of new bitcoins trickle out every hourand will continue to do so at a diminishing rate until a maximum of 21 million has been attained. This makes bitcoin more attractive as an advantage in theory, if demand grows and the distribution remains the same, the value will increase. .
Even though senders of traditional electronic payments are usually identified (for verification purposes, and to abide by anti-money laundering and other legislation), users of bitcoin in theory operate in semi-anonymity. Since there's absolutely no central validator, users do not need to identify themselves when sending bitcoin to another Join Bitcoin Mining Pool user. When a transaction request is submitted, the protocol assesses all prior transactions to confirm that the sender has the necessary bitcoin in addition to the ability to send them.
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In practice, each user is identified by the address of his or her wallet. Transactions can, with some effort, be tracked this way. Also, law enforcement has developed approaches to identify consumers if necessary.
Additionally, most exchanges are required by legislation to perform identity checks on their clients before they're permitted to purchase or sell bitcoin, facilitating another manner that bitcoin usage can be tracked. Since the network is transparent, the progress of a particular transaction is observable to all.
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This is imp source because there is no central adjudicator that can say okay, return the money. If a transaction is listed on the network, and when more than an hour has passed, then it is not possible to modify.
While this may disquiet a few, it will mean that any transaction on the bitcoin network cannot be tampered with.
The smallest unit of a bitcoin is called a satoshi. It's one hundred millionth of a bitcoin (0.00000001) at todays prices, roughly one hundredth of a cent. This could conceivably enable microtransactions that traditional electronic money cannot.
Read to find out how bitcoin transactions are processed and the way bitcoins are mined, what it can be used for, in addition to how you can purchase, sell and store your bitcoin. In addition, we explain a few alternatives to bitcoin, as well as the way its underlying technology the blockchain functions. .
If you want to know what is Bitcoin, how you can get it and how it can help you, without floundering into technical details, this manual is for you. It will explain how the system works, how you can use it to your gain, which scams to avoid. It will also direct you to sources that will help you shop and use your first pieces of digital currency.