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Essential pointsBitcoin is an electronic currency known as a cryptocurrencyThe peer-to-peer technology underpinning it is known as the blockchain a public ledger of all transactionsBitcoins can be stored in a virtual wallet and used to buy other currencies or real world goods

Where once a single bitcoin was worth a few cents it is now worth about $9,200 per coin (November 2017), creating millionaires in the process.There have been many reported instances where people mined thousands of comparatively useless bitcoins as a hobby years back, only to now realise they're rich.One IT employee even threw out a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins.

All this is done with no central authority or bank.Who created itBitcoin and the blockchain technology was created by someone under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto and published as a working beta in 2009. Satoshi's true identity remains a mystery as he vanished from the scene in 2010 after seemingly handing over the reins into Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation.Over the years numerous individuals have claimed to become Satoshi, including Australian computer scientist Craig Wright.

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Once the limit is reached, no longer bitcoins can be made.However, a single bitcoin can be subdivided as far down as the decimal place (0.00000001BTC) to purchase smaller goods using only a fraction of these coin.How do you shop or send bitcoinYou can store and send bitcoins via an encrypted electronic wallet, which is run as an app on your computer.The wallet functions with two keys a private key and a public key which look to be a seemingly random string of numbers and letters.The private key is kept confidential by you and acts as a password that unlocks the wallet and lets you send any bitcoins associated with it.

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If the website gets hacked or someone gets your login information that they could get and drain your funds from the exchange.There is no way for a transaction to be revoked or revoked if a thief sends your bitcoins for their wallet.After buying your coins you need to transfer them to a secure digital wallet created by you and not hosted online.You can even write down the pocket's personal key on a sheet of paper (this is known as a paper wallet) and stick it in a safe.If you don't save the personal key on your computer or online then hackers can never break in and get your funds.

Bitcoin means different things to different individuals. For some, it's a future of freely moving currency untied to any central bank. To others, it's a purely digital entity of questionable value and doubtful origin. But what is Bitcoin, in the most basic senseIn most casual conversations, you can get away with knowing that bitcoin is, basically, a digital currency.

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In reality, it is two considerably more complicated things.Bitcoin has been with us since 2009, when a person (or group) under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto introduced a platform (Bitcoin, uppercase) that hosts an electronic currency (bitcoin, lowercase). Bitcoin the stage is built on the concept of proof of work data that is expensive and time-intensive to create but my blog can be readily verified.

To mine a bitcoin, a computer must finish a complicated algorithm, essentially going through the job of an extensive calculation in exchange for a few newly minted currency. That piece of electronic currency is worth whatever the market determines through supply and demand.Transactions are connected to some users Bitcoin speech, which is saved on its own general ledger, called the blockchain.

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This relative anonymity makes the system appealing for things such as incognito purchases within the internet.A key component of Bitcoins blockchain is the fact that it is an open, distributed ledger. Throughout the dispersed nature of this ledger, the transactions on the blockchain are verified by the consensus of every member, offering protection and trust with no third-party overseer.One of the most important things to bear in mind when thinking about exactly what Bitcoin (or even bitcoin) is: there is no single answer.

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