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

Transactions are verified by network nodes via cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger known as 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 created as a reward for a procedure known as mining.

Research produced 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 for its use in prohibited transactions, its high power consumption, price volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the possibility that bitcoin is an economic bubble.13 Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, even though many regulatory agencies have issued investor alarms 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 software as open-source code and released it in January 2009.171810 Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.9.

In January 2009, the bitcoin network was made when Nakamoto mined the very first block of the chain, known as the genesis block.1920 Embedded in the coinbase of this 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 both 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, that made the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPOW) in 2004.22 Finney downloaded the bitcoin applications on its launch date, and on 12 January 2009 obtained ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.2324 Other ancient cypherpunk supporters were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, creator of b-money, and Nick Szabo, founder of little gold.25 In 2010, the first known business transaction using bitcoin happened when developer Laszlo Hanyecz purchased 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 the code repository over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen afterwards became lead programmer at the Bitcoin Foundation.2829 Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This abandoned opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development path of bitcoin.3029.

After early"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 additional reading payment, transacting 9.9 million in bitcoins, value roughly $214 million.31:222

In 2011, the price started at $0.30 each bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for the 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 its calendar 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 price then rose to $16.41 on 17 August, but fell by 57 percent to $7.10 within the next 3 days.35.

In March 2013 that 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 restored when the majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of their bitcoin software.37 The Mt.

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

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

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

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