Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to control its creation and management rather than relying on central authorities. Introduced in 2008 by an anonymous person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is the first decentralized cryptocurrency. Since its inception, Bitcoin has been one of the most famous and widely used cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin is unique in that there are a finite number of them: 21 million. Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, believed that this would create a natural deflationary spiral, meaning that bitcoins would become increasingly valuable over time.
Bitcoins are created through a process called "mining." Miners are rewarded with bitcoins for verifying and committing transactions to the blockchain. This process requires significant computational power, leading to mining centralization and eco-friendliness concerns.
Bitcoin is often lauded for its potential to provide a more efficient and convenient way of conducting transactions without needing third-party intermediaries like banks or governments. However, critics have raised concerns about the currency's volatile price, lack of regulation, and potential for illegal activity.
Despite these challenges, Bitcoin remains one of the most popular and widely used cryptocurrencies. Users can purchase bitcoins through exchanges or buy them directly from other people via marketplaces. Bitcoin can also be used to make purchases with various online retailers.
Bitcoin is still in its early stages, and its price is subject to significant volatility. While the currency has seen some ups and downs, it has generally trended upward over time. Investing in Bitcoin may come with the potential for high returns, but it also involves a high degree of risk. Before investing, be sure to do your research and speak with a financial advisor.
A selection of cryptocurrencies in the top 50 by market cap.