BlockChain is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. It is the first decentralized digital currency because the system works without a central bank or a single administrator. The network is peer-to-peer and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes using cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called the blockchain.
Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and sellers accepted Bitcoin as payment.
According to a study by the University of Cambridge, there are between 2.9 and 5.8 million unique users using cryptocurrency wallets in 2017, most of them using Bitcoin. The word Bitcoin first appeared and was defined in a white paper published on October 31, 2008.
It is a compound of the words bit and coin. White paper often uses a shorter coinage. There is no single convention for the capitalization of Bitcoin.
On August 18, 2008, the domain name “bitcoin.org” was registered. In November of the same year, a link was published by author Satoshi Nakamoto entitled Bitcoin.A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.
Nakamoto made the Bitcoin software open source and released it on SourceForge in January 2009. Nakamoto’s identity is unknown. In January 2009, the Bitcoin network was born after Satoshi Nakamoto obtained the first block on the chain, known as the genesis block. The following text was included in the base of this block coin
THE TIMES 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks
This note has been interpreted as a time stamp on the Genesis date and a mocking comment on the instability caused by fractional reserve banking.
One of the earliest supporters, adopters and contributors to Bitcoin was programmer Hal Finn, the receiver of the first Bitcoin transaction. Finney downloaded the Bitcoin software the day it was released and received 10 Bitcoins from Nakamoto in the world’s first Bitcoin transaction. Other early backers included Wei Dai, creator of Bitcoin’s predecessor b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of Bitcoin’s predecessor bit Gold.