WHAT IS BITCOIN?
Bitcoin is the world’s first successful decentralized cryptocurrency and payment system, launched in 2009 by a mysterious creator known only as Satoshi Nakamoto. The word “cryptocurrency” refers to a group of digital assets where transactions are secured and verified using cryptography – a scientific practice of encoding and decoding data. Those transactions are often stored on computers distributed all over the world via a distributed ledger technology called blockchain.
Bitcoin can be divided into smaller units known as “satoshis” and used for payments, but it’s also considered a store of value like gold. This is because the price of a single bitcoin has increased considerably since its inception – from less than a cent to tens of thousands of dollars. When discussed as a market asset, bitcoin is represented by the ticker symbol BTC.
The term “decentralized” is used often when discussing cryptocurrency, and simply means something that is widely distributed and has no single, centralized location or controlling authority. In the case of bitcoin, and indeed many other cryptocurrencies, the technology and infrastructure that govern the creation, supply, and security of it do not rely on centralized entities, like banks and governments, to manage it.