World’s first cryptocurrency or digital currency is Bitcoin. It is also called “internet money”, “virtual money” or “digital cash”. Bitcoin is the currency that is virtually present but has value to it. So it is not an actual banknote or coin in your wallet but it is a digital asset in your digital wallet. It is not controlled or managed by any centralized system or is regulated by any government. It is decentralized. The Bitcoin owners do not have account numbers, names or identification numbers linked in the system. It uses blockchain technology and cryptographic or encrypted codes to connect to its owners. It can be used to buy services and goods, but not every organization accepts it and is outlawed in few countries.
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Bitcoin was introduced as a Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System in early 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown person or group of persons.
How do Bitcoin works?
Bitcoin is a file stored on digital wallet app on your Smartphone or computer. All the digital wallets get a unique public address. This address is a 30 character long combination of number and letters. Owners can send or receive bitcoins or part of it in their respective digital wallets. All these transactions are recorded in a public ledger called Blockchain. Blockchain helps to keep the history of all transactions ensuring no one can duplicate, reverse the transactions or use bitcoins they do not own.
How do we get Bitcoins?
1) Buying: To buy Bitcoins we need to have a Bitcoin wallet. They are available on site like Blockchain.info or on mobile apps like Bitcoin Wallet for Android or iOS. Once we set up the Bitcoin Wallet we can buy Bitcoins using the traditional currency or the “real” money.
2) Selling: The best and easiest way to own Bitcoin is to ask the buyers to pay us in Bitcoins for the goods and services we provide.
3) Mining: Mining here means creating new Bitcoins using Computers. Extremely powerful and energy efficient computers are needed to mine the Bitcoins. In the mining process, the computers are required to solve extremely difficult mathematical calculations which keep on getting difficult in each step. When the mathematical problem is solved a new block of Bitcoin is created and the person/miner solving the problem owns the new Bitcoin. The process of mining was worthwhile earlier, but with recent advancements, it takes a lot of efforts, high-end computers and a lot of time (sometimes even years) to mine the Bitcoins. Currently, there are 16.5 million Bitcoins and the maximum limit is 21 million.