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Find answers to recurring questions and myths about Cryptocurrency.
A cryptocurrency, crypto currency, or crypto is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange wherein individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger existing in a form of a computerized database using strong cryptography to secure transaction records, to control the creation of additional coins, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership. It typically does not exist in physical form (like paper money) and is typically not issued by a central authority. Cryptocurrencies typically use decentralized control as opposed to centralized digital currency and central banking systems. When a cryptocurrency is minted or created prior to issuance or issued by a single issuer, it is generally considered centralized. When implemented with decentralized control, each cryptocurrency works through distributed ledger technology, typically a blockchain, that serves as a public financial transaction database.
The Bitcoin Network is the first successful implementation of blockchain technology.
The term “blockchain technology” typically refers to the transparent, trustless, publicly accessible ledger that allows us to securely transfer the ownership of units of value using public-key encryption and proof of work methods.
The technology uses decentralized consensus to maintain the network, which means it is not centrally controlled by a bank, corporation, or government. In fact, the larger the network grows and becomes increasingly decentralized, the more secure it becomes.
The potential for blockchain technology is not limited to bitcoin. As such, it has gained a lot of attention in a variety of industries including financial services, charities and nonprofits, the arts, and e-commerce.
Bitcoin can often refer to two things. First, the Bitcoin network that keeps track of our transactions and balances, and second, the currency that we use as the unit of value when we transact. We’ll cover both here.
Bitcoin’s payment network (also called the bitcoin blockchain) is what makes it possible for us to transact with one another. The network uses distributed consensus to verify and confirm transactions, and consensus is reached via a large global network of high-performance computers (called miners) running the bitcoin software.
Whenever someone sends a transaction it is broadcast instantly to the network and verified by the miners. Miners are constantly working to confirm individual transactions and include them in the next block of transactions in the chain. Once a new block is verified, all the transactions within it are permanently recorded on the blockchain. Rewards are paid out in bitcoin to miners who confirm transactions and verify the next block as a way to incentivize productivity on the network.
Each party who participates in the mining process has an identical up-to-date copy of the blockchain or public ledger, which is a record of all the transactions in bitcoin history. Each party’s copy of the ledger is updated every time a new block is found.
The unit of value that we send and receive on the Bitcoin network is also referred to as bitcoin or bitcoins. Bitcoin is completely digital, meaning we can’t physically hold it in our hands. It’s also portable, divisible, fungible, and irreversible.
Bitcoin’s existence began with an academic paper written in 2008 by a developer under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto.
The paper described the foundation for what was intended to be a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that was secure, affordable, and efficient far beyond conventional banking standards. The system Satoshi described was developed into open-source software and the first bitcoin transaction (also known as the Genesis Block) was confirmed on January 3, 2009.