It is a protocol, and a network. Bitcoin is based on an open source protocol created by “Satoshi Nakamoto”. There are a lot of definitions surrounding it such as peer-to-peer, cryptocurrency, public key, decentralized, digital currency. The Bitcoin protocol was developed by Satoshi Nakamoto. This was created as an open-source protocol, meaning, anyone can submit work for review to be included in the protocol and no single person “owns” the protocol.
As a protocol, any number of future possible applications can be built on top of it. It also means, that anyone can review the code of the protocol, change it themselves, and create their own work using this protocol as a basis – creating a new, entirely seperate, system. The active running protocol for the anything using the Bitcoin Protocol – is the version that is most widely used by all running mining nodes in the network. Bitcoin Protocol that is most widely used is maintained by the Bitcoin Core team.
The Bitcoin network itself is based upon the original Protocol. It is this network, which makes up the basis of Bitcoin. You can read the whitepaper of the network here: bitcoin. The first block – called the Genesis Block – was mined on January 3, 2009.
2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” – so it could be proven that the block was not pre-mined and occurred on or after this headline. Bitcoin protocol which went live in January of 2009. The real information behind who it was is a mystery, but there have been quite a few speculations. On March 6, 2014 – Newsweek broke a story claiming to have found Satoshi Nakamoto. You can find the article here: link. However, the community seems to have disproved that this data is correct. What makes Bitcoin different from other cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrencies have existed since the internet started. The proof-of-work that solves the “double-spend” problem to allow decentralization. It is this key reason, that Bitcoin is the first of its kind. Other cryptocurrencies have appeared after the invention of Bitcoin. Litecoin which uses a 2 minute block time instead of 10, and uses Scrypt instead of SHA-256 for hashing. Every coin other than bitcoin, is called an Alt-Coin.
What is the proof of work? In Bitcoin, the proof of work is what is used to validate the next block and all blocks before it. A block simply contains all the transactions that have occured on the network which the miner adds that were unconfirmed, which then become confirmed. The Bitcoin network, uses a block time of 10 minutes. This calculation is re-checked every 2016 blocks. Blocks also contain a record to both the previous and next blocks, forming a chain referred to as the blockchain.
The blockchain is the public ledger of all transactions in the Bitcoin network, going all the way back to the genesis block. This should NOT be confused with the website www. The longest chain, is always the chain that is determined to be the “valid” chain. There can be branches of chains that exist for a time, but ultimately, whatever chain becomes longest, is assumed to be the correct one. Bitcoin is backed solely by the network that supports it, by the people who use it, and by the companies that use it. Yet, there is no central authority, no government, no pretty shining metal – it gets its value and usefulness by the system itself being useful and unbreakable. See: Why do we value gold?
There are 4 ways to get Bitcoin. Buy it by converting an existing FIAT currency for it. Be a Merchant that accepts it for goods or services. Regardless of the method of obtaining it, Bitcoin is sent to a public address that you own the private key for. You buy bitcoin via an exchange, or from another person.
If you live in the US, the best option is Gemini. However there are many others you can purchase from, like Snapcard, etc. The other alternative is from an exchange like Bitstamp. Many exchanges will tie to your bank account and transfer funds using ACH transfers, which you then use to purchase coins at the current exchange rate. Another method, is to buy it from another person.
What Exchanges are good to use? Up until 2014 – the most used Exchange was Mt. Gox which was based in Japan – it however, was proved to not be solvent and closed in January 2014. Gemini – run by the Winkelvoss twins. How do I get Bitcoin as a gift?