Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries. Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
Bitcoin is unique in that there are a finite number of them: 21 million.
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 vendors accepted bitcoin as payment.
Bitcoin is often called the first cryptocurrency, although prior systems existed. Bitcoin is more correctly described as the first decentralized digital currency.
One of the first supporters, adopters, and contributors to bitcoin was programmer Hal Finney. Finney downloaded the bitcoin software the day it was released, and received 10 bitcoins from Nakamoto in the world’s first bitcoin transaction on 12 January 2009.
In the early days of bitcoin, it was possible to mine with your personal computer CPU or high speed video processor card. Today that’s no longer possible because the difficulty has risen to the point where it’s not economically viable.
Custom ASIC chips offer performance up to 100x the capability of older systems have come to dominate the Bitcoin mining industry.
Is Bitcoin an OTC? No, Bitcoin is not an OTC.