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.
NOTE: WARNING: Be aware of the risks associated with investing in Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is highly volatile and its value can quickly fluctuate, leading to sudden losses. Before investing, research the project and its principles to ensure you understand the concept and its potential. Familiarize yourself with the security measures needed to protect your investments, such as secure wallets and two-factor authentication. The motto of Bitcoin – “Be Your Own Bank” – should not be taken literally. Not all users are able to secure their investments properly and cryptocurrencies can still be stolen or lost. Investing in cryptocurrency is a risky endeavor and should only be done with money you are willing to lose.
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.