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Bitcoin emerged in 2008 and was initially developed as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Bitcoin can be understood as a value store, meaning that a Bitcoin (or part of a Bitcoin) represents some amount of value. Another way to think of Bitcoin is as a virtual “currency” and payment system. Bitcoin is transferred from one person to another in a transaction, and the value is determined by what someone is willing to pay for it.
Bitcoin is a form of cryptocurrency — or encrypted currency — that enables anonymous, independent, and non-regulated transactions. Cryptography allows for the secure ownership of the currency, which means that Bitcoin’s users can control the creation and transfer of money. Such a degree of privacy in transactions has helped Bitcoin gain a foothold as an alternative currency.