Definition, Prehistory, Creation
is a cryptocurrency, a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses cryptography to control its creation and management, rather than relying on central authorities.It was invented and implemented by the presumed pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, who integrated many existing ideas from the cypherpunk community. Over the course of bitcoin’s history, it has undergone rapid growth to become a significant currency both on- and offline. From the mid 2010s, some businesses began accepting bitcoin in addition to traditional currencies.
Prior to the release of bitcoin, there were a number of digital cash technologies starting with the issuer based ecash protocols of David Chaum and Stefan Brands. The idea that solutions to computational puzzles could have some value was first proposed by cryptographers Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor in 1992. The idea was independently rediscovered by Adam Back who developed hashcash, a proof-of-work scheme for spam control in 1997. The first proposals for distributed digital scarcity based cryptocurrencies were Wei Dai’s b-money and Nick Szabo’s bit-gold Hal Finney developed reusable proof of work (RPOW) using hashcash as its proof of work algorithm.
In the bit gold proposal which proposed a collectible market-based mechanism for inflation control, Nick Szabo also investigated some additional aspects including a Byzantine fault-tolerant agreement protocol based on quorum addresses to store and transfer the chained proof-of-work solutions, which was vulnerable to Sybil attacks, though
On 18 August 2008, the domain name bitcoin.org was registered. Later that year, on 31 October, a link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was posted to a cryptography mailing list. This paper detailed methods of using a peer-to-peer network to generate what was described as “a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust”.On 3 January 2009, the bitcoin network came into existence with Satoshi Nakamoto mining the genesis block of bitcoin (block number 0), which had a reward of 50 bitcoins Embedded in the coinbase of this block was the text:
The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks
The text refers to a headline in The Times published on 3 January 2009. This note has been interpreted as both a timestamp of the genesis date and a derisive comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.
The first open source bitcoin client was released on 9 January 2009, hosted at Source Forge.
One of the first supporters, adopters, contributors to bitcoin, and receiver of the first bitcoin transaction 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. Other early supporters were Wei Dai, creator of bitcoin predecessor b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of bitcoin predecessor bit gold.
In the early days, Nakamoto is estimated to have mined 1 million bitcoins. Before disappearing from any involvement in bitcoin, Nakamoto in a sense handed over the reins to developer Gavin Andresen, who then became the bitcoin lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation, the ‘anarchic’ bitcoin community’s closest thing to an official public face.
The value of the first bitcoin transactions was negotiated by individuals on the bitcoin forum with one notable transaction of 10,000 BTC used to indirectly purchase two pizzas delivered by Papa John’s.
On 6 August 2010, a major vulnerability in the bitcoin protocol was spotted. Transactions weren’t properly verified before they were included in the transaction log or blockchain, which let users bypass bitcoin’s economic restrictions and create an indefinite number of bitcoins. On 15 August, the vulnerability was exploited; over 184 billion bitcoins were generated in a transaction and sent to two addresses on the network. Within hours, the transaction was spotted and erased from the transaction log after the bug was fixed and the network forked to an updated version of the bitcoin protocol. This was the only major security flaw found and exploited in bitcoin’s history.
How does bitcoin work
As a new user, you can get started with Bitcoin without understanding the technical details. Once you’ve installed a Bitcoin wallet on your computer or mobile phone, it will generate your first Bitcoin address and you can create more whenever you need one. You can disclose your addresses to your friends so that they can pay you or vice versa. In fact, this is pretty similar to how email works, except that Bitcoin addresses, should be used only once
balances – Blockchain
The blockchain is a shared public ledger on which the entire Bitcoin network relies. All confirmed transactions are included in the blockchain. It allows Bitcoin wallets to calculate their spendable balance so that new transactions can be verified thereby ensuring they’re actually owned by the spender. The integrity and the chronological order of the blockchain are enforced with cryptography.
Transactions – Private keys
A transaction is a transfer of value between Bitcoin wallets that gets included in the blockchain. Bitcoin wallets keep a secret piece of data called a private key or seed, which is used to sign transactions, providing mathematical proof that they have come from the owner of the wallet. The signature also prevents the transaction from being altered by anybody once it has been issued. All transactions are broadcast to the network and usually begin to be confirmed within 10-20 minutes, through a process called mining.
Processing – Mining
Mining is a distributed consensus system that is used to confirm pending transactions by including them in the blockchain. It enforces a chronological order in the blockchain, protects the neutrality of the network, and allows different computers to agree on the state of the system. To be confirmed, transactions must be packed in a block that fits very strict cryptographic rules that will be verified by the network. These rules prevent previous blocks from being modified because doing so would invalidate all the subsequent blocks. Mining also creates the equivalent of a competitive lottery that prevents any individual from easily adding new blocks consecutively to the blockchain. In this way, no group or individuals can control what is included in the blockchain or replace parts of the blockchain to roll back their own spends.
Find out more about what is bitcoin by clicking on the link below:
|A History of Bitcoin. Monetary Economics: International Financial Flows, Financial Crises, Regulation & Supervision eJournal. Social Science Research Network (SSRN). Accessed 8 January 2018. |
Pagliery, Jose (2014). Bitcoin: And the Future of Money. Triumph Books. ISBN 9781629370361. Archived from the original on 21 January 2018. Retrieved 20 January 2018.