Bitcoin is the original cryptocurrency released in 2009 as open-source software. It is a digital currency predicated on cryptographically secure
transactions, a proof-of-work consensus model, and a decentralized, P2P distributed ledger network. Bitcoin’s distributed ledger is the frst
blockchain — a shared and distributed timestamped ledger of data blocks connected through a chain of cryptographic hashes — and
solved the double spend problem that had plagued previous iterations of digital currencies.
Bitcoin is a decentralized medium of exchange, high-value settlement layer, and store of value that exists outside of the traditional fnancial
system. The network is entirely P2P, and there are no intermediaries or centralized control. Proponents of Bitcoin view it as the frst truly “free”
money from centralized control and the proliferation of its network’s hash power, and general network eﬀects have solidifed its position as a
sovereign-proof medium of value exchange.
Since its inception, Bitcoin has fueled the growth of an entire industry of cryptocurrencies. Many of these currencies are forks of the Bitcoin
protocol while others have developed into full Turing-complete smart contracts platforms. Bitcoin’s narrative has evolved throughout its
lifetime and has been subject to polarizing debates and contentious network protocol decisions.
Despite the wild west like atmosphere within the broader cryptocurrency industry and often polarizing nature of the
communities, Bitcoin has emphatically remained resilient. With a decade of experience under its belt, the legacy cryptocurrency has shown a penchant for conservative change that has led to remarkable stability, decentralization, and transparency in spite of the criticisms it
has faced over the course of its existence.
Bitcoin has emerged as an exceptional technological feat, and its future implications along with the growing industry it sparked are profound.
Read on as we attempt to answer the question “What is Bitcoin?” and provide the most complete guide for beginners.