What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin (BTC) is the most famous virtual cryptocurrency, which allows financial transactions without the participation of a third party. It can be purchased on several exchanges.
Competitive cryptocurrencies aim to either replace bitcoin as a payment system or are used as utilities or security tokens in other blockchains and new financial technologies.
Bitcoin is not too difficult to understand. By having a cryptocurrency wallet, you can use some of your bitcoins to pay for goods and services.
Bitcoin's inception date is October 2008. On that day, someone named Satoshi Nakamoto announced a crypto mailing list at metzdowd.com: "I have been working on a new electronic money system that is completely peer-to-peer, without a trusted third party.
One bitcoin is divided into eight decimal places (100 millionths of one bitcoin), and this smallest unit is called a satoshi. Bitcoin can be divided into even more decimal places, if necessary.
The first bitcoin block, block 0, also known as the "genesis block," contains the text: "The Times 03/ Jan / 2009 Chancellor on the verge of a second bank bailout." The reward in bitcoins is halved for every 210,000 blocks.
Bitcoin blockchain technology
Blockchain is a distributed ledger, a shared database protected by encryption methods. The transaction data stored in a block is encrypted into a 256-bit hexadecimal number. This number contains all of the transaction data and information associated with the blocks preceding that block.
When a transaction occurs on the blockchain, the information from the previous block is copied into the new block with the new data, encrypted, and the transaction is validated by validators, called miners, on the network. Once the transaction is validated, a new block is opened and the bitcoin created is given as a reward to the miner who validated the data in the block.
All miners on the Bitcoin blockchain network try to verify the same transaction at the same time, working on a nonce solution, a four-byte number included in the block header. The block header is hashed or randomly re-generated by the miner until it reaches the target number specified by the blockchain, after which a new block is created for more transactions.
How to mine bitcoin
As bitcoin became more popular, more and more miners started joining the network, reducing the chances of being the first to crack the hash. One has to compete with an entire network of miners that generate about 220 quintillion hashes (220 exa hashes) per second. There are also machines capable of generating about 255 trillion hashes per second - specialized integrated circuits (ASICs).
To become a successful bitcoin miner, you can join a mining program or pool. Mining pools are groups of miners who join together to compete with large ASIC mining farms. Two of the best known programs are CGMiner and BFGMiner.
For those who have the means, it is possible to buy a new ASIC miner for about $20,000, but you can also find a used version.
How do you buy Bitcoin?
Because Bitcoin is too expensive, it is possible to buy it on exchanges in fiat currency ( for example, U.S. dollars).
How is Bitcoin used?
Bitcoin was originally used as a peer-to-peer payment method, but because of its growing value, new uses are emerging.
Bitcoin is accepted as a means of payment for goods and services by many merchants, retailers and stores, but you need a cryptocurrency wallet to use it.
Stores that accept cryptocurrency usually have a "Bitcoin Accepted Here" warning. Speaking of online businesses, they can accept bitcoins by adding this payment method to their other online payments: credit cards, PayPal, etc.
Investing and speculating
When bitcoin began to gain popularity, many people began to believe that bitcoin prices would continue to rise and started buying them to hold on. Traders began using cryptocurrency exchanges to make short-term trades, and the market took off.
Due to the massive upheaval in 2022, the bitcoin price plummeted, raising concerns about the stability of digital currencies.
Risks of investing in bitcoin
The price of bitcoin continued to rise in November 2021, trading at a record high of $68,990, which attracted speculative investors. Its lack of guaranteed value and its digital nature mean that there are a number of inherent risks in buying and using it:
Regulatory Risk: The lack of uniform regulations for virtual currencies raises questions about their durability, liquidity and versatility.
Security risk: Like any virtual system, bitcoins are subject to risk from hackers, malware, and disruptions.
Insurance Risk: Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not insured through the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC) or the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).
Fraud Risk: Despite all the security measures in place, there is still risk for fraud.
Market risk: Bitcoin is very sensitive to any news events, so its value fluctuates greatly in value.
As cryptocurrencies evolve, so will their regulation. The U.S. now seeks not only to prevent the illegal use of bitcoin, but also to support its development.
How long does it take to mine one bitcoin?
It takes an average of 10 minutes for a mining network to validate a block and create a reward. The reward in bitcoins is 6.25 BTC per block. It turns out that it takes about 100 seconds to mine 1 BTC.
Is Bitcoin a good investment?
Before investing in cryptocurrency, you should consult with a financial professional about your financial profile, investment portfolio, risk tolerance and investment goals.
How does Bitcoin make money?
Bitcoins are awarded for successful blockchain verification and are exchanged for fiat currency through cryptocurrency exchanges.