Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency invented in 2008 by an unknown person or a group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency began to be used in 2009 when its implementation was released as open source software.
Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency with no central bank or single administrator that can be sent to the user through the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries. Transactions are verified by network nodes via cryptography and recorded in a distributed public ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoins are built as a reward for a process called mining. They can be exchanged for other products, products and services. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimated that in 2017, 2.9-5.8 million unique users used a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
Bitcoin has been criticized for its use in illegal transactions, the large amount of electricity used by miners, price volatility, and theft in exchanges. Some economists, including several Nobel Prize winners, have repeatedly called a bubble. Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued alerts to Bitcoin investors.