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To cut through some of this confusion surrounding bitcoin, we need to divide it into two components. On the one hand, you’ve got bitcoin-the-token, a snippet of code that represents ownership of an electronic concept kind of like a virtual IOU. On the other hand, you’ve got bitcoin-the-protocol, a dispersed network that maintains a ledger of balances of bitcoin-the-token.
The system enables payments to be sent between users without passing through a central authority, such as a bank or payment gateway. It is made and held electronically. Bitcoins arent printed, like dollars or euros theyre made by computers all around the world, using free software.
It was the first example of what we call cryptocurrencies, a growing strength class that shares several characteristics of traditional currencies, with verification based on cryptography.
A pseudonymous software programmer going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto suggested bitcoin in 2008, within an electronic payment system based on mathematical evidence. The idea was to produce a means of exchange, independent of any central authority, which could be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable and immutable manner.
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With bitcoin, on the other hand, the supply is closely controlled by the underlying algorithm. Even a small number of new bitcoins trickle every hour, and will continue to do so at a diminishing rate until a max of 21 million has been attained. This makes bitcoin more attractive as an asset in concept, if demand grows and the supply remains the same, the value will increase. .
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