Understanding the Basics of Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the world’s first successful decentralized crypto and payment system, launched in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, a mysterious creator who only goes by Satoshi. The term “cryptocurrency” refers to digital assets via which users secure and verify transactions through cryptography – a scientific practice of encoding and decoding data. Blockchain stores transaction details frequently on computers distributed worldwide using blockchain, a distributed ledger technology. Start your Bitcoin journey at


Bitcoin can be shared into smaller portions called “satoshis” (up to 8 decimal places) and used for payments, but it is also a store of value, similar to gold. Bitcoin prices dramatically rose from a cent to tens of thousands of dollars since its inception. 

When discussing cryptocurrency, the term “decentralized” refers to something that is widely distributed and does not have a single, centralized location or controlling authority. Centralized entities, like banks and governments, do not manage the infrastructure that governs its creation, supply, and security.

Instead, Bitcoin is designed for users to exchange value directly through a peer-to-peer network. All users are connected directly without using a central server or an intermediary company. And this enables data sharing, storage, and real-time Bitcoin payments to be sent and received between parties. 

An Alternative to Traditional Money

Nakamoto created Bitcoin as an alternative to traditional money, eventually making it a globally accepted legal tender that people could use to buy goods and services.

However, its price volatility has hampered Bitcoin’s utility as a payment method. People use volatility to explain how much the price of an asset changes over time. Bitcoin’s price can fluctuate dramatically daily – and even minute to minute – making it a less than suitable payment option.

Bitcoin functions in many ways in opposition to traditional money:

  • It is not governed or provided by a central bank.
  • It has a fixed supply, and users can’t create new Bitcoins at will.
  • Its price is unpredictable.

Understanding these distinctions is critical to comprehending Bitcoin.

How Bitcoin Works

Bitcoin operates on a peer-to-peer network, which means that users — typically individuals or entities looking to exchange Bitcoin with others on the web — do not need the assistance of intermediaries to execute and confirm transactions. Investors can connect their computers directly to this network and download its public ledger containing all historical Bitcoin transactions.

This public ledger employs “blockchain” technology, also known as “distributed ledger technology.” Blockchain technology enables cryptocurrency transactions to be verified, stored, and ordered permanently and transparently. Immutability and accountability are critical credentials for a payment system based on zero trust. The network updates every user’s copy of the ledger to reflect the latest changes anytime new transactions are validated and added to the register.

 Understanding a Bitcoin Wallet

A crypto wallet is an application that runs on a computer or a dedicated device to secure, send, and receive Bitcoin. Contrary to popular belief, users don’t store Bitcoin in a wallet. Instead, the wallet safeguards the cryptographic keys — a highly specialized type of password — that demonstrate ownership of a specific amount of Bitcoin on the Bitcoin network.

When somebody completes a Bitcoin transaction, ownership of the coins moves from the sender to the recipient, and the network assigns the recipient’s keys as the new “password” for accessing the Bitcoin. To execute transactions, you must encrypt and sign your Bitcoin transactions using your private and public keys. You must also include the recipient’s public address. Only the recipient with the correct private key can unlock or claim the transferred Bitcoin.

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