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Bitcoin is somewhat of a mystery for many people. Learning about the increasingly popular cryptocurrency is a daunting task, with a vast amount of information to absorb and a fairly complex concept to unravel. But it's also riveting! We've pulled together ten of the most interesting aspects we've learned about Bitcoin over our years of understanding the network and currency.
An interesting and often confusing semantic is the difference between Bitcoin and bitcoin, as they aren't interchangable. Bitcoin with a capital 'B' is used when referring to the network, while the currency is spelt with a small 'b'.
As of May 2015, there are approximately 14,160,450 bitcoins in circulation, but the final figure is finite. Based on the fact that bitcoins are created at a fixed rate of roughly every 10 minutes per block, we can accurately predict, almost to the exact hour, the date the 21 millionth, and last, bitcoin will enter circulation.
Bitcoin is run through a peer-to-peer network, meaning that there is no central control, but rather the control is decentralised throughout the user base. This secures information within a public ledger, known as Blockchain. This ledger contains every transaction ever processed, allowing a user's computer to verify the validity of each transaction.
Unlike traditional currency, bitcoins exist as a result of a production process called mining. People use computers to solve complex mathematical algorithms in order to introduce new bitcoins into the economy.
Furthering the decentralisation of traditional banks and allows the user to store their bitcoins safely online, furthermore with the omission of mandatory transaction fees.
The true names of buyers and sellers are never revealed. Though each transaction is recorded in a public ledger (blockchain) only their wallet ID's will be represented, allowing transactions to remain private, yet transparent.
One bitcoin can be broken down to 1,000,000 bits. 0,00000001 of a bitcoin is known as a satoshi, named after the alleged 'founder' of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. The smallest denomination viable for a transaction is 5,430 satoshis.
Bitcoin is secured by military-grade cryptography. The only considerable source ever imposing a threat would be quantum computing, which does not yet exist. Google operates one of the largest computing networks in the world. Even If you combined all of Google's computing power and multiplied it by 1,000, it still wouldn't exceed the computing power of the Bitcoin network.
This number has been growing at an exponential rate and will continue to do so, as more bitcoins become readily available, and as more people turn to Bitcoin as a viable payment method.
This statement may leave you a bit boggled, but it's true. There is no evidence to the physical existence of bitcoins. Only through the records on Blockchain we can perceive the concept of a bitcoin.
Which elements of bitcoin or Bitcoin intrigue (or baffle) you most? Are there any other interesting facts you'd like to add to the list? Pop them in the comments below.