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Blockchain can be robust, secure, and trusted – as long as the technology is executed properly.
Blockchain technology is transforming the way we do business by allowing consumers to cut out the middleman in numerous vital services, reducing costs and boosting efficiency. In this way it has the potential to reduce poverty throughout the developing world.
Blockchain is perhaps best understood as a decentralized ledger that can diminish costs by removing intermediaries such as banks and effectively decentralizing trust. The technology appends entries to the ledger which are validated by the wider user-community rather than by a central authority.
Although it may be difficult to achieve simultaneous security and privacy in a conventional information system, blockchain can do so by enabling confidentiality through “public key infrastructure” that protects against malicious attempts to alter data, and by maintaining the size of a ledger. The larger and more distributed the network, the more secure it is believed to be.
Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet. Bitcoin can also be seen as the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping system in existence.
- A Bitcoin wallet is a not a physical item but a software program for holding and trading Bitcoins.
- Wallets contain a private key for security. The key corresponds to the address of the wallet.
- The four types of Bitcoin wallet are desktop, mobile, web, and hardware.
Bitcoin is the first implementation of a concept called “cryptocurrency”, which was first described in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list, suggesting the idea of a new form of money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions, rather than a central authority. The first Bitcoin specification and proof of concept was published in 2009 in a cryptography mailing list by Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi left the project in late 2010 without revealing much about himself. The community has since grown exponentially with many developers working on Bitcoin.
Nobody owns the Bitcoin network much like no one owns the technology behind email. Bitcoin is controlled by all Bitcoin users around the world. While developers are improving the software, they can’t force a change in the Bitcoin protocol because all users are free to choose what software and version they use. In order to stay compatible with each other, all users need to use software complying with the same rules. Bitcoin can only work correctly with a complete consensus among all users. Therefore, all users and developers have a strong incentive to protect this consensus.
Yes. There are a growing number of businesses and individuals using Bitcoin. This includes brick-and-mortar businesses like restaurants, apartments, and law firms, as well as popular online services such as Namecheap and Overstock.com. While Bitcoin remains a relatively new phenomenon, it is growing fast. As of May 2018, the total value of all existing bitcoins exceeded 100 billion US dollars, with millions of dollars worth of bitcoins exchanged daily.