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What is Bitcoin?

What is cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrencies were created to be secure, non-regulated, alternative currencies. These digital currencies work using a decentralized technology called blockchain which records transaction over many computers for enhanced security and user anonymity. These cryptocurrencies are made up of coins (or tokens) that are created or destroyed through a process known as mining. Once created, people and organizations can use these tokens to trade funds for goods and services. Cryptocurrencies are pervading the headlines more and more each day as they grow in popularity and usefulness.

How do cryptocurrency transactions work?

Cryptocurrency transactions are kept on a shared public ledger known as the block chain. Miners assist in the processing of transactions (known as blocks) on the block chain and are rewarded with a certain number of the newly issued (or mined) tokens. Anyone can access the block chain, which helps ensure that tokens are being mined and transactions are being processed correctly. Cryptocurrency transactions take place on virtual markets known as exchanges and are stored by users in unique wallets, which contain private keys that allow users to prove ownership of their tokens and protect themselves against duel transactions.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the first decentralized cryptocurrency. In November of 2008, a design paper was published online entitled Bitcoin: A Peer-To-Peer Electronic Cash System, under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, outlining the new alternative currency model. To date, no one is certain of Nakamotos identity, but theories abound, from Nakamoto being an individual cryptographer or game developer to the possibility of Nakamoto as a computer collective. The first Bitcoin block, known as the Genesis Block was mined in 2009.

What is an alt-coin?

Altcoins are alternatives to bitcoin. Early alt-coins include Namecoin, Litecoin, and Peercoin. There are now about 3000 alt-coins available on the market, with new alt-coins being continuously offered and current alt-coins leaving the market or crashing in value. It is important to note that while alt-coins share the same general characteristics with Bitcoin that make them a cryptocurrency, each individual alt-coin has unique characteristics and features. Different alt-coins have different proof-of-work algorithms, economic models, distribution methods, programming languages, levels of anonymity, and more. Some alt-coins even have non-monetary uses such as domain name registration and data storage pointers. Because of these differing features, alt-coins have exchange rates that vary from Bitcoins exchange rate and may indeed be more volatile.