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Bitcoin (pronounced "bitcoin") is a decentralised digital currency that operates without the involvement of a central bank or a single administrator, and that may be transferred from one user to another over the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the involvement of a third party. Through the use of cryptography, network nodes confirm the validity of transactions, which are then recorded in a public distributed ledger known as a blockchain. The cryptocurrency, often known as bitcoin, was created in 2008 by an anonymous individual or group of individuals who went by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency first went into circulation in 2009, after the publication of its implementation as open-source software.

BTC (bitcoin) is produced as a reward for participating in a process known as mining. However, the real-world value of the coins is very variable and may be traded for a variety of other currencies, items, and services. According to research conducted by the University of Cambridge, there were between 2.9 and 5.8 million unique users who used a cryptocurrency wallet in 2017, with the majority of those users utilising bitcoin.

For its usage in unlawful activities, the vast amount of power (and, therefore, carbon footprint) required by mining, price volatility, and thefts from cryptocurrency exchanges, Bitcoin has been widely condemned. At different points in time, economists and observers have referred to it as a speculative bubble. Bitcoin has also been utilised as an investment vehicle, despite the fact that various regulatory bodies have issued investor advisories on bitcoin use. El Salvador will become the first and only country in the world to formally recognise Bitcoin as legal cash in September 2021, making it the first and only country in the world to do so.

The term bitcoin was first used in a white paper released on October 31, 2008, which defined the term. It is made out of the terms bit and coin combined together. There is no universally accepted rule for bitcoin capitalization; some publications refer to bitcoin as a capital letter to refer to the technology and network, while others refer to bitcoin as a lowercase letter to refer to the unit of account. The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as the Oxford English Dictionary all recommend that bitcoin be written in lowercase letters in all circumstances, including capital letters.