What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital asset and a payment system invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public dispersed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin is unique in that there are a finite number of them: 21 million.

Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment.

Bitcoin is decentralized: it is not subject to government or financial institution control.

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum is a decentralized platform that runs smart contracts: applications that run exactly as programmed without any possibility of fraud or third party interference.

Ethereum is powered by Ether, a cryptocurrency whose value is determined by demand. Like Bitcoin, Ethereum is limited to a total supply of 21 million.

What is a Cryptocurrency?

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography to secure its transactions and to control the creation of new units. Cryptocurrencies are decentralized, meaning they are not subject to government or financial institution control.

What is Bitcoin Mining?

Bitcoin mining is the process by which new Bitcoin are created. Miners are rewarded with Bitcoin for verifying and committing transactions to the blockchain. Ethereum mining is similar, but uses the Ether currency.

What is a Bitcoin Exchange?

A Bitcoin exchange is a platform on which users can buy and sell Bitcoin. Exchanges can be private or public. Public exchanges are regulated by governments, while private exchanges are not.

What is a Bitcoin Wallet?

A Bitcoin wallet is a software program that stores Bitcoin and allows users to send and receive Bitcoin. Wallets can be installed on a computer or mobile device.

What is Blockchain?

The blockchain is a public ledger of all Bitcoin transactions. It is constantly growing as "completed" blocks are added to it with a new set of recordings. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. Bitcoin nodes use the block chain to differentiate legitimate Bitcoin transactions from attempts to re-spend coins that have already been spent elsewhere.

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