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What you need to know about bitcoin?
13 Things You Need to Know About Bitcoin
The birth of Bitcoin
The origins of bitcoin trace back to 2008, when its creator, who went by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, published a proof of concept for Bitcoin. The proof was then published to a cryptocurrency mailing list in 2009. Nakamoto left the project in 2010 and disappeared, but other developers picked up the work. Bitcoin's birthday is Jan. 3, when Nakamoto mined the first 50 units of the currency.
An elusive creator
The true identity of Bitcoin's creator has never been confirmed. Newsweek claimed to have found Bitcoin's creator in 2014, identifying Temple City, Calif., resident Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. He has vigorously denied it. In 2015, an Australian entrepreneur named Craig Wright said he was Bitcoin's creator, but he couldn't produce the evidence to support his claim. Whoever Nakamoto is, that person is very rich, as the creator is estimated to have mined a million bitcoins in the currency’s early days.
Very expensive pizza
The first transaction involving bitcoin was reported on May 22, 2010, when a programmer identified as Laszlo Hanyecz said he "successfully traded 10,000 bitcoins for pizza." As of Nov. 28, 2017, 10,000 bitcoins are worth about $99 million.
You can spend bitcoins
While it may not seem like it, people continue to use bitcoins to buy stuff. The largest businesses to accept the cryptocurrency include Overstock.com, Expedia, Newegg and Dish.
Federal Bureau of Bitcoin
At one point, the U.S. government was one of the largest holders of bitcoin. In 2013, after the FBI shut down Silk Road, a darknet site where people could buy drugs and other illicit goods and services, it took over bitcoin wallets controlled by the site, one of which held 144,000 bitcoins. Investors have been making a killing by bidding on government-seized bitcoins.
A mountain-sized setback
In early 2014, Bitcoin suffered a devastating loss after the alleged hacking of Mt. Gox, a Japanese exchange. About $460 million of the currency (in 2014 value) was stolen. It was the largest loss of bitcoins ever and raised concerns about how secure the currency was.
The billionaires' takes
Warren Buffett, perhaps the most famous investor in the world, was not so keen on Bitcoin one of the only times he addressed the currency. "Stay away from it. It's a mirage, basically," he told CNBC. "The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is a joke in my view." Fellow billionaire investor Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, had even stronger words about Bitcoin: “You can’t have a business where people are going to invent a currency out of thin air. It won’t end well … someone is going to get killed and then the government is going to come down on it.” But not all billionaires are against Bitcoin. Mark Cuban has said its value is inflated, but he recently invested in a venture capital fund that backs cryptocurrency. Richard Branson, however, has spoken more optimistically about it.
Super wealthy twins and a smart teen
Other notable investors in Bitcoin include Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (the Harvard-educated twins who sued Mark Zuckerberg claiming that Facebook was based on an idea they'd had). They bought $11 million worth of Bitcoin in 2013, an amount said to be about 1 percent of all bitcoins in circulation at that time. When Bitcoin's value reached more than $11,000 in early December, the twins were declared the first Bitcoin billionaires. The Winklevoss twins have been petitioning the SEC to create a bitcoin exchange traded fund. The agency rejected the idea earlier this year. Another is investor and entrepreneur Erik Finman, who invested $1,000 into Bitcoin when he was 14 years old and is now a millionaire.
Celebrities want in
Celebrities have also expressed enthusiasm for the cryptocurrency. Actor and Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow advises Abra, a Bitcoin wallet, and Ashton Kutcher, Nas and Floyd Mayweather have all invested in Bitcoin startups.
Support from a big financial institution
In August 2017, Fidelity Investments became a rare standout among financial institutions in embracing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The company allows its clients to use the Fidelity website to view their bitcoin holdings held through digital wallet provider Coinbase. "This is an experiment in the spirit of learning what these crypto assets are like and how our customers may want to interact with them," Hadley Stern, senior vice president and managing director at Fidelity Labs, told Reuters.
A hard fork
On Aug. 1, 2017, Bitcoin experienced what's being called a "hard fork" as a result of a few issues, including the limited number of transactions that can be processed per second. Essentially, the cryptocurrency split into two, with Bitcoin Cash debuting. Here's how Rob Marvin of PCMag explains the situation: "The Bitcoin fork speaks to a fundamental ideological rift over what's more important: preserving the decentralized nature and independent control of the Bitcoin network, or accelerating transaction speeds to make the cryptocurrency more viable for mainstream ecommerce and payments." Bitcoin Cash allows larger blocks of currency and more transactions per second.
At the end of November 2017, Bitcoin's value reached toward $10,000 per unit. There are some 16.7 million Bitcoin units in circulation, and the cryptocurrency's market capitalization ($167,156,585,840 as of Nov. 28, 2017) is actually higher than that of Disney, McDonald's or IBM, and it is slightly above that of GE.
As of early December, there is another way to invest in Bitcoin without possessing some of the digital currency. On Dec. 10, 2017, Bitcoin futures -- "financial contracts obligating the buyer to purchase an asset or the seller to sell an asset," according to Investopedia -- became available on Cboe, a Chicago exchange. What this means for the future of Bitcoin is uncertain, but some argue it will help stabilize the cryptocurrency's wild price fluctuations.
1 . Privacy. There is no privacy in using Bitcoin in most scenarios. In the original Bitcoin white paper, Nakamoto points out that privacy can be achieved by keeping public keys anonymous: no one knows who's behind a particular address if you keep it to yourself. That doesn't seem to work in uses where Bitcoin's been said to be most useful. A. Remittance: transfer of Bitcoin, and thus value, is almost instantaneous, border-less, and virtually free. The caveat remains the fact that in most scenarios either party in the transfer has to go through an exchange, or otherwise an in-person exchange of cash for Bitcoin to get a foot in the Bitcoin network. Most exchanges require I.D. proof to deposit funds, and withdrawals require a bank account. These are easily two points of failure in the protection of anonymity. It necessitates ideal mixer services (another potential point of failure), or exchanges. They can't budge under requests by the authorities; security of their client details must be sound. B. Payment Method: It's cheaper than Visa, Master and Paypal; and merchants in many ways have much to gain from adopting Bitcoin. But if you want to buy stuff online or offline, the association between your identity and your Bitcoin address is exposed, no matter how you might have obtained the Bitcoins completely anonymously. Overstock or TigerDirect, in turn, will become the potential point of failure because they know where you had your stuff delivered. The bar that accepted your 0.02BTC for some beer would know that you, the bearded, bespectacled geek, is the owner of a particular Bitcoin address. You have to trust these guys. It contrasts with cash in the regard that every time you use a banknote it is a new Bitcoin address that doesn't come with a history of transaction, no blockchain attached. I assume that most people here already know the pseudonymous nature of Bitcoin. But I think the community has understated how real-life uses of Bitcoin poses a threat to privacy. This problem can only be exacerbated as people develop programs that collect and parse the information on the blockchain in greater scale. 2 . Bitcoin sucks for consumers. Payment processors that help eliminate virtually all risks that are associated with Bitcoin for merchants, and are a cheaper alternative to traditional payment methods. But consumers have to buy and hold Bitcoins to use it. When price of it goes up, the lesser believers of us would do the math and refuse to pay $5 for a coffee that will turn out to be $5.5 tomorrow because Bitcoin's price has risen 10%. This problem will be a barrier that will only dissolve when the volatility of Bitcoin dies, or when goods are priced in Bitcoin -- the latter of which, by the way, kicks the can back to the merchants. 3 . The Bitcoin community is extremely hostile to outsiders. Good articles are those in favor of Bitcoin, and good journalists are those that write positive articles about Bitcoin. The upvotes in bitcoin is increasingly a case of the tyranny of the majority, where negativity, even when reasoned, gets buried quickly. We love the Washington Post because it has churned out out after another bullish articles about Bitcoin; we love Bloomberg News because Tom Keene grilled the Newsweek reporter. We are certain that Leah is wrong when our evidence is similarly circumstantial -- "look how different the writing styles are!". And we're quick to mock and deride her. There is little dissent that gets discussed in a civilized way in this place. We underplayed the significance of Mt.Gox's collapse and abandoned those that weren't smart enough to pull out in time. We have little sympathy for whatever that isn't a building block of the great world of Bitcoin. That I think is not an inviting environment, or healthy to say the least, for people to build the future of Bitcoin. And I think we can change that by being more honest to our biases and the technology's shortcomings.
Newsweek Stands By Bitcoin Story After Alleged Founder Denies Involvement. By Jack Mirkinson. LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto said Thursday that he is not the creator of bitcoin, adding further mystery to the story of how the world's most popular digital currency came to be. The denial came after Newsweek published a 4,500-word cover story claiming Nakamoto is the person ... The process of mining bitcoin uses up a significant amount of electricity, so much so that a Newsweek article warns that “Bitcoin Mining on Track to Consume All of the World’s Energy by 2020.” Already, the article reads, the electricity required to manage bitcoin mining is thought to exceed the energy consumption of 159 different countries. Newsweek subscription offers > Overstock.com, the online retailer, has been one high-profile crossover. But it's not alone. Philadelphia Brewing Company, the first brewery in the country to accept ... The year 2014 in Bitcoin is defined by a few big events: MtGox filed for bankruptcy; Hal Finney passed away after a five-year battle with ALS; and Newsweek doxxed Dorian Nakamoto. LOS ANGELES (AP) — The man Newsweek claims is the founder of Bitcoin denied he had anything to do with the digital currency. In an exclusive two-hour interview with The Associated Press, Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, 64, said he had never heard of Bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a Newsweek reporter three weeks ago.
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