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Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency based on an open-source peer-to-peer internet protocol. Bitcoin is by most accounts the most widely accepted alternative currency having a current market cap in excess of $708 billion (USD) and is accepted by merchants, including service providers, throughout the world. Bitcoin is managed unlike most typical currencies and such that the need for a central bank is eliminated. Instead, as referenced above, Bitcoin is managed via an internet-based peer-to-peer network. Bitcoin’s monetary base is regulated by the network itself. Unlike fiat currencies, Bitcoin’s monetary base is governed by immutable algorithm, and is capped at 21 million bitcoin, making it a deflationary token.
Amounts of Bitcoin and their location on the Bitcoin network (their address) are registered in a digital public ledger accessible via the networked device. The private key associated with any Bitcoin address is required for the transfer of Bitcoin from that address to another Bitcoin address. Any transfer of Bitcoin from one address to another is only valid once confirmed by 51% of the participants in the transaction confirmation process that validates and represents the authority for the Bitcoin network’s decentralized public ledger. Participants in the transaction confirmation process are rewarded for their work in updating the decentralized public ledger of cryptocurrency ownership to account for new Bitcoin transfers. In the case of Bitcoin, they are rewarded with Bitcoin, which is how Bitcoin (the unit of value) is produced.
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