(₿) is a decentralized digital currency that can be transferred on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network.
transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
The cryptocurrency was invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
The currency began use in 2009 when its implementation was released as open-source software.: ch.
1 Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining.
They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.
has been criticized for its use in illegal transactions, the large amount of electricity (and thus carbon footprint) used by mining, price volatility, and thefts from exchanges.
Some investors and economists have characterized it as a speculative bubble at various times.
Others have used it as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin. [+]