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Updated: 12 Jan, 2:38 pm UTC
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Bitcoin (BTC) is a digital currency created in 2009 by an unknown individual using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.

The Bitcoin network came into existence on 3 January 2009 with the release of the first open source Bitcoin client and the issuance of the first Bitcoins, with Satoshi Nakamoto mining the first block of Bitcoin, known as the genesis block. Since then, Bitcoin has grown in popularity and is increasingly accepted by merchants, with an estimated total of over 10 million unique users actively using Bitcoin. Bitcoin is also being used as an investment opportunity by many, with several financial institutions and venture capitalists now investing in the currency.