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Bitcoin Guide

bitcoinWhat is virtual currency?

Virtual currency is specified as a sort of digital money, which sometimes can be ‘uncontrolled’. The money are issued and controlled by the developers. It is prevalently used for online payments. It also can be transferred, stored or traded and is not necessarily attached to a fiat currency. The sort of currency is not issued or controlled by any central bank or public authority (if speaking about crypto currency only).


What is meant by digital currency?

According to some data, Internet-based exchange is meant by digital money. Different physical goods and services can be bought for digital currency.

It is also known that virtual currencies can be both centralized and decentralized. Centralized currencies are under the ferule of a central bank or administration.

Decentralized currency can be obtained by any individual through computing or manufacturing effort avoiding central repository.


What is meant by crypto currency?

Crypto currency is a kind of digital currency. Cryptography is used by the currency in order to make the transactions secure and fulfill new currency units’ creation control. Cryptography is not used by all virtual currencies therefore not all of them are crypto currencies.


What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin as a term that implies transfer of monetary value that has been settled and includes different appropriate for that reason technologies, such as instruments, people, rules and others that make it possible. Bitcoin is one of crypto currencies, which was first introduced in October 2008 under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. It was released as open-source software in 2009. The ‘Bitcoin’ as a term is known to have been composed from two words ‘bit’ and ‘coin’.

The system used by Bitcoin is known to be peer-to-peer, which means that transactions are made directly from one participant to another one. The system has a specific operation. In order to understand it you need to study some information on the design parts of Bitcoin as a crypto currency first. In normal-people speak, network nodes verify the transactions that take place between two peers. The blockchain, which is also classified as a public distributed ledger, contains record of the transactions and uses Bitcoin as its unit of account. Being also a reward for mining process, Bitcoins can be exchanged for products, services, other currencies by any owner. While sending Bitcoins the miners can be paid an optional transaction fee by users.

It is known that Bitcoin is now accepted as a payment method by one hundred thousand merchants. The merchants often have to pay fees from zero percent to two percents.

Bitcoin users are known to have been warned by the European Banking Authority that they are unprotected while using Bitcoins for payments due to the fact that there are no chargebacks or refund guarantees. Moreover, financial regulators’ attention has been attracted by criminals who use Bitcoins for their illegal business. Darknet markets are aimed at criminal activities, though the US knows that Bitcoin can provide legitimate payment transfer services too.


Is Bitcoin a decentralized currency?

Bitcoin has been classified as a decentralized virtual currency by the US Treasury, as a central responsibility or administrator is avoided by the system operation. Bitcoin is also defined as the first decentralized digital currency, as defining it as the first crypto currency is incorrect, because some prior systems existed. It is also considered to be the largest on the market.


How many Bitcoins are there in the world?

The 2016’s statistics shows that about seventy two percent of bitcoins are already being circulated. It is also known that every ten minutes there are produced two new bitcoins (through mining). At the beginning of 2016 there have been more than fifteen million bitcoins circulated of a total number of approximately twenty one million of bitcoins.


Bitcoin system components:

“Bitoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” (a research paper) was published by Satoshi Nakomoto in October 2008, which is considered to be the date of bitcoin invention too. The first bitcoin transaction is known to have been committed by a programmer Hal Finey. He was the first who downloaded the bitcoin software and received ten bitcoins from Satoshi Nakomoto. Satoshi Nakomoto is known to have mined one million bitcoins for the first days of Bitcoin’s existence. There are many merchants who offer different products and services for bitcoins but we should speak about its operation first. It is common knowledge that Bitcoin design has been an inspiration for other applications.


How does Bitcoin work?

Blockchain (database)

Blocks (or continually growing list of records), which is controlled by a distributed database system, come into the process of blockchain or database process. A timestamp and a link to previous block are contained by each block of the chain or database.

Public ledger is considered to be a computer file (a principal book), which is used to record and total transactions of bitcoins. Thus, blockchain is a bitcoin-used technology that serves as a public ledger recording and totaling bitcoin transactions. Sending new transactions to the bitcoin network, transactions verifying and new block of competition participation creation (mining) can be made by any bitcoin user with the help of the blockchain.

Any trusted central authority is avoided while accomplishing Bitcoin solution. Bitcoin software is run by nodes or network of communication nodes that is the maintenance of the blockchain. Ready-made available software applications are used for transactions from one payer to another payer.

The transactions can be validated by the network nodes, added to their ledger copies and broadcasted as ledger copies to other nodes. Own copy of the blockchain is stored by a separate node. Approximately every ten minutes a new block is created (as we have already mentioned it earlier). After its creation it is added to the blockchain and published to all nodes quickly.

A particular bitcoin spending time can be determined by the bitcoin software due to the system known as blockchain. It is developed to prevent bitcoin double spending without central oversight. Bitcoins as the form of unspent outputs of transactions can be said to exist in only place named here as a blockchain.


Units

Any account, as you know, should have its unit. Unit is considered by and large as an individual thing that forms a component of a larger and more complex whole. Bitcoin unit is a part of account or Bitcoin system. There are different symbols to present bitcoins. Millibitcoin (mBTC), microbitcoin (μBTC), and satoshi are alternative units used to present small amounts of bitcoins. One hundred millionth of a bitcoin is a satoshi, which is considered to be the smallest amount within the crypto currency representing. One thousandth of a bitcoin is presented by millibitcoin. One millionth of a bitcoin is named as microbitcoin. μBTC is also usually referred to as a bit. The Unicode Consortium, which is known as a non-profit organization coordinating and developing Unicode standards, was submitted proposal a year ago to add a code point for the symbol of bitcoin. One hundred and twenty eight thousand characters that cover one hundred and thirty five up-to-date and historic scripts (as well as multiple symbol sets) are represented in the latest Unicode. One standard usually consists of different things including a set of code chards for visual references. Exactly this code point of bitcoin symbol was asked to be made.


Holding

Bitcoins can be spent by a user for different needs. This statement is known as bitcoin possessing or holding. Holding is considered as the act, state or right of possessing something. Thus, bitcoin holding is right of possessing bitcoins, which is built on several conditions. In order to have the right of possessing bitcoins a user has to put his/her own digital sign for a transaction (which is being maintained) while using a reciprocal private key. These are number-one conditions, which are to be fulfilled to make everything you need with the currency.

Digital sign — is a method where authenticity of a digital message or document (or whatever) is obtained through a specially developed for that reason mathematical scheme. Cryptographic protocol’s suits include digital signatures. It’s something like a signature you use to sign a check.

Private key — is one of the pair of keys, which are used for cryptographic system. It is known only to the owner of the key and should be thoroughly saved as it cannot be corrected, where public keys are disseminated widely in pair with a private key. The technology is used for privacy measures.

The public key is used here by the network to verify the signature. There are several evidences of holding despite the private key, but on condition that it is lost any other evidence won’t be recognized by the bitcoin network. In this case the coin will become unusable and practically ‘lost’.

In the history of Bitcoin there were such cases when the private keys were lost. Thus one user stated in 2013 that after he discarded a hard drive his private key was lost. At those circumstances the user lost seven thousand and five hundred bitcoins ($7, 5 million at that time).


Transactions

As you have already learnt, cryptographic protocol is operated on by the bitcoin network, which is known as the most usable peer-to-peer payment network. The bitcoin blockchain, which we have already mentioned earlier, records all the transactions of mining (we are to study the system further).

A transaction fee is considered to be like a tip or gratuity, which is left for the miner for his or her job done. So, more inputs should become a part of a transaction. A valid transaction implies an unspent output of a previous transaction being every input.

Moreover, each of the inputs must have a signature. When regarding it as a cash transaction example, multiple inputs correspond here to coins. Multiple outputs can be also obtained by a transaction. These outputs permit a user making multiple payments at the click of a button. In this case when the sum of outputs is exceeded by the sum of inputs an additional output is used in order to return the change back to the so-called payer. A transaction fee is all the satishis inputs that haven’t been accounted for transaction’s outputs.


Mining

It is a must known for any newbie that bitcoin miners are not rewarded for producing bitcoins but for their record-keeping services. Making it loud and simple, mining is a method of enhancing the bitcoins’ achievement.

The blockchain consistent are being kept and completed by a miner while collecting newly broadcasted transactions into a group called block. A cryptographic hash is contained by each of the previous one. It is the digest or the message digest, which is an output of the process. Hash value is computed for given message by a cryptographic hash. It is impossible to find two different messages with the same hash value in them.

Having linked a hash to the previous block by SHA-256 hashing algorithm usage, the name is given to the block.

POW system should be accepted by a new block, which is usually a computer time-processing fulfilled in order to resist attacks and other system threats.

A nonce called number is required to be found by a miner as a POW of the system, where ‘number’ + ‘once’ comes into the term.

When a new block containing nonce is hashed, the presence of the number helps to achieve a smaller result, which is considered to be far from the bitcoin network’s difficulty target. The proof can be easily verified by any node of the system. But it is also considered to be a very time-consuming method as many different numbers are to be tried for a miner’s secure cryptographic hash. It is clear that the difficulty target is adjusted every fourteen days, while ten days is being kept as the average time between new blocks’ creation. All the mining power of the network is thus adapted by the system in this way. It has been found out that in a year period (2014-2015), the number of miner-should-try numbers will be increased in twelve times.

As you know, bitcoin is an online crypto currency, which needs additional protection due to its nature. There is such a defensive measure, if an attacker decides to modify one block, he/she will have to all the subsequent blocks in order to get that one accepted by the system. More than that, the number of subsequent blocks is being grown constantly as new blocks are being mined at the moment.


Practical application

To increase the frequency of new blocks’ generation, some individual miners join mining pools. Here we are to say a little about mining pools. It is an equal share of resources spent by miners. All the participants share their processing power over a network. In order to obtain an equal share for each of the participants who contributed their PP into a deal, an amount of work over a block solving is taken into account. When the participants are proved to be solved a ‘share’ is awarded to all of the mining pool. And just in case you have forgotten, processing power is a computer system’s amount of accomplished work.

One more plus of the sort of earning bitcoins is that all the members of the ‘pool’ are split correspondingly a ‘share’ for each block and the income from the mining comes to be more predictable. But the opposite side is that service can be charged with a fee.

An integrated circuit for a particular use is adopted by mining hardware. It helps to achieve the mining general purpose with less power consumption. But even being a member of a pool, a miner, who doesn’t use the hardware, won’t earn enough, if compared to those electricity expenses he/she will face.


Energy expenditure

An electricity power that will make work an average US town work is demanded for mining process. But there are some specialized computers developed for mining the consumption of which makes not more than 10 GW of power (where 1. 2 GW is 10 percent of the space shuttle launch). Thus, bitcoin miners are suggested by some experts settling somewhere with cheap geothermal energy (Iceland, for instance).


Supporting

When speaking about supporting, then newly created bitcoins and transaction fees serve as a reward for successful miners. As the process of mining is energy intensive, the reward should be relevant. Coinbase transactions contain all the existing bitcoins. Adding a new block reward is known from the bitcoin protocol to be halved practically every four years. The reward is being reduced until finally it will be equal to zero. In this case the reward will consist from fees only. Thus Nakomoto decided to set the limitation for bitcoin circulation number same as twenty one million bitcoins. The number will decrease each year until all the bitcoins turn to be in circulation.


Bitcoin Transaction fees

We have found out that bitcoin amount is limited up to twenty one million bitcoins and when all the currency will be in circulation, the only reward for mining will be a transaction fee. It’s not all that simple, the fact is that transaction fee paying is optional. But still a transaction choice can be made by a miner and those that pay higher fees can be prioritized by miners.


Bitcoin wallets:

Electronic commerce transactions are allowed by using an electronic device known as a digital wallet. Bitcoin wallet is just a variety of these devices. The necessary information for bitcoin transactions is stored by the wallet. But bitcoin wallet differs from others of a kind due to the fact that bitcoins can’t be extracted from the blockchain transaction ledger. That’s why it will be incorrect for a bitcoin wallet to say it stores bitcoins. But it allows you accessing them and spending for some way.

Besides software bitcoin wallets there are some online bitcoin wallets available on the Internet that can be easier to use. But the user of such a wallet should be confident in the wallet providing as all the credentials for your bitcoins are stored there.

In addition, there are known to be some physical wallets, which are considered as more secure way of saving bitcoins’ credentials for spending them offline.


Bitcoin ‘price’

Bitcoin ‘price’ forecast

If speaking from the moment of Bitcoin establishing till now it is obvious that bitcoin as a currency has undergone several stages including depressions and dramatic drops. Today bitcoin is considered to be more stable than gold, according to The Wall Street Journal. In 2013 a bitcoin was forecasted to be $1, 300. Today we see that one bitcoin is equal to $ 612, 22 and bitcoin climbs with regard to that forecast. We are to wait for the result.


Companies’ Bitcoin acceptance

According to the latest statistics, bitcoins are accepted by more than one hundred thousand merchants, which means that the currency gains traction. The most known merchants include PayPal, Microsoft, Dell, Time Inc, etc. From the nonprofits there are Greenpeace, The Wikimedia Foundation, the University of Nicosia and others.


Bitcoin wallet’s Privacy and security

As you have noticed a bitcoin wallet is not an equivalent of a digital wallet. A bitcoin wallet differs from others of a kind due to the fact that bitcoins can’t be extracted from the blockchain transaction ledger and contains credentials for bitcoins you possess.

Online bitcoin wallet is considered to be the most unsecure wallet from all existing, because your credentials are trusted to a third party, thus before making a use of such a wallet think twice whether the provider is reliable or not.

Moreover, there have already been some cases when users forgot their personal keys and lost their bitcoins forever. So, you need to be extra attentive to such an important data.

And eventually, it’s not a secret to anyone that bitcoins are also used in black markets for thefts and money laundering, thus becoming a number-one target for those who need it and want to get the currency fraudulently. So, be cautious and protected while being in a mining pool, exchanging the currency or buying some products or services, as your currency credentials won’t be returned under the guarantee.

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