To some it is the future of money, while to others it is nothing more than a ponzi scheme, but what is undeniable has been bitcoins meteoric rise from a 2008 published whitepaper to a current market cap of over 150 billion dollars.
Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym of the bitcoin developer or developers, and writer of the 2008 whitepaper describing an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof.
Bitcoin was created as a means of exchange, independent of any central authority, secure, immutable and verifiable.
The most important feature of bitcoin is that it is decentralised, no person, bank, single institution or country controls bitcoin. It is run on an open network of computers around the world and its code maintained by volunteers.
To this day no one knows the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Unlike fiat currencies, transactions in bitcoin cannot be reversed. Once a transaction has been confirmed on the network, it cannot be tampered with.
You do not need permission to use bitcoin, there is no middleman like a bank to tell you how much you can send or receive in bitcoin and who to.
Users do not need to identify themselves when using bitcoin, as transactions are sent to a cryptographic address and not an identity.
Since the network is transparent, the progress of transactions are visible to all, which means transactions can be tracked. Also most exchanges are required by law to perform identity checks on their customers which is another way of connecting a user to a bitcoin address.
There will only ever be 21 million bitcoin mined, while the amount of bitcoin released is halved approximately every 4 years. The final bitcoin to be mined is expected to be around the year 2140.
With bitcoin entrenching itself more and more into the financial system, we may even see a day when logbook loans are paid out in bitcoin.