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Bitcoin

Bitcoin (abbreviation: BTC) is a decentralized digital currency that can be transferred on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network. Bitcoin 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.

The word bitcoin was defined in a white paper published on 31 October 2008. It is a compound of the words bit and coin. No uniform convention for bitcoin capitalization exists; some sources use Bitcoin, capitalized, to refer to the technology and network and bitcoin, lowercase, for the unit of account. The Wall Street Journal, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Oxford English Dictionary advocate the use of lowercase bitcoin in all cases.

The legality of bitcoin varies by region. Nine countries have fully banned bitcoin use, while a further fifteen have implicitly banned it. A few governments have used bitcoin in some capacity. El Salvador has adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, although use by merchants remains low.

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