Bitcoin is the most popular and valuable cryptocurrency in the world.
Bitcoin is a pioneering digital currency, as it is the first one to gain widespread adoption. It was created in the wake of the Great Financial Crisis of 2008, when public trust in the US financial system was particularly low. Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision was to create an alternative to the centralized financial system.
He released software in 2009 that anyone could run on their computer. Functionally, the Bitcoin blockchain logs all movement of bitcoin (the currency; symbol: BTC) as it is bought, sold, sent to, and received from public addresses.
Bitcoin’s blockchain will also cap production of new BTC once the amount produced reaches 21 million. The perceived scarcity of BTC, created by this production cap, has driven up the price. One bitcoin was worth cents in 2009, but is now worth thousands of dollars in 2022. The cryptocurrency gained popularity and recognition from the public, as early speculators accrued real wealth – akin to a digital gold rush.
To this day, Bitcoin is still focused on being a way everyday individuals and businesses can pay for products and services, though this use case has yet to be proven viable. As of July 2022, the value of all bitcoins in circulation is $420B – or 41% of the value of all cryptocurrencies combined.