What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital currency that is gaining popularity quickly as it solves many of the problems of other forms of currency. It is created and maintained electronically and can be used to buy goods and services or transfer money around the world. Bitcoin is the first currency to be accepted worldwide, has no change, no minimums, no limits and does not require a bank account. Bitcoin was invented in 2008 as a peer-to-peer payment system for use in online transactions. Unlike any previous payment system, bitcoin is revolutionary because it is not controlled by any government. This designation allows the achievement of possibilities that have been hitherto unattainable in the world of finance. That is, because no central authority is responsible for bitcoin, it can not be devalued, controlled or used as a political tool. Since bitcoin is also a peer-to-peer network, there is no need for a third party or "broker" to facilitate transactions between a buyer and a seller. Instead of a central authority, the bitcoin transaction network consists of computers scattered around the world running the bitcoin software, which operates the protocol for managing bitcoin transactions. That software can be downloaded and run by anyone and any computer running the software can join the network. Each computer on the network also maintains a copy of the universal public accounting book known as the "block chain".

Who controls the Bitcoin network?

In the same way that no one controls the technology behind email, Bitcoin also has no owners. Bitcoin is controlled by all Bitcoin users in the world. Although programmers improve the software, they can not force a change in the Bitcoin protocol because all other users are free to choose the software and version they want. To remain compatible with each other, all users need to use software that complies with the same rules. Bitcoin can only work properly if there is consensus among all users. Therefore, all users and programmers have a great incentive to protect such a consensus.

Is it really used by people?

Yes. There is a growing number of businesses and individuals using Bitcoin. This includes traditional businesses like restaurants, houses, law firms and popular Internet services like Namecheap, Wordpress, Reddit and Flattr. Although Bitcoin is still a relatively new phenomenon, it is growing fast. By the end of August 2013, the value of all bitcoins in circulation exceeded $ 1.5 trillion, and each day they exchanged the equivalent of millions of dollars in bitcoins.