Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonymous person or team who outlined the technology in a 2008 white paper. It’s an appealingly simple concept: bitcoin is digital money that allows for secure peer-to-peer transactions on the internet.
Unlike services like Venmo and PayPal, which rely on the traditional financial system for permission to transfer money and on existing debit/credit accounts, bitcoin is decentralized: any two people, anywhere in the world, can send bitcoin to each other without the involvement of a bank, government, or other institution.
Every transaction involving Bitcoin is tracked on the blockchain, which is similar to a bank’s ledger, or log of customers’ funds going in and out of the bank. In simple terms, it’s a record of every transaction ever made using bitcoin.
Unlike a bank’s ledger, the Bitcoin blockchain is distributed across the entire network. No company, country, or third party is in control of it; and anyone can become part of that network.
There will only ever be 21 million bitcoin. This is digital money that cannot be inflated or manipulated in any way.
It isn’t necessary to buy an entire bitcoin: you can buy just a fraction of one if that’s all you want or need.