cover image


Decentralized digital currency / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Dear Wikiwand AI, let's keep it short by simply answering these key questions:

Can you list the top facts and stats about Bitcoin?

Summarize this article for a 10 years old


Bitcoin (abbreviation: BTC[lower-alpha 1] or XBT;[lower-alpha 2] sign: ) is a decentralized digital currency. 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 entity under the name Satoshi Nakamoto.[9] The currency began use in 2009,[10] when its implementation was released as open-source software.[7]:ch. 1 The word "bitcoin" was defined in a white paper published on October 31, 2008.[3][11] It is a compound of the words bit and coin.[12]

Quick facts: Denominations, Plural, Symbol, Code, Precisio...
Prevailing bitcoin logo
Official logo of Bitcoin
(Unicode: U+20BF BITCOIN SIGN)[lower-alpha 1]
CodeBTC,[lower-alpha 2] XBT[lower-alpha 3]
Original author(s)Satoshi Nakamoto
White paper"Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System"[3]
Implementation(s)Bitcoin Core
Initial release0.1.0 / 9 January 2009 (14 years ago) (2009-01-09)
Latest release25.0 / 26 May 2023 (4 months ago) (2023-05-26)[4]
Development statusActive
Source modelFree and open-source software
LicenseMIT License
Ledger start3 January 2009 (14 years ago) (2009-01-03)
Timestamping schemeProof-of-work (partial hash inversion)
Hash functionSHA-256 (two rounds)
Issuance scheduleDecentralized (block reward)
Initially ₿50 per block, halved every 210,000 blocks[5]
Block reward₿6.25[lower-alpha 4]
Block time10 minutes
Circulating supply₿18,925,000[lower-alpha 5]
Supply limit₿21,000,000[6][lower-alpha 6]
Exchange rateFloating
Official user(s)El Salvador[8]
  1. Encoded Unicode version 10.0 (2017) in Currency Symbols block[1]
  2. Very early software versions used the code "BC".
  3. Compatible with ISO 4217.
  4. May 2020 to approximately 2024, halved approximately every four years
  5. As of 2022-01-10
  6. The supply will approach, but never reach, ₿21 million. Issuance will permanently halt c. 2140 at ₿20,999,999.9769.[7]:ch. 8

The Library of Congress reports that, as of November 2021, nine countries have fully banned bitcoin use, and a further forty-two have implicitly banned it.[13] In contrast, a few governments have used bitcoin in some capacity. For example, El Salvador has adopted Bitcoin as legal tender, although use by merchants remains low.[14] Ukraine has accepted cryptocurrency donations to fund the resistance to the 2022 Russian invasion, and Iran has used bitcoin to bypass political sanctions.

Bitcoin has been described as an economic bubble by at least eight recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.[15][failed verification]

The environmental effects of bitcoin are substantial.[16] Its proof-of-work algorithm for bitcoin mining is designed to be computationally difficult, which requires the consumption of increasing quantities of electricity, the generation of which has contributed to climate change.[17][18] According to the University of Cambridge, bitcoin has emitted an estimated 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide since its launch,[19] or about 0.04% of all carbon dioxide released since 2009.[20]