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What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a decentralized electronic cryptocurrency created in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto. “Decentralized” here means that Bitcoin has no central servers for transaction processing or storage of funds. Bitcoin emission is limited; no more than 21 million coins will ever be issued. According to calculations, Bitcoin production will end in 2140.

Bitcoin transactions and emissions are regulated by an extensive peer-to-peer network. Bitcoin uses a distributed public universal database, spread through a decentralized peer-to-peer network. The network uses digital signatures and is supported by a proof-of-work protocol to ensure security and legitimacy of funds in use.

To guarantee that a third-party cannot spend a user's bitcoins by issuing false transactions in their name, Bitcoin uses public key cryptography. This is a system of digital signatures, in which each person has one or more addresses or wallets, each with an associated pair of public and private keys. A user can sign a transaction with their private key, and the rest of the peers in the network can validate the signature using that user’s public key.

Bitcoin is the most widespread cryptocurrency. Its total market value is over $171 billion. One can exchange, buy or sell Bitcoins on many sites. Despite the fact that using Bitcoin does not formally require user identification, the currency is not completely anonymous.

Main article: Bitcoin
See also:
Blockchain - the technology of the future
Blockchain is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography. It acts as a distributed public ledger. Each block typically contains a hash pointer which links it to a previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data. By design, blockchains are inherently resistant to modification of the data. They are typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for validating new blocks. Once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without the alteration of all previous blocks, which requires collusion of the network majority (51%).

Blockchains are secure by design, and are an example of a distributed computing system with high Byzantine fault tolerance. Blockchains have achieved decentralized consensus. This makes them potentially suitable for the recording of events, medical records, identity management, transaction processing, documenting provenance, food traceability, and kinds of other record management.

The first blockchain was conceptualised in 2008 by an anonymous person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto, and implemented in 2009 as the public ledger for all bitcoin transactions. The inclusion of blockchain in the Bitcoin system made it the first digital currency to solve the double spending problem without resorting to a trusted authority or central server. Blockchain is the main innovation of Bitcoin.

Main article: Blockchain
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Double-spending
Double-spending problem is the successful use of the same funds twice. Double-spending of Bitcoin is not possible as Bitcoin is protected against a double-spending problem thanks to each transaction which is added to the blockchain being verified, and the majority of funds contained in this transaction cannot have been previously spent.

Double-spending is a potential flaw in a digital cash scheme in which the same single digital token can be spent more than once. This is possible because a digital token consists of a digital file that can be duplicated or falsified.[1] As with counterfeit money, such double-spending leads to inflation by creating a new amount of fraudulent currency that did not previously exist. This devalues the currency relative to other monetary units, and diminishes user trust as well as the circulation and retention of the currency. Fundamental cryptographic techniques to prevent double-spending while preserving anonymity in a transaction are blind signatures and particularly in offline systems, secret splitting.

Other numerical systems inhibit double-spending problem with the help of the authorized master source which follows certain trade rules for authorizing each transaction. In the case of Bitcoin, it uses a decentralized system where a large number of nodes following the same rules confirm the transaction without a central control node.

Bitcoin is vulnerable to double-spending problem during the initial period where a transaction is located on the network. The more transaction confirmations there are, the less risk there is that it will be used for fraud.

Main article: Double-spending
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ICO - a new way to invest
Initial coin offering (ICO stands for initial coin offering. It is an unregulated crowdfunding tool based on cryptocurrencies, often used to fund startups.

A cryptocurrency developer who wants to raise funds through an ICO must publish a detailed action plan describing the kind of project it is, what needs it solves, how much start-up money is needed, how much of their own cryptocurrency (tokens) will be issued, what share of it will be sold, ICO campaign terms and other technical details.

Funds are raised on special platforms using blockchain technology. Therefore, all transactions are anonymous and protected by cryptography.

If the the ICO fails – that is, if the required amount is not successfully raised within the pre-established period of time – all money is returned to the investors. If the campaign is successful, the money is used to finance the project.

Main article: ICO (Initial Coin Offering)
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Сryptocurrency for beginners
Cryptocurrency is a type of decentralized, P2P network digital currency whose issuing and accounting are based on cryptographic methods such as the Proof-of-work protection method and asymmetric encryption.

It is impossible to cancel or return cryptocurrency funds sent to a recipient, and the funds cannot be forcibly frozen or recovered without access to the owner's private key, although the parties involved in the transaction may voluntarily temporarily block their funds as collateral.

All currently existing cryptocurrencies are used pseudonymously, and all transactions are public. Although transactions can be anonymous, the user's identity can be uncovered if the necessary additional information is provided.

Main article: Cryptocurrency
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Cryptocurrency market
The Cryptocurrency market is a complex of all existing cryptocurrencies and the infrastructure that provides them. The exchange rate of the currencies is very volatile, so the capitalization of the cryptocurrency market is constantly changing.

As of November 20th 2017, the total capitalization of the market was $ 243 billion, with more than half ($ 136.9 billion) accounted for by bitcoin, the exchange rate of which on this date exceeded $ 8200 for the first time. For comparison, the total capitalization of the cryptocurrency market in March 2017 was only $ 25 billion.

Among the cryptocurrencies that have shown great growth recently (as of the end of November 2017) is Bitcoin Cash, which displaced Ethereum from the second place by the price of one coin. By November 23rd 2017 it cost $ 1319.484 with a capitalization of $ 22.147 billion.

Main article: Cryptocurrency market
See also
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