Bitcoin was the first product of blockchain. In a way people heard about bitcoin much before they heard about blockchain.
Indeed all the basics that you have learnt about the blockchain all along this course is inspired by bitcoin, the first and most famous cryptocurrency in the world. In a sense it is mandatory to discuss about bitcoins before moving on to other case studies.
The principles and features that inspired most blockchain products can be attributed to bitcoins that was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto. Now no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is. Is it the inventor’s real name or just a nickname to identify the inventor? Or is that a name for a group of people that invented the bitcoins? No one knows. There are a lot conspiracy theories that make for a real interesting read. However, for the sake of this case study, Satoshi Nakamoto will be referred to as “he”.
What is Bitcoin
Satoshi Nakamato created Bitcoin in the year 2009 to create an electronic cash system that was “completely decentralized” without any centralized servers and authority.
In simpler words, Bitcoin is just digital currency whose owners are anonymous and unlike traditional currency (like rupee, dollar, euro) is not minted by government authorities. So owners do not have tax IDs (like PAN card in India, or SSN in the USA), and if you have to buy goods with Bitcoins, you can still do it by remaining anonymous and without revealing your identity.
All the bitcoins in the world exist through computer code and the total number is fixed at 21 million. Currently the number of mined bitcoins (as of September 30, 2018) is 17.3 millions.
The Story – Infographic
Top Bitcoin Forks
There have been many bitcoin forks till date. We will look in very brief into the top forks through the following infographic.
Bitcoin adoption has risen over the past couple of years and businesses have shown interest in accepting bitcoins. The USA leads the pack with around 36% of the total adoption in the world, followed by Canada with around 6%. The other countries include Netherlands, Italy, Argentina, Germany, UK and Australia.
Indian businesses currently attribute to just over 0.1% with shopping and restaurants leading the way.
When it comes to cities, Prague, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Madrid, New York City, Amsterdam, London and Paris are the leaders in bitcoin adoption.
Bitcoin will continue to attract the major part of interests in the coming years although more and improved versions of cryptocurrencies will get launched.
It looks to be seen if bitcoins are made legal across the world (currently cryptocurrencies including bitcoin is illegal in more than half the world including India) to enable and drive businesses to adopt bitcoins.
A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System – Paper published by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 on bitcoin