Bitcoin is an experimental digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world. Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority: managing transactions and issuing money are carried out collectively by the network.
What makes Bitcoin special?
Get started with Bitcoin
Bitcoin is an experimental digital currency that enables instant payments to anyone, anywhere in the world.
Consensus: Proof of Work
Hash algorithm: SHA 256
Block time: 10 minutes
Max supply: 21 Million
Circ. supply: ≈18.4 Million
Block reward: 6.25 BTC
Mainnet: 3rd January 2009
Main use cases:
Payment & store of value
The story of Bitcoin
For a long time money has been controlled by governments and banks. People are exposed to a broken financial system, depend on these third parties and witness monetary inflation. According to Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin is peer-to-peer digital cash that eliminates the required trust in third parties and enables participants to stay anonymous. It was launched as direct response to the financial crisis and bailout of banks in 2008.
Non-technical Bitcoin Onboarding Resources
These resources help you to get to know Bitcoin, to understand how Bitcoin works and to start using Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the first implementation of Blockchain technology and the most tested. Other blockchain protocols usually compare themselves to Bitcoin and try to improve in some areas.
Get started with Bitcoin
- What is Bitcoin?
- Getting started: How to use Bitcoin
- Getting started: Some things you need to know
- Why Bitcoin matters
- Planting Bitcoin: Bitcoin’s origin story
- The ultimate visual guide to Bitcoin
- What are the key properties of Bitcoin
- How Bitcoin works: Explained in 5 minutes (Video 2014)
- Bitcoin Wiki – Frequently asked Questions
- Bitcoin: Beyond the Bubble (Documentary 2018)
Become a Bitcoin expert
- The Bitcoin Whitepaper with comments
- The Bitcoin announcement thread
- Khan Academy – What is Bitcoin (Course)
- Getting a Bitcoin Wallet and backing it up securely
- How you can get your first Bitcoin
- Guide to accept Bitcoin as a merchant
- Avoid scams
- What is Bitcoin mining and how does it work?
- The Bitcoin Phenomenon (Documentary 2014)
- The evolution of Bitcoin (Documentary 2017)
- The Lightning network
How can you join and contribute
- Translate contents from Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Wiki
- Make a donation or fund Bitcoin projects directly
- Join one of the non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting Bitcoin
- Write about Bitcoin and share it with your friends and followers
- Follow all Bitcoin companies on social media
- Send and accept Bitcoin
Bitcoin Onboarding Resources for technical people
These resources help you to get to know Bitcoin on a technical level and to start working with it. After going through these resources you are able to determine when it makes sense to use Bitcoin, how to set up and run a node, network or application. Don’t forget to check out the tooling.
Get started with Bitcoin
- Bitcoin Core: What is Bitcoin?
- Overview: Bitcoin for developers
- Developer documentation
- Bitcoin developer reference
- Bitcoin Developer Network: Guides and Tutorials
- Bitcoin Simulation
- Bitcoin Improvement Proposals
- What is a node and how to run one on Bitcoin
- A gentle introduction to Bitcoin Core development
More resources available at Bitcoin.org
Become a Bitcoin developer
- Step by step Bitcoin Script guide
- Building Bitcoin software from source code
- Learn advanced Bitcoin scripting
- How to build a Bitcoin paywall in 10 minutes
- Build Bitcoin application and integrate it in your project
- Setup your own Bitcoin block explorer
- Guide to create a Bitcoin Wallet app
- Python Bitcoin Tutorial
- Build a Bitcoin App with Coinbase and Firebase
- Implement 20+ “easy” Bitcoin projects
See a great list of tooling and services at Awesome Bitcoin
How can you join and contribute
- Follow the Bitcoin Core progress
- Join the Bitcoin Dev discussion on Telegram
- How to contribute to Bitcoin Core
- Operate a node and keep bitcoin decentralized and censorship resistant
- Operate a lightning node and earn revenue with a Raspberry Pi + hard disk ($100). This requires little electricity and no coding.
- Learn python and C++, join git, write code and audit submissions
- Learn how it’s applied, learn what can be done, learn lightning & second layers
- Create tutorials and educational content
- Tackle easy tasks, suggest changes and submit pull request in open-source repo
- Attend Bitcoin meetups where they discuss the tech that works. Teach others.
Bitcoins are used as peer-to-peer cash and to pay miners for transactions. Miners solve cryptographic puzzles to mine a block and add it to the blockchain (Proof of Work). If a miner presents a block to the network for verification and the network approves the verification, the block is added to the blockchain and the miner is rewarded with currently 6.25 BTC. Over time the immutable and trustless Bitcoin ledger is more perceived as a settlement network and store of value that enables peer-to-peer cash through 2nd layer solutions.
Bitcoin’s governance model is implemented through emergent consensus. Anyone can submit Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIPs). These are discussed, peer-reviewed and may lead to a soft or hard fork. Bitcoin Core developers have been responsible for the majority of development on the Bitcoin protocol, maintain Bitcoin’s codebase and only a few have commit access to the code base. Individuals must choose which Bitcoin client to run based on the protocol rules it enforces.
More about Bitcoin governance can be found here
The Bitcoin ecosystem is among the largest. The Bitcoin core development is decentralized and supported by various companies and individuals. Bitcoin mining pools have a large say in the network. Bitcoin does not have one official representative organization but 1000+ parties that work on exchanges, payment gateways, applications and some on second layer solutions.
Important parties in the ecosystem
The Bitcoin core developers focus on performance improvements, security and enabling 2nd layer solutions for privacy and cheap transactions. The ecosystem is specifically focusing on usability and onboarding more merchants, payment processors, institutional investors and users.
Selected Readings to get to know Bitcoin
The following readings are highly recommended by the Bitcoin community and offer insights to Bitcoin, potential research topics and future improvements.
Recommended readings by Bitcoin community
- The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking
- Mastering Bitcoin
- The bullish case for Bitcoin
- Inventing Bitcoin: The Technology Behind the First Truly Scarce and Decentralized Money Explained
- Programming Bitcoin: Learn How to Program Bitcoin from Scratch
- Deep dive into technical aspects of bitcoin
- A deep dive into Satoshis 11-year old Genesis block
- Zerocash: Decentralized Anonymous Payments from Bitcoin
- Information propagation in the Bitcoin network
- An analysis of anonymity in the Bitcoin system
- Is Bitcoin a real currency? An economic appraisal
Bitcoin community knowledge base
FAQs about Bitcoin
How can I join Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is an open ecosystem. You can join groups and communications and start contributing by sharing contents, by educating others, or by writing code right now. Get up to date with Bitcoin and start reaching out to community members.
How can I get Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is the most widely accepted cryptocurrency. You can purchase Bitcoin from an exchange, in many wallets or directly from one of your friends. You can also earn Bitcoin through mining, or as donation, salary or payment for your work.
How to store Bitcoin?
You can use a custodian service – a trusted third party like a bank – or take self-custody of your Bitcoins. Make sure to backup your keys and pick a storage solution that fits your use: Cold storage is the best for long-term holding. Remember: Not your keys – not your Bitcoin!
Who leads Bitcoin?
Satoshi Nakamoto published the Whitepaper but disappeared. Bitcoin’s monetary policy is programmatic and cannot easily be changed by someone. Bitcoin Core developers, miners and large stakeholders have most influence on Bitcoin’s future.
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Satoshi Nakamoto is the founder of Bitcoin who published the Bitcoin whitepaper and sent the first transaction to Hal Finney. Satoshi is a pseudonym used by a person or group of people. There are rumors about the real identity but none is yet proven.
How decentralized is Bitcoin?
Decentralization in blockchain is a complex topic. Bitcoin has a large team of contributors, core developers, and very large node network. BTC are held by thousands of people. Criticism is often expressed about mining centralization but that does not matter much as even 51% attacks could be neutralized.