Bitcoin is a worldwide cryptocurrency and digital payment system called the first decentralized digital currency, since the system works without a central repository or single administrator. It was invented by an unknown programmer, or a group of programmers, under the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009. The system is peer-to-peer, and transactions take place between users directly, without an intermediary. These transactions are verified by network nodes and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain.
Besides being created as a reward for mining, bitcoin can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. As of February 2015, over 100,000 merchants and vendors accepted bitcoin as payment. Bitcoin can also be held as an investment. According to research produced by Cambridge University in 2017, there are 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.
Bitcoin is staging a comeback along with other riskier assets on Monday, bouncing back from its Black-Friday lows.
The largest digital asset rose as much as 3.4% during the session to trade around $58,266. Other coins also posted snap-backs, with the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index adding 5.5% at one point. So-called alternative coins like Polkadot and Dogecoin gained too.
Meanwhile, in a development that is quintessentially cryptonian, a coin called Omicron crashed and then recovered as news of the eponymous variant spread. Though little is known about the coin thus far, data on CoinGecko.com shows it’s been in existence for a few weeks and that its market cap hovers around $370 million.
Bitcoin has been under pressure since reaching a record of almost $69,000 Nov. 10 on enthusiasm over the first U.S. exchange-traded fund linked to futures of the digital asset. But a multitude of factors have weighed on returns since then, including greater regulatory risks as well as many tokens having run up very quickly in a short period of time. Maley says that Bitcoin’s recent moves also show that should the Federal Reserve withdraw its stimulus in a more aggressive fashion next year, cryptos could become vulnerable.