Bitcoin (₿) is a decentralized digital currency that does not have a central bank or a single administrator and may be transmitted from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the use of middlemen. Transactions are confirmed by network nodes using encryption and stored in a blockchain, which is a public distributed ledger. The cryptocurrency was created in 2008 by an unknown individual or group of individuals using the name Satoshi Nakamoto. The currency was first used in 2009, when its implementation was made available as open-source software.

Bitcoins are produced as a reward for participating in a process known as mining. They can be traded for other currencies, goods, and services, but their real-world value is very volatile.

The term “bitcoin” was defined in a white paper issued on October 31, 2008. It is a combination of the terms bit and coin. There is no universal standard for bitcoin capitalization; some publications use Bitcoin, capitalized, to refer to the technology and network, and bitcoin, lowercase, to refer to the unit of account.