Bitcoin—a pseudonymous cryptographic currency designed by an enigmatic, freedom-loving hacker, and currently used by the geek underground to buy and sell everything from servers to cellphone jammers. No, this isn’t a cyberpunk artifact from Snow Crash or Neuromancer; it’s a real currency currently valued several times higher than the US dollar, the British pound, and the Euro.
Bitcoin is a virtual currency, designed to allow people to buy and sell without centralized control by banks or governments, and it allows for pseudonymous transactions which aren’t tied to a real identity. In keeping with the hacker ethos, Bitcoin has no need to trust any central authority; every aspect of the currency is confirmed and secured through the use of strong cryptography.
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Bitcoin: inside the encrypted, peer-to-peer digital currency