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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is the first decentralized digital currency. It was made possible by a breakthrough in computer science which brought together decades worth of research into decentralized systems and digital cash. Bitcoin made it possible for digital goods to be scarce (uncopyable) without any centralized institution controlling it. Bitcoin is used as electronic cash and digital gold.

Recent Bitcoin Stories by Messari

🗓️ Over $800 billion of bitcoin transferred so far in 2018

Using data from Coinmetrics Trustnodes reports that an estimated $830 billion worth of bitcoin ($BTC) has been transferred so far in 2018. Activity was highest at the start of the year with $220 billion of bitcoin transferred in January before falling to $140 billion in February and just $70 billion in July, which can be partially explained by failling prices. The data used is part of a new set offered by Coinmetrics which looks to remove the impact of mixers, self-churn, privacy enhancements, spam, and change outputs.

🏆 Coinbase wins patent for secure bitcoin payments system

In a patent filing, published Aug. 14th, 2018, the U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase outlined how it could develop a payment portal which would allow users to pay using bitcoin ($BTC) directly from their digital wallet. The system as described sets up a "key ceremony" that creates key shares that are combined into an operational master key – encrypted with the users' passphrases – that can be made publicly available and deleted after use. The operational master key is used for private key encryption during checkout, as well as for transaction signing when a payment is made. What the filing calls "freeze logic" is also employed in the process, a security measure that automatically halts transactions if an administrator chooses to suspend the system.

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Bitcoin Supply Snapshot

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Halving period

Every 210,000 blocks

Supply Details

The rate at which new bitcoins are created is algorithmically cut in half roughly every 4 years (210,000 blocks). Bitcoin has gone through two halvings to date; in November 2012, and again in July 2016. Since blocks are generated every 10 minutes on average, and starting at 50 new bitcoins per block when the system was launched in 2009, this creates a very well-defined supply curve. The stability of Bitcoin's monetary policy a key differentiator versus other crypto assets.