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A decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator, Bitcoin was released as an open-source software created as a reward for a process known as mining. Bitcoin offers the promise of lower transaction fees than traditional online payment mechanisms and is operated by a decentralized authority, unlike government-issued currencies. As the earliest cryptocurrency to meet widespread popularity and success, Bitcoin has inspired a host of other projects in the blockchain space. Bitcoin charts high on popularity, and has triggered the launch of hundreds of other virtual currencies collectively referred to as Altcoins.

Make sure to read about Crypto Currencies in general:

Bitcoin Facts (2018)
  • Bitcoin is still only owned by a small  fraction of the world's population (< 1%)
  • Bitcoin became popular in Venezuela and Turkey when their currencies' collapsed in 2017 and 2018

Bitcoin Criticisms
NOTE:  These are legitimate criticisms.  Newer cryptocurrencies have solved many of these
  • Bitcoin mining uses up a great deal of electrical energy - resulting in waste and pollution (not sustainable)
  • It can't handle many transactions and is generally slow (not scalable)
  • Has high transaction costs
  • Still lacks general acceptance
  • Serves as a tool for criminals, tax evaders and the like

Scarcity is baked into the system; there will be a maximum of 21 Million Bitcoins by 2140.

Every 4 years, the number of new bitcoins mined every goes down by half.