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7 The first mention of a product called bitcoin was in August 2008 when two programmers using the names Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi registered a new domain, bitcoin.org. In October of the same year, Nakamoto released a document, called a white paper, entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” In the preceding months, Nakamoto and a group of volunteer researchers had proposed different versions of the concept in forums and email threads. It was in 2008 that it all came together.  The Bitcoin White Paper Source: Satoshi Nakamoto This paper laid out principles of Bitcoin, an electronic payment system that would eliminate the need for any central authority while ensuring secure, verifiable transactions. In short, the document described a new form of currency, one that allowed for trustless payments on the web – that is, they require a minimal amount or even no trust between parties. In other words, the system allowed two users who didn’t know or trust each other to exchange money in the same way they could pass cash back and forth. The system also allowed users to confirm messages, transactions and data using a tool called public key encryption, eliminating any need to disclose their identities to transaction partners or third parties. Pseudonymity, in this case, was a byproduct but not a primary feature. In January 2009, the first bitcoin currency transaction occurred between two computers owned by Nakamoto and the late Hal Finney, a developer and an early cryptocurrency enthusiast.  To this day, no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto really is. Even a man named Dorian Nakamoto was erroneously named as Bitcoin’s creator by a Newsweek reporter in 2014.  Dorian Nakamoto wasn't Satoshi. Source: Newsweeklied.com In the end, however, because of the decentralized nature of the platform, it is not considered important to know who Satoshi Nakamoto is. Bitcoin Up Close Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by computers all around the world using free software and held electronically in programs called wallets. The smallest unit of a bitcoin is called a satoshi. It is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin (0.00000001). This enables microtransactions that traditional electronic money cannot perform. Bitcoin, often abbreviated by the ticker symbol BTC, was the first example of what we now call a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are a growing asset class that shares some characteristics with traditional currencies except they are purely digital, and creation and ownership verification is based on cryptography. Generally the term “bitcoin” has two possible interpretations. There’s bitcoin the token, which refers to the keys to a unit of the digital currency that users own and trade. A bitcoin token is held in a bitcoin wallet that is identified by a string of numbers and letters such as “1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa.” When someone wants to send you bitcoin, that person will send it to your particular, public wallet address, and you will access it via your private keys.  Then there’s Bitcoin the protocol, a distributed ledger that maintains the balances of all token trading. These ledgers are massive files stored on thousands of computers around the world. The network records each transaction onto these ledgers and then propagates them to all of the other ledgers on the network. Once all of the networks agree that they have recorded all of the correct information – including additional data added to a transaction that allows the network to store data immutably – the network permanently confirms the transaction.  Bitcoin can be used to pay for things electronically, if both parties are willing. In that sense it’s like conventional dollars, euros or yen, which can also be traded digitally using ledgers owned by centralized banks. Unlike payment services such as PayPal or credit cards, however, once you send a bitcoin, the transaction is irreversible – it cannot be called back.  That said, bitcoin does not depend on a centralized system of banking. Because each node on the network is owned by a private entity, the entire network is responsible for maintaining the accuracy of the ledger. When you send a bitcoin – or a fraction of a bitcoin – to another person, the entire network takes part. This process is called decentralization, one of the Bitcoin network’s most important characteristics. No single institution controls the bitcoin network. The protocol is maintained by a group of volunteer coders, and run by an open network of dedicated computers around the world.  Since there is no central validator in this network, users do not need to identify themselves when sending bitcoin to others. When a sender initiates a transaction, the protocol checks all previous transactions to confirm the sender has the necessary bitcoin as well as the authority to send them. Put another way, bitcoin users theoretically operate in semi-anonymity and the network is self-policing, ensuring that bad actors cannot be rewarded.  Bitcoin is also pseudo-anonymous. In practice, each user is identified by the address of his or her wallet, which can be used to track transactions. Law enforcement has also developed methods to identify users if necessary. Most exchanges are required by law to perform identity checks on their customers before they are allowed to buy or sell bitcoin. This means an exchange-assigned wallet address is most likely connected to a particular user. However, cryptocurrency wallets are not limited to exchanges or other online services, and a wallet generated by an anonymous user on a single computer is fairly difficult to trace. Further, every transaction on the network is fully transparent, a fact that concerns some privacy advocates. Ultimately, tracing a bitcoin transaction to a specific person is difficult but not impossible, and any statements describing the “anonymity” of bitcoin are inaccurate.  Source: Shutterstock Since the network is transparent, the progress of a particular transaction is visible to all. Once that transaction is confirmed, it cannot be reversed. This means any transaction on the bitcoin network cannot be tampered with, making it immune to hackers. Most bitcoin hacks happen at the wallet level, with hackers stealing the keys to hoards of bitcoins rather than affecting the Bitcoin protocol itself. Another attribute of bitcoin that takes away the need for central banks is that its supply is tightly controlled by the underlying algorithm. With fiat currencies (dollars, euros, yen, etc.), central banks can issue as many currency units as they want and can attempt to manipulate a currency’s value relative to others. Holders of the currency, especially citizens with little alternative, bear the cost. With bitcoin, a small number of new coins trickle out every hour, and will continue to do so at a diminishing rate until a maximum of 21 million has been reached. This makes bitcoin more attractive as an asset: in theory, if demand grows and the supply remains the same, the value will increase. Generally, the value of bitcoin has risen greatly since its inception, peaking in December 2017 at a price of $19,783.06 (in U.S. dollars). On Nov. 30, 2020, the price briefly rose above that mark to $19,850.11. The actual price of a decentralized asset like bitcoin isn’t strictly defined. Different services and exchanges may quote different prices for bitcoin at any given time, accounted for by discrepancies in asset liquidity, slippage and other factors. CoinDesk uses its own Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), which represents an average of bitcoin prices across leading global exchanges. Roughly every four years, the amount of bitcoin that miners can earn in the network will be halved, potentially driving up the asset’s price. Such an event is called bitcoin halving (the most recent one happened in May 2020). By Noelle Acheson, John Biggs and Hoa Nguyen DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 02 How Can I Buy Bitcoin? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jan 7, 2021 at 3:15 p.m. So you’ve learned the basics of bitcoin, now you’re excited about its potential and want to buy some. But how? Bitcoin can be bought on exchanges or directly from other people via marketplaces. You can purchase bitcoin in a variety of ways, using anything from hard cash to credit and debit cards to wire transfers, or even other cryptocurrencies, depending on who you are buying them from and where you live. The first step is to set up a wallet to store your bitcoin – you will need one, whether you’re buying bitcoin online or with cash. This could be an online wallet (either part of an exchange platform, or via an independent provider), a desktop wallet, a mobile wallet or an offline one (such as a hardware device or a paper wallet). You can find more information on some of the wallets out there, as well as tips on how to use them, here and here. The most important part of any wallet is keeping your keys and/or passwords safe. If you lose them, you lose access to the bitcoin stored there. In addition, never invest more than you can afford to lose – cryptocurrencies are volatile and their prices could go down as well as up. If you want to buy bitcoin online, you can open an account at a cryptocurrency exchange that will buy and sell bitcoin on your behalf. There are hundreds currently operating, with varying degrees of liquidity and security, and new ones continue to emerge while others end up closing down due to hacking. As with wallets, it is advisable to do some research before choosing – you may be lucky enough to have several reputable exchanges to choose from, or there might just be one or two based on your geographical area. High-volume exchanges include Coinbase, Bitfinex, Bitstamp and Poloniex. For small amounts, most reputable exchanges should work well.  With the clampdown on know-your-client (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) regulation, many exchanges now require verified identification for account setup. This usually includes a photo of your official ID, and sometimes also a proof of address. Most exchanges accept payments via bank transfers or credit cards, and some are willing to work with Paypal transfers. They typically charge fees for each transaction, which include the cost for using the bitcoin network. A bitcoin transaction takes anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days to process, depending on the traffic in the network as well as the fee attached to that transaction. Once the exchange has received payment, it will purchase the corresponding amount of bitcoin on your behalf, and deposit them in an automatically generated wallet on the exchange. You should then move the funds to your off-exchange wallet.  BATMTwo Bitcoin ATM Source: Bitcoin ATM If you prefer to buy bitcoin with cash, platforms such as LocalBitcoins will help find individuals near you who are willing to exchange bitcoin for cash. Also, LibertyX lists retail outlets across the United States at which you can exchange cash for bitcoin. And WallofCoins, Paxful and BitQuick will direct you to a bank branch near you that will allow you to make a cash deposit and receive bitcoin a few hours later.  Localbitcoin coverage Source: LocalBitcoins.com Bitcoin ATMs are machines that will send bitcoin to your wallet in exchange for cash. They operate in a similar way to bank ATMs – you feed in the bills, hold your wallet’s QR code up to a screen, and the corresponding amount of bitcoin is beamed to your account. Coinatmradar can help you to find a bitcoin ATM near you. (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) By Noelle Acheson, John Biggs and Hoa Nguyen DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 03 Why Use Bitcoin? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Sep 4, 2020 at 1:14 p.m. Satoshi Nakamoto originally created Bitcoin as an alternative, decentralized payment method. Unlike international bank transfers, it was low-cost and almost instantaneous.  An added advantage for merchants (less so for users) was that it was irreversible, removing the threat of expensive charge-backs. In return, consumers benefit from a wider selection of merchants both domestic and international without worrying about exchange fees. Moreover, the details of their transactions are encrypted which protects their personal data.  The improvement in domestic payment methods and the rapid development of alternative (non-cryptocurrency) forms of international transfers, however, has reduced bitcoin’s advantage in this area, especially given its increasing fees and frequent network bottlenecks.  payments Source: Shutterstock Furthermore, the increasing oversight and regulation to prevent money laundering and illegal transactions have restricted the cryptocurrency’s use for privacy reasons. In some parts of the world, bitcoin is still a more efficient and cheaper way to transfer money across borders, and several remittance startups make use of this feature. Last year, Coinbase added cross-border transfers and custody services for high-volume clients in Asia and Europe. A recent partnership between crypto exchange Bitex and Uruguay-based banking service provider Bantotal now facilitates direct bitcoin payments across 60 banks in Latin America.  Bitcoin’s cost and speed advantages, though, are being eroded as traditional channels improve and the network’s fees continue to increase and availability remains a problem in many countries. Also, a number of large and small retailers accept the cryptocurrency as a form of payment, although reports suggest that demand for this function is not high. And many individuals feel more comfortable holding a part of their wealth in securely-stored bitcoin wallets, where a central authority cannot block access or take a cut. Since the coronavirus lockdown began in March, we’ve witnessed a surge in demand for bitcoin wallets as users search for alternative self-custody solutions. The pandemic has also seemed to accelerate the widespread adoption of blockchain technology, as more and more businesses, payments companies and e-commerce marketplaces turn to digital currencies, especially stablecoins.  Recently bitcoin seems to have assumed the role of investment asset, as traders, institutional investors and small savers have woken up to the potential gains from price appreciation. According to some sources, bitcoin is increasingly being used for money laundering. But blockchain analytics startups and crypto tracing firms are rolling out new tools to help exchanges comply with anti-money laundering standards. And anyway, bitcoin is not, as is commonly believed, a good vehicle for money laundering, extorsion or terrorism financing, since it is both traceable and transparent – as a spate of recent arrests can attest. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 04 How to Store Your Bitcoin Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Apr 6, 2021 at 5:43 p.m. Before holding any bitcoin, you need somewhere to store it. Just like in the physical world, you store your bitcoin in a wallet.  Similar to a bank account number, your wallet comes with a wallet address that shows up in a ledger search and is shared with others so you can make transactions. This address, which is a shorter, more usable version of your public key, consists of between 26 and 35 random alphanumeric characters, something like 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa. Keep in mind that every letter and number in that address is important. Before sending any bitcoin to your wallet, double-check the entire address, character by character.   Also tied to your wallet address is one or more private keys, which as the name suggests should not be shared with anyone. Keys are used to verify you own the aforementioned public key, and to sign off on transactions. Some wallets create a secure seed phrase, a set of words that will allow you to unlock your wallet if you lose your keys. Print this phrase out and keep it in a safe place.  Source: Shutterstock The unfortunate truth is your bitcoin wallet is akin to your physical wallet. If you lose the private keys to your wallet, you’re most likely going to lose the currency in it forever.  Your wallet generates a master file where your public and private keys are stored. This file should be backed up in case the original file is lost or damaged. Otherwise, you risk losing access to your funds. You can store your private keys on your computer, mobile device, on a physical storage gadget or even on a piece of paper. It’s crucial that you keep your private keys safe by generating backups both online and offline. Remember: Your wallet does not reside on any single device. The wallet itself resides on the Bitcoin blockchain, just as your banking app doesn’t truly “hold” the cash in your checking account. While wallet apps work well and are relatively safe, the safest option is a hardware wallet you keep offline, in a secure place. The most popular hardware wallets use special layers of security to ensure your keys are not stolen and your bitcoin is safe. But, once again, if you lose the hardware wallet your bitcoins are gone unless you have kept reliable backups of the keys. The least-secure option is an online wallet, i.e. storing your bitcoin in an exchange. This is because the keys are held by a third party. For many, the online exchange wallets are the easiest to set up and use, presenting an all-too-familiar choice: convenience versus safety. Many serious bitcoin investors use a hybrid approach: They hold a core, long-term amount of bitcoin offline in so-called “cold storage,” while keeping a spending balance in a mobile account.  Depending on your bitcoin strategy and willingness to get technical, here are the different types of bitcoin wallets available. Bitcoin.org has a helper that will show you which wallet to choose.  Source: Shutterstock Cloud wallets exist online and the keys are usually stored in a distant server run by a third party. Cloud-based wallets tend to have a more user-friendly interface but you will be trusting a third party with your private keys, which makes your funds more susceptible to theft. Some examples of this wallet type are Coinbase, Blockchain and Lumi Wallet. Most cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, have their own native wallets. Some offer additional security features such as offline storage (Coinbase and Xapo). With your private keys stored on a server, you have to trust the host’s security measures and also trust the host won’t disappear with your money or close down and deny you access. Software wallets can be installed directly on your computer, giving you private control of your keys. Most have relatively easy configuration and are free. The disadvantage is you are in charge of securing your keys. Software wallets also require greater security precautions. If your computer is hacked or stolen, the thief can get a copy of your wallet and your bitcoin. While you can download the original software Bitcoin Core protocol (which stores a ledger of all transactions since 2009 and takes up a lot of space), most wallets in use today are “light” wallets, or SPV (Simplified Payment Verification) wallets, which do not download the entire ledger but sync to it.  Electrum is a well-known SPV desktop bitcoin wallet that also offers “cold storage” (a totally offline option for additional security). Exodus can track multiple assets with a sophisticated user interface. Some (such as Jaxx Liberty) can hold a wide range of digital assets, and some (such as Copay) offer the possibility of shared accounts. Before downloading any app, please confirm you are downloading a legitimate copy of a real wallet. Some shady programmers create clones of various crypto websites and offer downloads for free, leading to the possibility of a hack.  Mobile wallets are available as apps for your smartphone, especially useful if you want to pay for something in bitcoin in a shop or if you want to buy, sell or send while on the move. All of the online wallets and most of the desktop ones mentioned above have mobile versions, while others – such as Abra, Edge and Bread – were created with mobile in mind. Remember, many online wallets will store your keys on the phone itself, leading to the possibility of losing your bitcoin if you lose your phone. Always keep a backup of your keys on a different device and print out your seed phrase. Hardware wallets are small devices that connect to the web only to enact bitcoin transactions. They are more secure because they are generally offline and therefore not hackable. They can be stolen or lost, however, along with the bitcoins that belong to the stored private keys, so it’s recommended that you backup your keys. Some large investors keep their hardware wallets in secure locations such as bank vaults. Trezor, Keepkey and Ledger are notable examples. Paper wallets are perhaps the simplest of all the wallets. Paper wallets are pieces of paper that contain the private and public keys of a bitcoin address. Ideal for the long-term storage of bitcoin (away from fire and water, of course) or for the giving of bitcoin as a gift, these wallets are more secure in that they’re not connected to a network. They are, however, easier to lose. With services such as WalletGenerator, you can easily create a new address and print the wallet on your printer. When you’re ready to top up your paper wallet you simply send some bitcoin to that address and then store it safely. Whatever option you go for, be sure to back up everything and only tell your nearest and dearest where your backups are stored. (WARNING: Using an online paper wallet generator can be a security risk since you are trusting the website with key generation; if you do use one, be sure to verify that the code has no backdoors). For more information on how to buy bitcoin, see here. And for some examples of what you can spend it on, see here. (Note: Specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as an official recommendation. Further, companies could go out of business and be replaced with more nefarious owners. Always protect your keys.) UPDATE (April 6, 2021, 19:35 UTC): Added warning about the security risk of paper wallet generators. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 05 How to Sell Bitcoin Jan 25, 2014 at 6:39 a.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. These days virtually all the methods available to buy bitcoin also offer the option to sell.  The exception is bitcoin ATMs – some do allow you to exchange bitcoin for cash, but not all. Coinatmradar will guide you to bitcoin ATMs in your area. All exchanges allow you to sell as well as buy. What type of exchange you choose to sell your bitcoin will depend on what type of holder you are: small investor, institutional holder or trader? Some platforms such as GDAX and Gemini are aimed more at large orders from institutional investors and traders. Retail clients can sell bitcoin at exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, Poloniex, etc. Each exchange has a different interface, and some offer related services such as secure storage. Some require verified identification for all trades, while others are more relaxed if small amounts are involved. (Of course, don’t forget to declare any profit you make on the sale to your relevant tax authority!) You can, if you wish, exchange your bitcoin for other cryptoassets rather than for cash. Some exchanges such as ShapeShift focus on this service, allowing you to swap between bitcoin and ether, litecoin, XRP, dash and several others. Another alternative is the direct sale. You can register as a seller on platforms such as LocalBitcoins, BitQuick, Bittylicious and BitBargain, and interested parties will contact you if they like your price. Transactions are usually done via deposits or wires to your bank account, after which you are expected to transfer the agreed amount of bitcoin to the specified address. Or, you can sell directly to friends and family once they have a bitcoin wallet set up. Just send the bitcoin, collect the cash or mobile payment, and have a celebratory drink together. (Note: it is generally not a good idea to meet up with strangers to exchange bitcoin for cash in person. Be safe.) (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 06 How Do Bitcoin Transactions Work? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Aug 18, 2020 at 12:34 p.m. Now that you’ve set up your bitcoin wallet and are ready to make your first transaction, let’s take a look at how bitcoin transactions actually work.  There are three key variables in any bitcoin transaction: an amount, an input and an output. An input is the address from which the money is sent, and an output is the address that receives the funds. Since a wallet can contain several input addresses, you can send money from one or more inputs to one or more outputs. There is also a data storage portion on each transaction, a sort of note, that allows you to record data to the blockchain immutably. But the unique thing about bitcoin transactions is that, if you initiate a transaction that’s worth less than the total amount in your input, you get your change back not to your original output, but through a new third address in your control. This means your wallet typically ends up containing multiple addresses, and you can pull funds from these addresses to make future transactions. You’ve learned how to buy and store your bitcoins, so you already know what public and private keys are for, and you’ll need these to issue a transaction. To do that, you put your private key, the amount of bitcoins you want to send and the output address into the bitcoin software on your computer or smartphone.  Then the program generates a signature made from your private key to announce this transaction to the network for validation. The network needs to confirm that you own the bitcoin being transferred and that you haven’t spent it by checking all previous transactions which are public on the ledger. Once the bitcoin program verifies that indeed your private key corresponds to the provided public key (without knowing what your private key is), your transaction is confirmed.  This transaction is now included in a “block” which gets attached to the previous block to be added to the blockchain. Every transaction in the blockchain is tied to a unique identifier called a transaction hash (txid), which looks like a 64-character string of random letters and numbers. You can track a particular transaction by typing this txid in the search bar on the blockchain explorer.  Transactions can’t be undone or tampered with, because it would mean re-doing all the blocks that came after. This process is not instantaneous. Because the bitcoin blockchain is fairly large, it takes a lot of time to process a single transaction among the many on the blockchain.  The amount of time it takes to confirm a transaction varies, ranging anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days, based on traffic on the blockchain and the size of your transaction. Larger transactions with higher fees tend to get validated by miners quicker than smaller ones. That said, once it is confirmed, it is immutably recorded forever. If you want to indulge in some mindless fascination, you can sit at your desk and watch bitcoin transactions float by. Blockchain.info is good for this, but try BitBonkers if you want a hypnotically fun version. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 07 How Bitcoin Mining Works Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 8, 2020 at 10:16 a.m. When you hear about bitcoin “mining,” you envisage coins being dug out of the ground. But bitcoin isn’t physical, so why do we call it mining? Similar to gold mining, bitcoins exist in the protocol’s design just as the gold exists underground, but they haven’t been brought out into the light yet, just as the gold hasn’t yet been dug up.  The bitcoin protocol stipulates that a maximum of 21 million bitcoins will exist at some point. What miners do is bring them out into the light, a few at a time. Once miners finish mining all these coins, there won’t be more coins rolling out unless the bitcoin protocol changes to allow for a larger supply. Miners get paid in transaction fees for creating blocks of validated transactions and including them in the blockchain.  Source: Shutterstock To understand how bitcoin mining works, let’s backtrack a little bit and talk about nodes. A node is a powerful computer that runs the bitcoin software and fully validates transactions and blocks. Since the bitcoin network is decentralized these nodes are collectively responsible for confirming pending transactions.  Anyone can run a node—you just download the free bitcoin software. The drawback is that it consumes energy and storage space – the network at time of writing takes hundreds of gigabytes of data. Nodes spread bitcoin transactions around the network. One node will send information to a few nodes that it knows, who will relay the information to nodes that they know, etc. That way, the pending transaction ends up getting around the whole network pretty quickly. Some nodes are mining nodes,usually referred to as miners. These chunk outstanding transactions into blocks and add them to the blockchain. How do they do this? By solving a complex mathematical puzzle that is part of the bitcoin program, and including the answer in the block.  The puzzle that needs solving is to find a number that, when combined with the data in the block and passed through a hash function (which converts input data of any size into output data of a fixed length, produces a result that is within a certain range.  For trivia lovers, this number is called a “nonce”, which is an abbreviation of “number used once.” In the blockchain, the nonce is an integer between 0 and 4,294,967,296. How do they find this number? By guessing at random. The hash function makes it impossible to predict what the output will be. So, miners guess the mystery number and apply the hash function to the combination of that guessed number and the data in the block. The resulting hash starts with a certain number of zeroes. There’s no way of knowing which number will work, because two consecutive integers will give wildly varying results. What’s more, there may be several nonces that produce the desired result, or there may be none. In that case, the miners keep trying but with a different block configuration. The difficulty of the calculation (the required number of zeros at the beginning of the hash string) is adjusted frequently, so that it takes on average about 10 minutes to process a block. Why 10 minutes? That is the amount of time that the bitcoin developers think is necessary for a steady and diminishing flow of new coins until the maximum number of 21 million is reached (expected some time in 2140). The first miner to get a resulting hash within the desired range announces its victory to the rest of the network. All the other miners immediately stop work on that block and start trying to figure out the mystery number for the next one. As a reward for its work, the victorious miner gets some new bitcoin. At the time of writing, the reward is 6.25 bitcoins per block, which is worth around $56,000 in June 2020. However, it’s not nearly as cushy a deal as it sounds. There are a lot of mining nodes competing for that reward, and the more computing power you have and the more guessing calculations you can perform, the luckier you are. Also, the costs of being a mining node are considerable, not only because of the powerful hardware needed, but also because of the large amounts of electricity consumed by these processors. And, the number of bitcoins awarded as a reward for solving the puzzle will decrease. It’s 6.25 now, but it halves every four years or so (the next one is expected in 2024). The value of bitcoin relative to cost of electricity and hardware could go up over the next few years to partially compensate for this reduction, but it’s not certain. If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations! There is still so much more to explain about the system, but at least now you have an idea of the broad outline of the genius of the programming and the concept. For the first time we have a system that allows for convenient digital transfers in a decentralized, trust-free and tamper-proof way.  DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 08 How to Set Up a Bitcoin Miner Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:21 p.m. By this stage, you will understand how bitcoin works, and what mining means. But we need to get from theory to practice. How can you set up a bitcoin mining hardware and start generating some digital cash? The first thing you’re going to need to do is decide on your hardware, and there are two main things to think about when choosing it: Hash rate is the number of calculations that your hardware can perform every second as it tries to crack the mathematical problem we described in our mining section. Hash rates are measured in megahashes, gigahashes, and terahashes per second (MH/sec, GH/sec, and TH/sec). The higher your hash rate (compared to the current average hash rate), the more likely you are to solve a transaction block. The bitcoin wiki’s mining hardware comparison page is a good place to go for rough information on hash rates for different hardware. When choosing a hardware, it’s worth looking at your device’s energy consumption. All this computing power chews up electricity, and that costs money. You want to make sure that you don’t end up spending all of your money on electricity to mine coins that won’t be worth what you paid. To work out how many hashes you’re getting for every watt of electricity that you use, divide the hash count by the number of watts.  Source: Credit: Anna Baydakova for CoinDesk For example, if you have a 500 GH/sec device, and it’s taking 400 watts of power, then you’re getting 1.25 GH/sec per watt. You can check your power bill or use an electricity price calculator online to find out how much that means in hard cash. However, there’s a caveat here. In some cases, you’ll be using your computer to run the mining hardware. Your computer has its own electricity draw on top of the mining hardware, and you’ll need to factor that into your calculation. There are three main hardware categories for bitcoin miners: GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs. We’ll explore them in depth below. CPU/GPU Bitcoin Mining The least powerful category of bitcoin mining hardware is your computer itself. Theoretically, you could use your computer’s CPU to mine for bitcoins, but in practice, this is so slow by today’s standards that there isn’t any point. You can enhance your bitcoin hash rate by adding graphics hardware to your desktop computer. Graphics cards feature graphical processing units (GPUs). These are designed for heavy mathematical lifting so they can calculate all the complex polygons needed in high-end video games. This makes them particularly good at the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) hashing mathematics necessary to solve transaction blocks. One of the nice things about GPUs is that they also leave your options open. Unlike other options discussed later, these units can be used with cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. Litecoin, for example, uses a different proof of work algorithm to bitcoin, called Scrypt. This has been optimized to be friendly to CPUs and GPUs, making them a good option for GPU miners who want to switch between different currencies. GPU mining is largely dead these days. Bitcoin mining difficulty has accelerated so much with the release of ASIC mining power that graphics cards can’t compete. FPGA Bitcoin Mining A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit designed to be configured after being built. This enables a mining hardware manufacturer to buy the chips in volume, and then customize them for bitcoin mining before putting them into their own equipment. Because they are customized for mining, they offer performance improvements over CPUs and GPUs. Single-chip FPGAs have been seen operating at around 750 MH/sec, although that’s at the high end. It is of course possible to put more than one chip in a box. ASIC Bitcoin Miners This is where the action’s really at. Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are specifically designed to do just one thing: mine bitcoins at mind-crushing speeds, with relatively low power consumption. Because these chips have to be designed specifically for that task and then fabricated, they are expensive and time-consuming to produce – but the speeds are stunning. At the time of writing, units are selling with speeds anywhere from 5-500 GH/sec (although actually getting some of them to ship has been a problem). Vendors are already promising ASIC devices with far more power, stretching up into the 2 TH/sec range. Before making your purchase, calculate the projected profitability of your miner, using mining profitability calculators online like this one. You can input parameters such as equipment cost, hash rate, power consumption, and the current bitcoin price to see how long it will take to pay back your investment. One of the other key parameters here is network difficulty. This metric determines how hard it is to solve transaction blocks, and it varies according to the network hash rate. Difficulty is likely to increase substantially as ASIC devices come on the market, so it might be worth increasing this metric in the calculator to see what your return on investment will be like as more people join the game.  Once you have chosen your hardware, you’ll need to do several other things. Depending on which equipment you choose, you will need to run software to make use of it. Typically when using GPUs and FPGAs, you will need a host computer running two things: the standard bitcoin client, and the mining software. The standard bitcoin client connects your computer to the network and enables it to interact with the bitcoin clients, forwarding transactions and keeping track of the block chain. It will take some time for it to download the entire bitcoin block chain so that it can begin. The bitcoin client effectively relays information between your miner and the bitcoin network. The bitcoin mining software is what instructs the hardware to do the hard work, passing through transaction blocks for it to solve. There are a variety of these available, depending on your operating system. They are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and others. You may well need mining software for your ASIC miner, too, although some newer models promise to ship with everything pre-configured, including a bitcoin address, so that all you need to do is plug it in the wall. One smart developer even produced a mining operating system designed to run on the Raspberry Pi, a low-cost credit card-sized Linux computer designed to consume very small amounts of power. This could be used to power a USB-connected ASIC miner. Now, you’re all set up. Good for you. But you will stand little chance of success mining bitcoins unless you work with other people, by joining a bitcoin mining pool for example.  Nowadays, the bitcoin mining industry primarily operates on a pool level rather than on an individual level. Some of the biggest bitcoin miners in the world are F2Pool, Poolin, Slush Pool and AntPool.    DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 09 Can Bitcoin Scale? Feb 23, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:54 p.m. You have some bitcoins in your wallet and want to spend them on your daily purchases. But what would that look like in a world where Visa, Mastercard and other financial services still dominate the market?  The ability for bitcoin to compete with other payment systems has long been up for debate in the cryptocurrency community. When Satoshi Nakamoto programmed the blocks to have a size limit of approximately 1MB each to prevent network spam, he also created the problem of bitcoin illiquidity. Since each block takes an average of 10 minutes to process, only a small number of transactions can go through at a time. For a system that many claimed could replace fiat payments, this was a big barrier. While Visa handles around 1,700 transactions a second, bitcoin could process up to 7. An increase in demand would inevitably lead to an increase in fees, and bitcoin’s utility would be limited even further. The scaling debate has unleashed a wave of technological innovation in the search of workarounds. While significant progress has been made, a sustainable solution is still far from clear. A simple solution initially appeared to be an increase in the block size. Yet that idea turned out to be not simple at all. First, there was no clear agreement as to how much it should be increased by. Some proposals advocated for 2MB, another for 8MB, and one wanted to go as high as 32MB. The core development team argued that increasing the block size at all would weaken the protocol’s decentralization by giving more power to miners with bigger blocks. Plus, the race for faster machines could eventually make bitcoin mining unprofitable. Also, the number of nodes able to run a much heavier blockchain could decrease, further centralizing a network that depends on decentralization. Second, not everyone agrees on this method of change. How do you execute a system-wide upgrade when participation is decentralized? Should everyone have to update their bitcoin software? What if some miners, nodes and merchants don’t? And finally, bitcoin is bitcoin, why mess with it? If someone didn’t like it, they were welcome to modify the open-source code and launch their own coin. One of the earliest solutions to this issue was proposed by developer Pieter Wiulle in 2015. It’s called Segregated Witness, or SegWit.  This process would increase the capacity of the bitcoin blocks without changing their size limit, by altering how the transaction data was stored. (For a more detailed account, see our explainer.) SegWit was deployed on the bitcoin network in August 2017 via a soft fork to make it compatible with nodes that did not upgrade. While many wallets and other bitcoin services are gradually adjusting their software, others are reluctant to do so because of the perceived risk and cost. Several industry players argued that SegWit didn’t go far enough – it might help in the short term, but sooner or later bitcoin would again be up against a limit to its growth. In 2017, coinciding with CoinDesk’s Consensus conference in New York, a new approach was revealed: Segwit2X. This idea – backed by several of the sector’s largest exchanges – combined SegWit with an increase in the block size to 2MB, effectively multiplying the pre-SegWit transaction capacity by a factor of 8. Far from solving the problem, the proposal created a further wave of discord. The manner of its unveiling (through a public announcement rather than an upgrade proposal) and its lack of replay protection (transactions could happen on both versions, potentially leading to double spending) rankled many. And the perceived redistribution of power away from developers towards miners and businesses threatened to cause a fundamental split in the community. Other technological approaches are being developed as a potential way to increase capacity. Schnorr signatures offer a way to consolidate signature data, reducing the space it takes up within a bitcoin block (and enhancing privacy). Combined with SegWit, this could allow a much greater number of transactions, without changing the block size limit And work is proceeding on the lightning network, a second layer protocol that runs on top of bitcoin, opening up channels of fast microtransactions that only settle on the bitcoin network when the channel participants are ready. Adoption of the SegWit upgrade is slowly spreading throughout the network, increasing transaction capacity and lowering fees. Progress is accelerating on more advanced solutions such as lightning, with transactions being sent on testnets (as well as some using real bitcoin). And the potential of Schnorr signatures is attracting increasing attention, with several proposals working on detailing functionality and integration. While bitcoin’s use as a payment mechanism seems to have taken a back seat to its value as an investment asset, the need for a greater number of transactions is still pressing as the fees charged by the miners for processing are now more expensive than fiat equivalents. More importantly, the development of new features that enhance functionality is crucial to unlocking the potential of the underlying blockchain technology. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 10 What is Bitcoin's Lightning Network? Feb 23, 2018 at 1:42 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. Tackling bitcoin’s scalability isn’t easy, but developers Thaddeus Dryja and Joseph Poon had an idea. In a 2016 white paper, they proposed the concept of a protocol called “the lightning network” that would enable faster and cheaper transactions while not having to change the block size.  The network creates a second layer on top of the bitcoin blockchain and comprises user-generated channels. You can securely send payments back and forth without the need to trust or even know your counterparty. Say, for instance, that I wanted to pay you for each minute of video that I watched. We would open up a lightning channel, and as the minutes rolled by, periodic payments would be made from my wallet to yours. When I’m done watching, we would close the channel to settle the net amount on the bitcoin blockchain. An error occurred. Try watching this video on www.youtube.com, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser. Because the transactions are just between me and you and don’t need to be broadcast to the whole network, they are almost instantaneous. And because there are no miners that need incentivizing, transaction fees are low or even non-existent. How it works First, two parties who wish to transact with each other set up a multisignature wallet (which requires more than one signature to enact a transaction). This wallet holds some amount of bitcoin. The wallet address is then saved to the bitcoin blockchain. This sets up the payment channel. The two parties can now conduct an unlimited number of transactions without ever touching the information stored on the blockchain. With each transaction, both parties sign an updated balance sheet to always reflect how much of the bitcoin stored in the wallet belongs to each. Once the two parties finish transacting and close out the channel, the resulting balance is registered on the blockchain. In the event of a dispute, both parties can use the most recently signed balance sheet to recover their share of the wallet. It is not necessary to set up a direct channel to transact on lightning – you can send payments to someone via channels with people that you are connected with. The network automatically finds the shortest route. Development of the technology got a significant boost with the adoption of SegWit on the bitcoin and litecoin networks. Without the upgrade’s transaction malleability fix, transactions on the lightning network would have been too risky to be practical. Without the security of the blockchain behind it, the lightning network will not be as secure, which implies that it will largely be used for small or even micro transactions which carry a lower risk. Larger transfers that require decentralized security are more likely to be done on the original layer. Where are we now? In March 2018, California startup Lightning Labs announced the launch of a beta version of its software, making available what investors and project leads say is the first thoroughly tested version of the tech to date. It is still early days, however – transaction sizes are limited, and the release is aimed at developers and “advanced users”.
Recent research on the lightning network shows signs of increased vulnerability due to the centralization of a number of nodes in the network that control a majority of funds. Developers are continuously exploring new possibilities to enhance the privacy and efficiency of the lightning, as well as ways to incorporate other technologies such as Schnorr into the network. There’s no doubt that it’ll be some time before such system-wide updates can successfully take place. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 11 What are Bitcoin Mining Pools? Mar 6, 2014 at 1:32 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. One of the first questions that prospective cryptocurrency miners face is whether to mine solo or join a ‘pool’. There are a multitude of reasons both for and against mining pools. Here’s what you need to know. If you’re deciding whether to join a mining pool or not, it can be helpful to think of it like a lottery syndicate – the pros and cons are exactly the same. Going solo means you won’t have to share the reward, but your odds of getting a reward are significantly decreased. Although a pool has a much larger chance of solving a block and winning the reward, that reward will be split between all the pool members.  Source: Shutterstock Therefore, joining a pool creates a steady stream of income, even if each payment is modest compared to the full block reward (which currently stands at 6.25 BTC). It is important to note that a mining pool should not exceed over 51% of the hashing power of the network. If a single entity ends up controlling more than 50% of a cryptocurrency network’s computing power, it could theoretically wreak havoc on the whole network. Difficulty level is another factor to keep in mind when considering solo mining.  It is currently so high that it’s practically impossible for soloists to make a profit mining. Unless, of course, you happen to have a garage full of ASICs sitting in Arctic conditions. If you’re a beginner, joining a mining pool is a great way to reap a small reward over a short period of time. Indeed, pools are a way to encourage small-scale miners to stay involved. One method of mining that bitcoin facilitates is “merged mining”. This is where blocks solved for bitcoin can be used for other currencies that use the same proof of work algorithm (for example, namecoin and devcoin). A useful analogy for merged mining is to think of it like entering the same set of numbers into several lotteries. First-time miners who lack particularly powerful hardware should look at altcoins over bitcoin – especially currencies based on the scrypt algorithm rather than SHA256. This is because the difficulty of bitcoin calculations is far too high for the processors found in regular PCs. When deciding which mining pool to join, you need to weigh up how each pool shares out its payments and what fees (if any) it deducts. Typical deductions range from 1% to 10%. However, some pools do not deduct anything. There are many schemes by which pools can divide payments. Most of which concentrate on the amount of ‘shares’ which a miner has submitted to the pool as ‘proof of work’. Shares are a tricky concept to grasp. Keep two things in mind: firstly, mining is a process of solving cryptographic puzzles; secondly, mining has a difficulty level. When a miner ‘solves a block’ there is a corresponding difficulty level for the solution. Think of it as a measure of quality. If the difficulty rating of the miner’s solution is above the difficulty level of the entire currency, it is added to that currency’s block chain and coins are rewarded. Additionally, a mining pool sets a difficulty level between 1 and the currency’s difficulty. If a miner returns a block which scores a difficulty level between the pool’s difficulty level and the currency’s difficulty level, the block is recorded as a ‘share’. There is no use whatsoever for these share blocks, but they are recorded as proof of work to show that miners are trying to solve blocks. They also indicate how much processing power they are contributing to the pool – the better the hardware, the more shares are generated. The most basic version of dividing payments this way is the ‘pay per share’ (PPS) model. Variations on this puts limits on the rate paid per share; for example, equalised shared maximum pay per share (ESMPPS), or shared maximum pay per share (SMPPS). Pools may or may not prioritise payments for how recently miners have submitted shares: for example, recent shared maximum pay per share (RSMPPS). More examples can be found on the bitcoin wiki. There are many pool options available for mining beside bitcoin. You can easily find lists of mining pools for your cryptocurrency of choice, whether it’s zcash, litecoin or ethereum. Some popular ones are BTC.com, Slush Pool and AntPool. Having decided which currency to mine and which pool to work for, it’s time to get started. You need to create an account on the pool’s website, which is just like signing up for any other web service. Once you have an account, you’ll need to create a ‘worker’. You can create multiple workers for each piece of mining hardware you’ll use. The default settings on most pools are for workers to be assigned a number as their name, and ‘x’ as their password, but you can change these to whatever you like. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 12 What Can You Buy with Bitcoin? Sep 25, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:21 p.m. After an initial flurry of interest among merchants in accepting bitcoin in their retail or online stores, interest has largely died down as increasing bitcoin transaction fees and volatile price movements made it less attractive as a means of exchange. That doesn’t mean that there are no outlets to spend your bitcoin, however, far from it. A 2019 survey done by insurance company HSB finds that more than one-third of U.S. small and mid-sized businesses accept cryptocurrency, and 59% of them purchase digital currencies for their own use.  Among the advantages of conducting business with cryptocurrency are the ease of cross-border transactions, and anonymity (unless you want physical delivery, of course). By accepting bitcoin, merchants get access to a broader market, and don’t have to worry so much about chargebacks since bitcoin transactions are irreversible. In 2019, AT&T became the first major U.S. mobile carrier to accept payments in cryptocurrency via BitPay.  If you want to use bitcoin to buy presents, the most obvious solution is gift cards, via Gyft or eGifter. The recipient will then be able to spend the gift card at one of a wide range of retailers.  gifts, exchange, trade Source: Shutterstock You can pay for flights and hotels with bitcoin, through Expedia, CheapAir and Surf Air. If your ambitions are loftier, you can pay for space travel with some of your vast holdings, through Virgin Galactic. Microsoft accepts bitcoin in its app stores, where you can download movies, games and app-based services. The leading game streaming platform Twitch also accepts payments in bitcoin and bitcoin cash for its subscriptions. Some musicians (Bjork, Imogen Heap, G-Eazy, Dolly Parton) will let you download their music in exchange for cryptocurrency. Need to furnish your house or buy a special present for someone? Overstock was one of the first big retailers to start accepting bitcoin, back in 2014, and its founder – Patrick Byrne – is still one of the technology’s most active proponents. Fancy some gold? Sharps Pixley, APMEX and JM Bullion will take bitcoin off your hands in exchange for bullion. And if you’re hungry and live in the U.S., PizzaforCoins will get a pizza delivered to your door (depending on where you live) in exchange for bitcoin. If it’s knowledge you’re hungry for, several private and public universities as well as a couple of New York preschools accept bitcoin. Some legal and accounting firms also accept payment for their services in cryptocurrency. Of course, you could always donate to one of the bitcoin-accepting charities or crowdfunding sites, such as BitHope, BitGive or Fidelity Charitable. For a list of offline stores near you that accept bitcoin, check an aggregator such as Spendabit or CoinMap. (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 13 Is Bitcoin Legal? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 8, 2020 at 10:27 a.m. As the market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market shoots up, through price movements and a surge in new tokens, regulators around the world are stepping up the debate on oversight into the use and trading of digital assets. Very few countries have gone as far as to declare bitcoin illegal. That does not, however, mean that bitcoin is “legal tender” – so far, only Japan has gone as far as to give bitcoin that designation. However, just because something isn’t legal tender, does not mean that it cannot be used for payment – it just means that there are no protections for either the consumer or the merchant, and that its use as payment is completely discretionary. Other jurisdictions are still mulling what steps to take. The approaches vary: some smaller nations such as Zimbabwe have few qualms about making brash pronouncements casting doubts on bitcoin’s legality. Larger institutions, such as the European Commission, recognize the need for dialogue and deliberation, while the European Central Bank (ECB) believes that cryptocurrencies are not yet mature enough for regulation. In the United States, the issue is complicated further by the fractured regulatory map – who would do the legislating, the federal government or individual states?  A related question in other countries, to which there is not yet a clear answer, is: should central banks keep an eye on cryptocurrencies, or financial regulators? In some countries they are one and the same thing, but in most developed nations, they are separate institutions with distinct remits. Another divisive issue is: should bitcoin be regulated on a national or international basis? There needs to be a further distinction between regulation of the cryptocurrency itself (is it a commodity or a currency, is it legal tender?) and cryptocurrency businesses (are they money transmitters, do they need licenses?). In a few countries the considerations are tied together – in most others, they have been dealt with separately. Below is a brief summary of pronouncements made by certain countries. This list was last updated in July 2020. Australia The Australian government has been supportive of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. In 2017, it declared that cryptocurrencies were legal, and they would be treated as assets subjected to Capital Gains Tax.  In 2018, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre announced new regulations that require exchanges operating in the country to register with AUSTRAC, maintain records and verify users. To combat money laundering and terrorism financing in the future, unregistered exchanges will face charges and monetary penalties in the future. Argentina Under Argentina’s Constitution, bitcoins aren’t considered legal currency because they are not issued by the central bank. In spite of a strong bitcoin ecosystem, Argentina has not yet drawn up regulations for the cryptocurrency, although the central bank has issued official warnings of the risks involved. Bangladesh In 2015, Bangladesh expressly declared that using cryptocurrencies was a “punishable offence.” Authorities have been on the hunt for illegal bitcoin traders in the country.  Bolivia In 2014, the central bank of Bolivia officially banned the use of any currency or tokens not issued by the government. Canada Canada was one of the first countries to draw up what could be considered “bitcoin legislation.” In 2014, the Governor General of Canada passed Bill C-31 in 2014, which designated “virtual currency businesses” as “money service businesses,” compelling them to comply with anti-money laundering and know-your-client requirements. The law is pending issuance of subsidiary regulations. The government has specified that bitcoin is not legal tender, and the country’s tax authority has deemed bitcoin transactions taxable, depending on the type of activity.  China While China has not banned bitcoin (and President Xi Jinping has continued to praise in blockchain developments as critical to technical innovations), financial regulators have cracked down on bitcoin exchanges – all major bitcoin exchanges in the country, including OKCoin, Huobi, BTC China, and ViaBTC, suspended order book trading of digital assets against the yuan in 2017. It also appears to be withdrawing preferential treatment (tax deductions and cheap electricity) for bitcoin miners. Ecuador In 2014, the National Assembly of Ecuador banned bitcoin and decentralized digital currencies while the central bank stated that the online trading of cryptocurrencies is not forbidden. Still, bitcoin is not legal tender and is not an authorized payment method for goods and services.. Egypt In January 2018, the Grand Mufti of Egypt declared that cryptocurrency trading was forbidden under Islamic religious law due to the risk associated with the activity. While this is not legally binding, it does count as a high-level legal opinion. However, that ban was lifted in May 2019, easing restrictions by allowing companies with licenses to operate. Europe The European Union is taking a cautious approach to cryptocurrency regulation, with several initiatives underway to involve sector participants in the drafting of supportive rules. The focus appears to be on learning before regulating, while boosting innovation and taking into account the needs of the ecosystem. In April 2018, the parliament’s members voted by a large majority to support a December 2017 agreement with the European Council for measures aimed, in part, to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies in money laundering and terrorism financing. In early 2020, the EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) was signed into law, which inevitably put crypto service providers under more scrutiny.  India The Indian central bank has issued a couple of official warnings on bitcoin, and at the end of 2017 the country’s finance minister clarified in an interview that bitcoin is not legal tender. The government does not yet have any regulations that cover cryptocurrencies, although it is looking at recommendations. The central bank, however, has barred Indian financial institutions from working with cryptocurrency exchanges and other related services (a ban recently upheld by the country’s Supreme Court). In June 2020, there were rumors of a new ban on crypto, which industry experts later said were premature.  Iran In April 2018, Iran’s central bank and one of its principal market regulators said that financial businesses should not deal in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, CoinDesk reported on government censorship of cryptocurrency exchange websites operating in the country. In May 2020, the Iranian parliament proposed to include cryptocurrency in currency smuggling laws.  Japan Japan was the first country to expressly declare bitcoin “legal tender,” passing a law in early 2017 that also brought bitcoin exchanges under anti-money laundering and know-your-customer rules (although license applications have temporarily been suspended as the regulators deal with a hack on the Coincheck exchange in early 2018). Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has been cracking down on exchanges, suspending two, issuing improvement orders to several and mandating better security measures in five others. It has also established a cryptocurrency exchange industry study group which aims to examine institutional issues regarding bitcoin and other assets. In October 2019, the FSA issued additional guidelines for funds investing in crypto.  Japan, flag Kazakhstan According to 2018 reports, the National Bank of Kazakhstan recently hinted at plans to ban cryptocurrency trading and mining, although as yet no strict regulations have been passed. Kyrgyzstan The central bank of Kyrgyzstan declared in 2014 that using cryptocurrencies for transactions was against the law. In August 2019, the Ministry of Economy drafted a law to impose crypto mining taxation.  Malaysia Malaysia’s Securities Commission is working together with the country’s central bank on a cryptocurrency regulation framework. In early 2019, the country’s Securities Commission began to mandate approvals for ICOs as securities offerings. Malta In June 2018, The European island passed a series of blockchain-friendly laws, including one that details the registration requirements of cryptocurrency exchanges. Earlier in 2020, Malta Financial Services Authority published a document addressing issues related to offerings of security tokens. Mexico In 2014, Mexico’s central bank issued a statement blocking banks from dealing in virtual currencies. The following year, the finance ministry clarified that, although bitcoin was not “legal tender,” it could be used as payment and therefore was subject to the same anti-money laundering restrictions as cash and precious metals. At the end of 2017, Mexico’s national legislature approved a bill that would bring local bitcoin exchanges under the oversight of the central bank. Morocco Towards the end of 2017, Morocco’s foreign exchange authority declared that the use of cryptocurrencies within the country violated foreign exchange regulations and would be met with penalties. Namibia Namibia is one of the few countries to have expressly declared that purchases with bitcoin are “illegal.” Nigeria While Nigerian banks are prohibited from handling virtual currencies, the central bank is working on a white paper which will draft its official stance on use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Pakistan In April 2018, Pakistan’s central bank issued a statement barring financial companies in the country from working with cryptocurrency firms. In April 2019, the federal government introduced new regulations and licensing schemes for crypto firms.  Russia While cryptocurrencies are used in Russia for various payments and services, the Russian authorities have continued to propose new legislation that would crack down on crypto development around the country. In November 2019, the central bank said it would support a ban on crypto payments. New regulatory draft bills rolled out in early 2020, which would prohibit the issuance and operations of digital currencies in the country, including distributing crypto news. Singapore Hailed as a crypto haven of the world, Singapore has embraced an innovative approach toward cryptocurrency and blockchain, thanks to the leadership of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). In January 2020, the MAS announced a new regulatory framework to cover all Singapore-based crypto businesses and exchanges under anti-money laundering and counterrorist-financing rules. It later added a six-month grace period of license exemption for a number of crypto companies such as Binance, Coinbase, Gemini and Bitstamp. South Africa In 2017, the South Africa Reserve Bank implemented a “sandbox approach,” testing draft bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation with a selected handful of startups. In April 2020, the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group proposed that would increase oversight of crypto activities and mandate business to register with AML watchdog the Financial Intelligence Centre.  Johannesburg, South Africa South Korea In early 2018, South Korea banned anonymous virtual currency accounts. And in an effort to curb cryptocurrency speculation, the authorities are working on increased oversight of exchanges, although the governor of the Financial Supervisory Service has said the government will support “normal” cryptocurrency trading. In an interesting shift in strategy, a recent report in the South Korean press indicated that the country’s financial authorities are in talks with similar agencies in Japan and China over joint oversight of cryptocurrency investment. In April 2018, the Fair Trade Commission ordered 12 of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges to revise their user agreements. In 2020, lawmakers voted on new requirements for crypto exchanges, which would potentially kick out small players who can’t afford new regulatory burdens. Thailand After allegedly declaring bitcoin illegal, the Bank of Thailand issued a backtracking statement in 2014, clarifying that it is not legal tender (but not technically illegal), and warning of the risks. In March 2018, the government’s executive branch provisionally passed two royal decree drafts, establishing formal rules to protect cryptocurrency investors (as well as setting KYC requirements), and setting a tax on their capital gains. The drafts have yet to receive final cabinet approval. There were plans in August 2019 to include cryptocurrencies in the country’s anti-money laundering regime. United States of America The U.S. is plagued by a fragmented regulatory system, with legislators at both the state and the federal level responsible for layered jurisdictions and a complex separation of powers. Some states are more advanced than others in cryptocurrency oversight. New York, for instance, unveiled the controversial BitLicense in 2015, granting bitcoin businesses the official go-ahead to operate in the state (many startups pulled out of the state altogether rather than comply with the expensive requirements). In mid-2017, Washington passed a bill that applied money transmitter laws to bitcoin exchanges. New Hampshire requires bitcoin sellers to get a money transmitter license and post a $100,000 bond. In Texas, the state securities commission is monitoring (and, on occasion, shutting down) bitcoin-related investment opportunities. And California is in bitcoin regulation limbo after freezing progress on Bill 1326 which – while criticized for issues such as overly broad definitions – was seen as less oppressive than New York’s BitLicense. At the federal level, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s focus has been on the use of blockchain assets as securities, such as whether or not certain bitcoin investment funds should be sold to the public, and whether or not a certain offering is fraud. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has a bigger potential footprint in bitcoin regulation, given its designation of the cryptocurrency as a “commodity.” While it has yet to draw up comprehensive bitcoin regulations, its recent efforts have focused on monitoring the nascent futures market. It has also filed charges in several bitcoin-related schemes, which underlines its intent to exercise jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies whenever it suspects there may be fraud. The Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit association that aims to bring clarity and cohesion to state legislation, has drafted the Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Business Act, which several states are contemplating introducing in upcoming legislative sessions. The Act aims to spell out which virtual currency activities are money transmission businesses, and what type of license they would require. Critics fear it too closely resembles the New York BitLicense.  United Kingdom Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sees bitcoin as a “commodity,” and therefore does plan to regulate it. It has hinted, however, that it will step in to oversee bitcoin-related derivatives. This lack of consumer protection has been behind recent FCA warnings on the risks inherent in cryptocurrencies. In July 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority finalized its guidance on crypto assets, clarifying which tokens would fall under its jurisdiction. Ukraine The government of Ukraine has created a working group composed of regulators from various branches to draft cryptocurrency regulation proposals, including the determination of which agencies will have oversight and access. Also, a bill already before the legislature would bring cryptocurrency exchanges under the jurisdiction of the central bank. The Ministry of Digital Information said in February 2020 that it won’t be regulating the crypto mining sector.  Zimbabwe Late in 2017, a senior official from Zimbabwe’s central bank stated that bitcoin was not “actually legal.” While the extent to which it can and cannot be used is not yet clear, the central bank is apparently undertaking research to determine the risks. CoinDesk recently produced a podcast series about the future of bitcoin in Africa, including in Zimbabwe.  DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 14 Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Nov 23, 2020 at 10:37 p.m.  Mystery man While we may not know who Satoshi Nakamoto was, we know what he (or she) did. Nakamoto was the inventor of the Bitcoin protocol, publishing a paper via the Cryptography Mailing List in November 2008. Nakamoto then released the first version of the Bitcoin software client in 2009, participating with others on the project via mailing lists,until he finally began to fade from the community toward the end of 2010. Nakamoto worked with people on the open-source team but took care never to reveal anything personal about himself, and the last anyone heard from him was in the spring of 2011, when he said that he had “moved on to other things.” Was Satoshi Nakamoto Japanese? Best not to judge a book by its cover. Or in fact, maybe we should. “Satoshi” means “clear thinking, quick witted; wise.” “Naka” can mean “medium, inside, or relationship.” “Moto” can mean “origin” or “foundation.” Those things would all apply to the person who founded a movement by designing a clever algorithm. The problem, of course, is that each word has multiple possible meanings. We can’t know for sure whether Nakamoto was Japanese or not. In fact, it’s presumptuous to assume that he was actually a “he.” Allowing for the fact that “Satoshi Nakamoto” could have been a pseudonym, “he” could have been a “she,” or even a “they.” Does anyone know who Satoshi Nakamoto was? No, but the detective techniques that people use when guessing are sometimes even more intriguing than the answer. The New Yorker’s Joshua Davis believed that Satoshi Nakamoto was Michael Clear, a graduate cryptography student at Dublin’s Trinity College. He arrived at this conclusion by analyzing 80,000 words of Nakamoto’s online writings and searching for linguistic clues. He also suspected Finnish economic sociologist and former games developer Vili Lehdonvirta. Both have denied being bitcoin’s inventor. Michael Clear publicly denied being Satoshi at the 2013 Web Summit.  Adam Penenberg at Fast Company disputed that claim, arguing instead that Nakamoto may actually have been three people: Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry. He figured this out by typing unique phrases from Nakamoto’s bitcoin paper into Google, to see if they were used anywhere else. One of them, “computationally impractical to reverse,” turned up in a patent application made by these three for updating and distributing encryption keys. The bitcoin.org domain name originally used by Satoshi to publish the paper had been registered three days after the patent application was filed. It was registered in Finland, and one of the patent authors had traveled there six months before the domain was registered. All of them deny it. In any case, when bitcoin.org was registered on Aug. 18, 2008, the registrant actually used a Japanese anonymous registration service, and hosted it using a Japanese ISP. The registration for the site was only transferred to Finland on May 18, 2011, which weakens the Finland theory somewhat. Others think Nakamoto was Martii Malmi, a developer living in Finland who has been involved with bitcoin since the beginning and developed its user interface. Another possibility is Jed McCaleb, a lover of Japanese culture and resident of Japan, who created troubled bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox and cofounded decentralized payment systems Ripple and later Stellar. Another theory suggests that computer scientists Donal O’Mahony and Michael Peirce are Satoshi, based on a paper that they authored concerning digital payments, along with Hitesh Tewari, based on a book that they published together. O’Mahony and Tewari also studied at Trinity College, where Michael Clear was a student. Israeli scholars Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir of the Weizmann Institute retracted allegations made in a paper suggesting a link between Satoshi and Silk Road, the black market web site that was taken down by the FBI in October 2013. They had suggested a link between an address allegedly owned by Satoshi, and the site. Security researcher Dustin D. Trammell owned the address, and disputed claims that he was Satoshi. In May 2013, internet pioneer Ted Nelson threw another hat into the ring: Japanese mathematician Professor Shinichi Mochizuki, although he admits that the evidence is circumstantial at best. In February 2014, Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman claimed to have tracked down the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Dorian S. Nakamoto has since denied he knows anything about bitcoin, eventually hiring a lawyer and releasing an official statement to that effect.  No, Satoshi Nakamoto is not Dorian S. Nakamoto, a 64-year-old Japanese man living in California, probably.(Damian Dovarganes/AP) Hal Finney, Michael Weber, Wei Dai and several other developers were among those who are periodically named in media reports and online discussions as potential Satoshis. A group of forensic linguistics experts from Aston University believe the real creator of bitcoin is Nick Szabo, based upon analysis of the Bitcoin White Paper. Dominic Frisby, a comedian and a writer, also suggests that BitGold creator Szabo was the most likely candidate to be Satoshi in his book, “Bitcoin: The Future of Money.” His detailed analysis involved the linguistics of Satoshi’s writing, judging the level of technical skill in C++ and even Satoshi’s likely birthday. In Nathaniel Popper’s book, “Digitial Gold,” released in May 2015, Popper reveals that in a rare encounter at an event Szabo again denied that he was Satoshi. Then in early December 2015, reports by Wired and Gizmodo tentatively claimed to have identified Nakamoto as Australian entrepreneur Craig S Wright. WIRED cited “an anonymous source close to Wright” who provided a cache of emails, transcripts and other documents that point to Wright’s role in the creation of bitcoin. Gizmodo cited a cache of documents sourced from someone claiming to have hacked Wright’s business email account, as well as efforts to interview individuals close to him. While most other individuals speculated to be Nakamoto have insisted they are not the inventor of Bitcoin, Wright is the exception, claiming to be Nakamoto. However, many believe the evidence so far presented to be insufficient to confirm this claim, and some even think the reports that made the initial connection were misled by Wright himself in an elaborate hoax. So what do we know about Satoshi Nakamoto? One thing we know, based on interviews with people that were involved with him at an early stage in the development of bitcoin, is that he thought the system out very thoroughly. His coding wasn’t conventional, according to core developer Jeff Garzik, in that he didn’t apply the same rigorous testing that you would expect from a classic software engineer. How rich is Satoshi Nakamoto? An analysis by Sergio Lerner, an authority on bitcoin and cryptography, suggests Nakamoto mined many of the early blocks in the bitcoin network, and that he had built up a fortune of around 1 million unspent bitcoins. That hoard would be worth $18.4 billion U.S. dollars as of Nov. 23, 2020. What is Satoshi Nakamoto doing now? No one knows what Nakamoto is up to, but one of the last emails he sent to a software developer, dated Apr. 23, 2011, said, “I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin and everyone.” Did Satoshi Nakamoto work for the government? There are rumors, of course. People have interpreted his name as meaning “central intelligence,” but people will see whatever they want to see. Such is the nature of conspiracy theories. The obvious question would be why one of the three-letter agencies would be interested in creating a cryptocurrency that would subsequently be used as an anonymous trading mechanism, causing senators and the FBI alike to wring their hands about potential terrorism and other criminal endeavors. No doubt conspiracy theorists will have their views on that, too. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Core developer Jeff Garzik puts it succinctly, “Satoshi published an open-source system for the purpose that you didn’t have to know who he was, and trust who he was, or care about his knowledge,” he points out. Open-source code makes it impossible to hide secrets. “The source code spoke for itself.” Moreover, it was smart to use a pseudonym, he argues, because it forced people to focus on the technology itself rather than on the personality behind it. At the end of the day, bitcoin is now far bigger than Satoshi Nakamoto. Having said that, if the real Satoshi Nakamoto is out there – get in touch! DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 15 What is the Difference Between Litecoin and Bitcoin? Feb 16, 2014 at 2:23 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:13 p.m. In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched bitcoin as the world’s first cryptocurrency. The code is open source, which means it can be modified by anyone and freely used for other projects. Many cryptocurrencies have launched with modified versions of this code, with varying levels of success.  Litecoin Logo Source: Flickr Litecoin was announced in 2011 with the goal of being the ‘silver’ to bitcoin’s ‘gold’. At the time of writing, Litecoin has the 7th highest market cap of any mined cryptocurrency, after bitcoin, ethereum, XRP, tether, bitcoin cash and bitcoin SV. Here’s our guide to show you the crucial difference between bitcoin and litecoin. At-a-glance differences bitcoin litecoin Coin limit 21 Million 84 Million Algorithm SHA-256 Scrypt Mean block time 10 minutes 2.5 minutes Difficulty retarget 2016 block 2016 blocks Block reward details Halved every 210,000 blocks. Halved every 840,000 blocks Initial reward 50 BTC 50 LTC Current block reward 6.25 BTC 12.5 LTC Block explorer blockchain.info block-explorer.com Created by Satoshi Nakamoto Charles Lee Creation date January 3rd, 2009 October 7th, 2011 Market cap $167.28B $2.68B Bitcoin Statistics Litecoin Statistics Mining differences Just like bitcoin, litecoin is a cryptocurrency that is generated by mining. Litecoin was created in October 2011 by former Google engineer Charles Lee. The motivation behind its creation was to improve upon bitcoin. The key difference for end-users being the 2.5 minute time to generate a block, as opposed to bitcoin’s 10 minutes. Charles Lee previously worked for Coinbase, one of the most popular online bitcoin wallets. He now dedicates his time to the Litecoin Foundation.  ASIC Mining Source: Shutterstock For miners and enthusiasts though, litecoin holds a much more important difference to bitcoin, and that is its different proof of work algorithm. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, which involves calculations that can be greatly accelerated in parallel processing. It is this characteristic that has given rise to the intense race in ASIC technology, and has caused an exponential increase in bitcoin’s difficulty level. Litecoin, however, uses the scrypt algorithm – originally named as s-crypt, but pronounced as ‘script’. This algorithm incorporates the SHA-256 algorithm, but its calculations are much more serialised than those of SHA-256 in bitcoin. Scrypt favours large amounts of high-speed RAM, rather than raw processing power alone. As a result, scrypt is known as a ‘memory hard problem‘. The consequences of using scrypt mean that there has not been as much of an ‘arms race’ in litecoin (and other scrypt currencies), because there is (so far) no ASIC technology available for this algorithm. However, this is soon to change, thanks to companies like Alpha Technologies, which is now taking preorders.  GPU mining Source: Wikipedia To highlight the difference in hashing power, at the time of writing, the total hashing rate of the bitcoin network is over 20,000 Terra Hashes per second, while litecoin is just 95,642 Mega Hashes per second. For the time being, ‘state of the art’ litecoin mining rigs come in the form of custom PCs fitted with multiple graphics cards (ie: GPUs). These devices can handle the calculations needed for scrypt and have access to blisteringly fast memory built into their own circuit boards. There was a time when people could use GPU mining for bitcoin, but ASICs have made this method not worth the effort. Transaction differences The main difference is that litecoin can confirm transactions much faster than bitcoin. The implications of that are as follows: * Litecoin can handle a higher volume of transactions thanks to its faster block generation. If bitcoin were to try to match this, it would require significant updates to the code that everyone on the bitcoin network is currently running. * The disadvantage of this higher volume of blocks is that the litecoin blockchain will be proportionately larger than bitcoin's, with more orphaned blocks. * The faster block time of litecoin reduces the risk of double spending attacks – this is theoretical in the case of both networks having the same hashing power. * A merchant who waited for a minimum of two confirmations would only need to wait five minutes, whereas they would have to wait 10 minutes for just one confirmation with bitcoin. Transaction speed (or faster block time) and confirmation speed are often touted as moot points by many involved in bitcoin, as most merchants would allow zero-confirmation transactions for most purchases. It is necessary to bear in mind that a transaction is instant, it is just confirmed by the network as it propagates. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 16 How to Accept Bitcoin Payments for Your Store Apr 27, 2014 at 6:16 a.m. Nov 16, 2020 at 12:43 p.m. One issue holding bitcoin back from wider adoption is the lack of businesses that accept the digital currency as payment. This is a chicken-and-egg problem. If more businesses had the ability to accept bitcoin, it might encourage consumers to start obtaining and spending it, and vice versa. With this in mind, here is our guide to accepting bitcoin in a physical store. Person-to-person payments The easiest way to accept bitcoin payments is in-person, simply by getting your customer to send the correct amount of bitcoin (BTC) to your digital wallet. This is similar to thinking of it as a cash-in-hand payment.  A simple QR code system to accept bitcoin payment. This can be done via many smartphone apps, such as the Bitcoin Wallet app by Andreas Schildbach, on Android. There are also options available on the Windows Phone app store for users of that OS. Some months ago, Apple removed all bitcoin wallet apps from its App Store. However, on 2nd June, the company rescinded this policy, once again paving the way for wallet apps on iOS devices. These are already starting to appear, with Blockchain, Coinbase and others apps now available. We can expect many more to arrive in coming months too. Read More: How Do Bitcoin Transactions Work? Another alternative is CoinBox which is specifically designed for merchants wanting a straightforward option to receive payments. In these scenarios, the merchant enters the price of an item or service into the phone, which then presents a QR code containing the amount to be paid and the address the funds are sent to. The customer scans the QR code with their bitcoin wallet app and the payment is sent. All of these simple systems are ideal for small businesses testing bitcoin acceptance or for those doing odd-jobs for small amounts. Businesses which are larger in scale will likely look into a dedicated solution that fits in with their existing POS systems. Merchant bitcoin point-of-sale (POS) solutions There is also a growing number of commerce-specific options that aim to streamline the process of taking bitcoin payments. The following services offer a variety of POS solutions for merchants, both online and off. Coinify Coinify, a Danish firm that acquired BIPS and Coinzone, offers POS solutions for both brick-and-mortar and online stores. Merchants can get paid in bitcoin or fiat currency – or a mixture of the two – and its mobile app, Coinify POS, works with both Android and iOS devices.  POS promo For online sellers, Coinify offers various integration tools, such as payment buttons, shopping cart plugins or hosted invoicing. CoinKite CoinKite is a new startup that offers a bitcoin payment terminal looking exactly like the over-the-counter chip-and-PIN terminals we are so used to using in stores today. This handset reads a bitcoin-based debit card, also offered by CoinKite. The handsets can also serve as a bitcoin and litecoin ATM, as well as offer the option to print QR codes for customers to scan with their smartphone apps. CoinBase Coinbase is another payment processor that provides a point of sale app (Android) for bricks-and-mortar retailers. While it currently only supports US bank accounts as a funding source, it offers extensive e-commerce support. Not only does it offer an HTML code segment for easily inserting payment buttons into your website, it also provides plugins for WordPress, WooCommerce, Megento, and ZenCart. BitPay BitPay is an international payments processor for businesses and charities. It is integrated into the SoftTouch POS system for bricks-and-mortar retail stores. However, BitPay has an API which could be implemented into any other POS system with some coding work. BitPay has various tariffs that merchants can subscribe to, enabling features such as using the service on a custom domain (for online stores), exporting transactions to QuickBooks, etc. Blockchain Merchant Blockchain have also produced a merchant app for Android devices. Blockchain Merchant promises instant transactions, 0% fees on payments and it has multiple linguistic versions for use around the world. Revel As mentioned in our recent report: “Revel Systems offers a range of POS solutions for quick-service restaurants, self-service kiosks, grocery stores and retail outlets, among other merchants. POS packages start at $3,000 plus a monthly fee for an iPad, cash drawer and scanner.” It was recently announced that Revel will also include bitcoin as a method of payment in its POS software. BitXATM Germany-based startup BitXatm has announced the arrival of its Sumo Pro – a cryptocurrency ATM with a POS (point of sale) function that will appeal to merchants seeking to easily accept payments from customers in digital currencies. Costing €2,900 (around $3,993), the stand-alone machine offers a generous 17-inch touchscreen and has the ability to accept any fiat currency. Additionally, it can accept or dispense any digital currency, according to the company’s website. Paystand California-based online payment processor PayStand provides US-based websites and mobile applications another way to accept payments such e-checks, credit cards and bitcoin. Paystand have recieved $1m in investment as part of its initial seed-funding round. Founded in 2009, PayStand aims to be a multi-payment gateway that eliminates merchant transaction fees, in part by supporting digital currency acceptance. Coin of Sale A new bitcoin POS system, Coin of Sale, is trying to make it easier for merchants to accept bitcoin payments for their goods and services. Created by Singapore-based expat Thomas Forgac, Coin of Sale works with both Android and iOS devices. When users sign up for an account, they are automatically set up with an Electrum wallet. The merchant must simply enter the amount of money that needs to be charged and the app will automatically generate a QR code for it. The customer then scans this QR code to complete the payment. XBTerminal XBTerminal  provides a bitcoin POS device that allows the merchant’s customers to pay from any mobile bitcoin wallet by NFC or QR code. Payment from offline mobile devices is supported by bluetooth. Payments take place through the company’s platform and, if desired, bitcoin can be converted instantly to fiat currency at the time of sale. The company also provides web apps and an online interface for its payments solution for those that wish to invest in third-party hardware. DIY With bitcoin, it is possible to forego the fees of using a payment processor or provider, and simply integrate payments into your own custom system. Those with a technical background have achieved this, such as Stephen Early, who integrated bitcoin payments into the POS system of his UK pubs single-handedly. Get noticed Whether you have an online or a bricks-and-mortar store, if you accept bitcoin, you need to publicize the fact. You can find a ‘bitcoin accepted here’ sign at the bitcoin wiki.  We Accept Bitcoin A sign with more impact may alert customers to the fact you accept bitcoin. Cryptocables produces a range of neon and LED signage. Additionally, Coco Mats ’n More offersitcoin-logoed doormats and ‘Bitcoin Accepted Here’ mats for merchants wanting to advertise the cryptocurrency as a payment option.   bitcoin-is-accepted-here-doormat Last updated 14th October 2015 DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. TECHNICAL ANALYSIS Bitcoin Holds Short-Term Support; Faces Resistance at $40K Damanick Dantes1 hour ago BTC struggled over the weekend amid headline risk from China. Price recoveries limited to $40K.  COINSHARES CoinShares First-Quarter Earnings More Than Quadruple Jamie Crawley2 hours ago The Nasdaq-listed digital asset manager reported a year-on-year increase in comprehensive income of $34.9 million.  BITCOIN Bitcoin, Ether Bounce After Disastrous Week for Crypto Market Omkar Godbole2 hours ago The battered crypto market is showing signs of life amid bargain hunting by wealthy investors.  CBDC South Korea’s Central Bank to Choose Supplier for Digital Currency Pilot Jamie Crawley3 hours ago The Bank of Korea is looking for a technology supplier to explore a digital currency in a test environment.  PWC Crypto Hedge Funds Show Growing Appetite for DeFi: PwC Ian AllisonYesterday at 8:00 p.m. Crypto hedge funds had $3.8 billion in assets under management in 2020. Chainlink, Polkadot and Aave tokens proved popular.  BITCOIN Bitcoin, Ether Now Down 50% From Last Month’s ATHs as Rout Resumes Kevin ReynoldsBradley KeounMuyao ShenOmkar GodboleYesterday at 1:38 p.m. Even if Huobi is the specific catalyst for today's plunge, it's just the latest negative news in the sector that has been battered in the last few weeks.  CHINA Huobi Scales Back Due to China Crackdown; Bitcoin Falls Below $32K, Ether Past $2K David PanYesterday at 9:59 a.m. The exchange made the move on the heels of a series of crackdown notices from Bejing in recent weeks.  DEFI People Behind Crypto Protocol DeFi100 May Have Absconded With $32M in Investor Funds Kevin ReynoldsMay 22, 2021 A not-so-classy message on the DeFi100.org website told investors they'd been fooled and "you can't do [the slightest thing] about it."  GOLDMAN SACHS Goldman’s Crypto Chief Worries About Fraud, but Not Cryptocurrency’s Future James RubinMay 22, 2021 The investment banking giant’s Mathew McDermott said the company would continue to expand its offerings in the cryptocurrency space to meet surging demand.  Bitcoin From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search "₿" redirects here. It is not to be confused with "฿" for Thai baht. Bitcoin Prevailing bitcoin logo Denominations Plural bitcoins Symbol ₿ (Unicode: U+20BF ₿ BITCOIN SIGN (HTML ₿))[a] Ticker symbol BTC, XBT[b] Precision 10−8 Subunits 1⁄1000 millibitcoin 1⁄100000000 satoshi[2] Development Original author(s) Satoshi Nakamoto White paper "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System"[4] Implementation(s) Bitcoin Core Initial release 0.1.0 / 9 January 2009 (12 years ago) Latest release 0.21.1 / 2 May 2021 (20 days ago)[3] Code repository https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin Development status Active Website bitcoin.org Ledger Ledger start 3 January 2009 (12 years ago) Timestamping scheme Proof-of-work (partial hash inversion) Hash function SHA-256 Issuance schedule Decentralized (block reward) Initially ₿50 per block, halved every 210,000 blocks[7] Block reward ₿6.25[c] Block time 10 minutes Block explorer Many implementations Circulating supply ₿18,660,000 (as of 20 March 2021) Supply limit ₿21,000,000[5][d] a. ^ The symbol was encoded in Unicode version 10.0 at position U+20BF ₿ BITCOIN SIGN in the Currency Symbols block in June 2017.[1] b. ^ Compatible with ISO 4217. c. ^ May 2020 to approximately 2024, halved approximately every four years d. ^ The supply will approach, but never reach, ₿21 million. Issuance will permanently halt c. 2140 at ₿20,999,999.9769.[6]:ch. 8 This article contains special characters. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols. Bitcoin (₿) is a cryptocurrency invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.[8] The currency began use in 2009[9] when its implementation was released as open-source software.[6]:ch. 1 Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.[7] Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services,[10] but the real-world value of the coins is extremely volatile.[11] Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimated that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.[12] Users choose to participate in the digital currency for a number of reasons: ideologies such as commitment to anarchism, decentralization and libertarianism, convenience, using the currency as an investment and pseudonymity of transactions. Increased use has led to a desire among governments for regulation in order to tax, facilitate legal use in trade and for other reasons (such as investigations for money laundering and price manipulation). Bitcoin has been criticized for its use in illegal transactions, the large amount of electricity (and thus carbon footprint) used by mining, price volatility, and thefts from exchanges. Some economists and commentators have characterized it as a speculative bubble at various times. Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin.[11][13][14] The word bitcoin was defined in a white paper published on 31 October 2008.[4][15] It is a compound of the words bit and coin.[16] No uniform convention for bitcoin capitalization exists; some sources use Bitcoin, capitalized, to refer to the technology and network and bitcoin, lowercase, for the unit of account.[17] The Wall Street Journal,[18] The Chronicle of Higher Education,[19] and the Oxford English Dictionary[16] advocate use of lowercase bitcoin in all cases. Contents 1 History 1.1 Creation 1.2 2011–2012 1.3 2013–2016 1.4 2017–2019 1.5 2020–present 2 Design 2.1 Units and divisibility 2.2 Blockchain 2.3 Supply 2.4 Transactions 2.5 Ownership 2.6 Mining 2.7 Wallets 2.8 Decentralization 2.9 Privacy & Fungibility 3 Ideology 3.1 Austrian economics roots 3.2 Anarchism and libertarianism 4 Economics 4.1 Acceptance by merchants 4.2 Financial institutions 4.3 As an investment 4.4 Venture capital 4.5 Price and volatility 5 Legal status, tax and regulation 5.1 Regulatory warnings 5.2 Price manipulation investigation 6 Analysis 6.1 Economic concerns 6.2 Energy consumption and carbon footprint 6.3 Use in illegal transactions 7 Software implementation 8 In popular culture 8.1 Term "HODL" 8.2 Literature 8.3 Film 8.4 Academia 9 See also 10 Notes 11 References 12 External links History Main article: History of bitcoin Creation The domain name bitcoin.org was registered on 18 August 2008.[20] On 31 October 2008, a link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System[4] was posted to a cryptography mailing list.[21] Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin software as open-source code and released it in January 2009.[22][23][9] Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.[8] On 3 January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the starting block of the chain, known as the genesis block.[24][25] Embedded in the coinbase of this block was the text "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks".[9] This note references a headline published by The Times and has been interpreted as both a timestamp and a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.[26]:18 The receiver of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who had created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPoW) in 2004.[27] Finney downloaded the bitcoin software on its release date, and on 12 January 2009 received ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.[28][29] Other early cypherpunk supporters were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, creator of b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of bit gold.[24] In 2010, the first known commercial transaction using bitcoin occurred when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John's pizzas for ₿10,000.[30] Blockchain analysts estimate that Nakamoto had mined about one million bitcoins[31] before disappearing in 2010 when he handed the network alert key and control of the code repository over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen later became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.[32][33] Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development path of bitcoin, in contrast to the perceived authority of Nakamoto's contributions.[34][33] 2011–2012 After early "proof-of-concept" transactions, the first major users of bitcoin were black markets, such as Silk Road. During its 30 months of existence, beginning in February 2011, Silk Road exclusively accepted bitcoins as payment, transacting 9.9 million in bitcoins, worth about $214 million.[35]:222 In 2011, the price started at $0.30 per bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for the year. The price rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month, the price fell to $11.00. The next month it fell to $7.80, and in another month to $4.77.[36] In 2012, bitcoin prices started at $5.27, growing to $13.30 for the year.[36] By 9 January the price had risen to $7.38, but then crashed by 49% to $3.80 over the next 16 days. The price then rose to $16.41 on 17 August, but fell by 57% to $7.10 over the next three days.[37] The Bitcoin Foundation was founded in September 2012 to promote bitcoin's development and uptake.[38] On 1 November 2011, the reference implementation Bitcoin-Qt version 0.5.0 was released. It introduced a front end that used the Qt user interface toolkit.[39] The software previously used Berkeley DB for database management. Developers switched to LevelDB in release 0.8 in order to reduce blockchain synchronization time.[citation needed] The update to this release resulted in a minor blockchain fork on 11 March 2013. The fork was resolved shortly afterwards.[citation needed] Seeding nodes through IRC was discontinued in version 0.8.2. From version 0.9.0 the software was renamed to Bitcoin Core. Transaction fees were reduced again by a factor of ten as a means to encourage microtransactions.[citation needed] Although Bitcoin Core does not use OpenSSL for the operation of the network, the software did use OpenSSL for remote procedure calls. Version 0.9.1 was released to remove the network's vulnerability to the Heartbleed bug.[citation needed] 2013–2016 In 2013, prices started at $13.30 rising to $770 by 1 January 2014.[36] In March 2013 the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with different rules due to a bug in version 0.8 of the bitcoin software. The two blockchains operated simultaneously for six hours, each with its own version of the transaction history from the moment of the split. Normal operation was restored when the majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of the bitcoin software, selecting the backwards-compatible version of the blockchain. As a result, this blockchain became the longest chain and could be accepted by all participants, regardless of their bitcoin software version.[40] During the split, the Mt. Gox exchange briefly halted bitcoin deposits and the price dropped by 23% to $37[40][41] before recovering to the previous level of approximately $48 in the following hours.[42] The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) established regulatory guidelines for "decentralized virtual currencies" such as bitcoin, classifying American bitcoin miners who sell their generated bitcoins as Money Service Businesses (MSBs), that are subject to registration or other legal obligations.[43][44][45] In April, exchanges BitInstant and Mt. Gox experienced processing delays due to insufficient capacity[46] resulting in the bitcoin price dropping from $266 to $76 before returning to $160 within six hours.[47] The bitcoin price rose to $259 on 10 April, but then crashed by 83% to $45 over the next three days.[37] On 15 May 2013, US authorities seized accounts associated with Mt. Gox after discovering it had not registered as a money transmitter with FinCEN in the US.[48][49] On 23 June 2013, the US Drug Enforcement Administration listed ₿11.02 as a seized asset in a United States Department of Justice seizure notice pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881. This marked the first time a government agency had seized bitcoin.[50] The FBI seized about ₿30,000[51] in October 2013 from the dark web website Silk Road, following the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.[52][53][54] These bitcoins were sold at blind auction by the United States Marshals Service to venture capital investor Tim Draper.[51] Bitcoin's price rose to $755 on 19 November and crashed by 50% to $378 the same day. On 30 November 2013, the price reached $1,163 before starting a long-term crash, declining by 87% to $152 in January 2015.[37] On 5 December 2013, the People's Bank of China prohibited Chinese financial institutions from using bitcoins.[55] After the announcement, the value of bitcoins dropped,[56] and Baidu no longer accepted bitcoins for certain services.[57] Buying real-world goods with any virtual currency had been illegal in China since at least 2009.[58] In 2014, prices started at $770 and fell to $314 for the year.[36] On 30 July 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation started accepting donations of bitcoin.[59] In 2015, prices started at $314 and rose to $434 for the year. In 2016, prices rose and climbed up to $998 by 1 January 2017.[36] Release 0.10 of the software was made public on 16 February 2015. It introduced a consensus library which gave programmers easy access to the rules governing consensus on the network. In version 0.11.2 developers added a new feature which allowed transactions to be made unspendable until a specific time in the future.[60] Bitcoin Core 0.12.1 was released on 15 April 2016, and enabled multiple soft forks to occur concurrently.[61] Around 100 contributors worked on Bitcoin Core 0.13.0 which was released on 23 August 2016. In July 2016, the CheckSequenceVerify soft fork activated.[62] In October 2016, Bitcoin Core's 0.13.1 release featured the "Segwit" soft fork that included a scaling improvement aiming to optimize the bitcoin blocksize.[citation needed] The patch which was originally finalised in April, and 35 developers were engaged to deploy it.[citation needed] This release featured Segregated Witness (SegWit) which aimed to place downward pressure on transaction fees as well as increase the maximum transaction capacity of the network.[63][non-primary source needed] The 0.13.1 release endured extensive testing and research leading to some delays in its release date.[citation needed] SegWit prevents various forms of transaction malleability.[64][non-primary source needed] 2017–2019 On 15 July 2017, the controversial Segregated Witness [SegWit] software upgrade was approved ("locked-in"). Segwit was intended to support the Lightning Network as well as improve scalability.[65] SegWit was subsequently activated on the network on 24 August 2017. The bitcoin price rose almost 50% in the week following SegWit's approval.[65] On 21 July 2017, bitcoin was trading at $2,748, up 52% from 14 July 2017's $1,835.[65] Supporters of large blocks who were dissatisfied with the activation of SegWit forked the software on 1 August 2017 to create Bitcoin Cash, becoming one of many forks of bitcoin such as Bitcoin Gold.[66] Prices started at $998 in 2017 and rose to $13,412.44 on 1 January 2018,[36] after reaching its all-time high of $19,783.06 on 17 December 2017.[67] China banned trading in bitcoin, with first steps taken in September 2017, and a complete ban that started on 1 February 2018. Bitcoin prices then fell from $9,052 to $6,914 on 5 February 2018.[37] The percentage of bitcoin trading in the Chinese renminbi fell from over 90% in September 2017 to less than 1% in June 2018.[68] Throughout the rest of the first half of 2018, bitcoin's price fluctuated between $11,480 and $5,848. On 1 July 2018, bitcoin's price was $6,343.[69][70] The price on 1 January 2019 was $3,747, down 72% for 2018 and down 81% since the all-time high.[69][71] In September 2018, an anonymous party discovered and reported an invalid-block denial-of-server vulnerability to developers of Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin Unlimited. Further analysis by bitcoin developers showed the issue could also allow the creation of blocks violating the 21 million coin limit and CVE-2018-17144 was assigned and the issue resolved.[72][non-primary source needed] Bitcoin prices were negatively affected by several hacks or thefts from cryptocurrency exchanges, including thefts from Coincheck in January 2018, Bithumb in June, and Bancor in July. For the first six months of 2018, $761 million worth of cryptocurrencies was reported stolen from exchanges.[73] Bitcoin's price was affected even though other cryptocurrencies were stolen at Coinrail and Bancor as investors worried about the security of cryptocurrency exchanges.[74][75][76] In September 2019 the Intercontinental Exchange (the owner of the NYSE) began trading of bitcoin futures on its exchange called Bakkt.[77] Bakkt also announced that it would launch options on bitcoin in December 2019.[78] In December 2019, YouTube removed bitcoin and cryptocurrency videos, but later restored the content after judging they had "made the wrong call."[79] In February 2019, Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga Fintech Solutions failed with approximately $200 million missing.[80] By June 2019 the price had recovered to $13,000.[81] 2020–present According to CoinMetrics and Forbes, on 11 March 281,000 bitcoins were sold by owners who held them for only thirty days. This compared to ₿4,131 that had laid dormant for a year or more, indicating that the vast majority of the bitcoin volatility on that day was from recent buyers.[81] During the week of 11 March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken experienced an 83% increase in the number of account signups over the week of bitcoin's price collapse, a result of buyers looking to capitalize on the low price.[81] On 13 March 2020, bitcoin fell below $4000 during a broad COVID-19 pandemic related market selloff, after trading above $10,000 in February 2020.[82] In August 2020, MicroStrategy invested $250 million in bitcoin as a treasury reserve asset.[83] In October 2020, Square, Inc. put approximately 1% of their total assets ($50 million) in bitcoin.[84] In November 2020, PayPal announced that all users in the US could buy, hold, or sell bitcoin using PayPal.[85] On 30 November 2020, bitcoin hit a new all-time high of $19,860 topping the previous high from December 2017.[86] Alexander Vinnik, founder of BTC-e, was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison for money laundering in France while refusing to testify during his trial.[87] In December 2020 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company announced it has purchased $100 million in bitcoin, or roughly 0.04% of its general investment account.[88] On 19 January 2021, Elon Musk placed #Bitcoin in his Twitter profile tweeting "In retrospect, it was inevitable", which caused the price to briefly rise about $5000 in an hour to $37,299.[89] On 25 January 2021 Microstrategy announced it continued to buy bitcoin and as of the same date it had holdings of ₿70,784 worth $2.38 billion.[90] On 8 February 2021 Tesla's announcement that it had purchased $1.5 billion in bitcoin and planned to start accepting bitcoin as payment for vehicles pushed the bitcoin price to an all-time high of $44,141.[91] On 18 February 2021, Elon Musk said that "owning bitcoin was only a little better than holding conventional cash, but that the slight difference made it a better asset to hold".[92] It was announced in September 2020, that the Canton of Zug (in Switzerland) will start to accept tax payments in bitcoin from February 2021.[93][94] Design  Graph of the elliptic curve named secp256k1 over the algebraic number field of real numbers,   2 Bitcoin is based on an elliptic curve called secp256k1 and encrypted with the ECDSA algorithm.[95][better source needed] The equation for the Bitcoin secp256k1 curve is   2=  3+7.[96][better source needed] Bitcoin has a proposed Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) that would add support for Schnorr signatures.[97]:101 Units and divisibility The unit of account of the bitcoin system is a bitcoin. Ticker symbols used to represent bitcoin are BTC[a] and XBT.[b][101]:2 Its Unicode character is ₿.[1] Small amounts of bitcoin used as alternative units are millibitcoin (mBTC), and satoshi (sat). Named in homage to bitcoin's creator, a satoshi is the smallest amount within bitcoin representing 1⁄100000000 bitcoins, one hundred millionth of a bitcoin.[2] A millibitcoin equals 1⁄1000 bitcoins; one thousandth of a bitcoin or 100,000 satoshis.[102] Blockchain  Data structure of blocks in the ledger.  Number of bitcoin transactions per month, semilogarithmic plot[103]  Number of unspent transaction outputs[104] For broader coverage of this topic, see Blockchain. The bitcoin blockchain is a public ledger that records bitcoin transactions.[105] It is implemented as a chain of blocks, each block containing a hash of the previous block up to the genesis block[c] of the chain. A network of communicating nodes running bitcoin software maintains the blockchain.[35]:215–219 Transactions of the form payer X sends Y bitcoins to payee Z are broadcast to this network using readily available software applications. Network nodes can validate transactions, add them to their copy of the ledger, and then broadcast these ledger additions to other nodes. To achieve independent verification of the chain of ownership each network node stores its own copy of the blockchain.[106] At varying intervals of time averaging to every 10 minutes, a new group of accepted transactions, called a block, is created, added to the blockchain, and quickly published to all nodes, without requiring central oversight. This allows bitcoin software to determine when a particular bitcoin was spent, which is needed to prevent double-spending. A conventional ledger records the transfers of actual bills or promissory notes that exist apart from it, but the blockchain is the only place that bitcoins can be said to exist in the form of unspent outputs of transactions.[6]:ch. 5 Individual blocks, public addresses and transactions within blocks can be examined using a blockchain explorer.[citation needed] Supply This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)  Total bitcoins in circulation.[104] The successful miner finding the new block is allowed by the rest of the network to reward themselves with newly created bitcoins and transaction fees.[107] As of 11 May 2020,[citation needed] the reward amounted to 6.25 newly created bitcoins per block added to the blockchain,[citation needed] plus any transaction fees from payments processed by the block. To mine half of the supply of bitcoins took four years but the remainder will take another 120 years, because of an artificial process called "bitcoin halving" according to which miners are compensated by fewer BTC as time goes on.[citation needed] To claim the reward, a special transaction called a coinbase is included with the processed payments.[6]:ch. 8 All bitcoins in existence have been created in such coinbase transactions. The bitcoin protocol specifies that the reward for adding a block will be halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every four years). Eventually, the reward will decrease to zero, and the limit of 21 million bitcoins[d] will be reached c. 2140; the record keeping will then be rewarded solely by transaction fees.[108] In other words, Nakamoto set a monetary policy based on artificial scarcity at bitcoin's inception that the total number of bitcoins could never exceed 21 million. New bitcoins are created roughly every ten minutes and the rate at which they are generated drops by half about every four years until all will be in circulation.[109] Transactions See also: Bitcoin network Transactions are defined using a Forth-like scripting language.[6]:ch. 5 Transactions consist of one or more inputs and one or more outputs. When a user sends bitcoins, the user designates each address and the amount of bitcoin being sent to that address in an output. To prevent double spending, each input must refer to a previous unspent output in the blockchain.[110] The use of multiple inputs corresponds to the use of multiple coins in a cash transaction. Since transactions can have multiple outputs, users can send bitcoins to multiple recipients in one transaction. As in a cash transaction, the sum of inputs (coins used to pay) can exceed the intended sum of payments. In such a case, an additional output is used, returning the change back to the payer.[110] Any input satoshis not accounted for in the transaction outputs become the transaction fee.[110] Though transaction fees are optional, miners can choose which transactions to process and prioritize those that pay higher fees.[110] Miners may choose transactions based on the fee paid relative to their storage size, not the absolute amount of money paid as a fee. These fees are generally measured in satoshis per byte (sat/b). The size of transactions is dependent on the number of inputs used to create the transaction, and the number of outputs.[6]:ch. 8 The blocks in the blockchain were originally limited to 32 megabytes in size. The block size limit of one megabyte was introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010. Eventually the block size limit of one megabyte created problems for transaction processing, such as increasing transaction fees and delayed processing of transactions.[111] Andreas Antonopoulos has stated Lightning Network is a potential scaling solution and referred to lightning as a second layer routing network.[6]:ch. 8 Ownership  Simplified chain of ownership as illustrated in the bitcoin whitepaper.[4] In practice, a transaction can have more than one input and more than one output.[110] In the blockchain, bitcoins are registered to bitcoin addresses. Creating a bitcoin address requires nothing more than picking a random valid private key and computing the corresponding bitcoin address. This computation can be done in a split second. But the reverse, computing the private key of a given bitcoin address, is practically unfeasible.[6]:ch. 4 Users can tell others or make public a bitcoin address without compromising its corresponding private key. Moreover, the number of valid private keys is so vast that it is extremely unlikely someone will compute a key-pair that is already in use and has funds. The vast number of valid private keys makes it unfeasible that brute force could be used to compromise a private key. To be able to spend their bitcoins, the owner must know the corresponding private key and digitally sign the transaction. The network verifies the signature using the public key; the private key is never revealed.[6]:ch. 5 If the private key is lost, the bitcoin network will not recognize any other evidence of ownership;[35] the coins are then unusable, and effectively lost. For example, in 2013 one user claimed to have lost 7,500 bitcoins, worth $7.5 million at the time, when he accidentally discarded a hard drive containing his private key.[112] About 20% of all bitcoins are believed to be lost -they would have had a market value of about $20 billion at July 2018 prices.[113] To ensure the security of bitcoins, the private key must be kept secret.[6]:ch. 10 If the private key is revealed to a third party, e.g. through a data breach, the third party can use it to steal any associated bitcoins.[114] As of December 2017, around 980,000 bitcoins have been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges.[115] Regarding ownership distribution, as of 16 March 2018, 0.5% of bitcoin wallets own 87% of all bitcoins ever mined.[116] Mining See also: Bitcoin network § Mining  Early bitcoin miners used GPUs for mining, as they were better suited to the proof-of-work algorithm than CPUs.[117]  Later amateurs mined bitcoins with specialized FPGA and ASIC chips. The chips pictured have become obsolete due to increasing difficulty.  Today, bitcoin mining companies dedicate facilities to housing and operating large amounts of high-performance mining hardware.[118]  Semi-log plot of relative mining difficulty[e][104] Mining is a record-keeping service done through the use of computer processing power.[f] Miners keep the blockchain consistent, complete, and unalterable by repeatedly grouping newly broadcast transactions into a block, which is then broadcast to the network and verified by recipient nodes.[105] Each block contains a SHA-256 cryptographic hash of the previous block,[105] thus linking it to the previous block and giving the blockchain its name.[6]:ch. 7[105] To be accepted by the rest of the network, a new block must contain a proof-of-work (PoW).[105] The system used is based on Adam Back's 1997 anti-spam scheme, Hashcash.[120][failed verification][4] The PoW requires miners to find a number called a nonce, such that when the block content is hashed along with the nonce, the result is numerically smaller than the network's difficulty target.[6]:ch. 8 This proof is easy for any node in the network to verify, but extremely time-consuming to generate, as for a secure cryptographic hash, miners must try many different nonce values (usually the sequence of tested values is the ascending natural numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3, ...[6]:ch. 8) before meeting the difficulty target. Every 2,016 blocks (approximately 14 days at roughly 10 min per block), the difficulty target is adjusted based on the network's recent performance, with the aim of keeping the average time between new blocks at ten minutes. In this way the system automatically adapts to the total amount of mining power on the network.[6]:ch. 8 Between 1 March 2014 and 1 March 2015, the average number of nonces miners had to try before creating a new block increased from 16.4 quintillion to 200.5 quintillion.[121] The proof-of-work system, alongside the chaining of blocks, makes modifications of the blockchain extremely hard, as an attacker must modify all subsequent blocks in order for the modifications of one block to be accepted.[122] As new blocks are mined all the time, the difficulty of modifying a block increases as time passes and the number of subsequent blocks (also called confirmations of the given block) increases.[105] Computing power is often bundled together by a Mining pool to reduce variance in miner income. Individual mining rigs often have to wait for long periods to confirm a block of transactions and receive payment. In a pool, all participating miners get paid every time a participating server solves a block. This payment depends on the amount of work an individual miner contributed to help find that block.[123] Wallets For broader coverage of this topic, see Cryptocurrency wallet.  Bitcoin Core, a full client  Electrum, a lightweight client The first wallet program, simply named Bitcoin, and sometimes referred to as the Satoshi client, was released in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto as open-source software.[9] In version 0.5 the client moved from the wxWidgets user interface toolkit to Qt, and the whole bundle was referred to as Bitcoin-Qt.[124] After the release of version 0.9, the software bundle was renamed Bitcoin Core to distinguish itself from the underlying network.[125][126] Bitcoin Core is, perhaps, the best known implementation or client. Alternative clients (forks of Bitcoin Core) exist, such as Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Unlimited,[34] and Parity Bitcoin.[127] List of bitcoin forks A wallet stores the information necessary to transact bitcoins. While wallets are often described as a place to hold[128] or store bitcoins, due to the nature of the system, bitcoins are inseparable from the blockchain transaction ledger. A wallet is more correctly defined as something that "stores the digital credentials for your bitcoin holdings" and allows one to access (and spend) them.[6]:ch. 1, glossary Bitcoin uses public-key cryptography, in which two cryptographic keys, one public and one private, are generated.[129] At its most basic, a wallet is a collection of these keys. There are several modes which wallets can operate in. They have an inverse relationship with regards to trustlessness and computational requirements. * Full clients verify transactions directly by downloading a full copy of the blockchain (over 150 GB as of January 2018).[130] They are the most secure and reliable way of using the network, as trust in external parties is not required. Full clients check the validity of mined blocks, preventing them from transacting on a chain that breaks or alters network rules.[6]:ch. 1 Because of its size and complexity, downloading and verifying the entire blockchain is not suitable for all computing devices. * Lightweight clients consult full nodes to send and receive transactions without requiring a local copy of the entire blockchain (see simplified payment verification – SPV). This makes lightweight clients much faster to set up and allows them to be used on low-power, low-bandwidth devices such as smartphones. When using a lightweight wallet, however, the user must trust full nodes, as it can report faulty values back to the user. Lightweight clients follow the longest blockchain and do not ensure it is valid, requiring trust in full nodes.[131] Third-party internet services called online wallets offer similar functionality but may be easier to use. In this case, credentials to access funds are stored with the online wallet provider rather than on the user's hardware.[132] As a result, the user must have complete trust in the online wallet provider. A malicious provider or a breach in server security may cause entrusted bitcoins to be stolen. An example of such a security breach occurred with Mt. Gox in 2011.[133]  A paper wallet with a banknote-like design. Both the private key and the address are visible in text form and as 2D barcodes.  A paper wallet with the address visible for adding or checking stored funds. The part of the page containing the private key is folded over and sealed.  A brass token with a private key hidden beneath a tamper-evident security hologram. A part of the address is visible through a transparent part of the hologram.  A hardware wallet peripheral which processes bitcoin payments without exposing any credentials to the computer. Physical wallets store the credentials necessary to spend bitcoins offline and can be as simple as a paper printout of the private key:[6]:ch. 10 a paper wallet or more advanced such as a hardware wallet. A paper wallet is created with a keypair generated on a computer with no internet connection; the private key is written or printed onto the paper[g] and then erased from the computer. The paper wallet can then be stored in a safe physical location for later retrieval. Bitcoins stored using a paper wallet are said to be in cold storage.[134]:39 Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the founders of the Gemini Trust Co. exchange, reported that they had cut their paper wallets into pieces and stored them in envelopes distributed to safe deposit boxes across the United States.[135] Through this system, the theft of one envelope would neither allow the thief to steal any bitcoins nor deprive the rightful owners of their access to them.[136] Physical wallets can also take the form of metal token coins[137] with a private key accessible under a security hologram in a recess struck on the reverse side.[138]:38 The security hologram self-destructs when removed from the token, showing that the private key has been accessed.[139] Originally, these tokens were struck in brass and other base metals, but later used precious metals as bitcoin grew in value and popularity.[138]:80 Coins with stored face value as high as ₿1000 have been struck in gold.[138]:102–104 The British Museum's coin collection includes four specimens from the earliest series[138]:83 of funded bitcoin tokens; one is currently on display in the museum's money gallery.[140] In 2013, a Utahn manufacturer of these tokens was ordered by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to register as a money services business before producing any more funded bitcoin tokens.[137][138]:80 Another type of physical wallet called a hardware wallet keeps credentials offline while facilitating transactions.[141] The hardware wallet acts as a computer peripheral and signs transactions as requested by the user, who must press a button on the wallet to confirm that they intended to make the transaction. Hardware wallets never expose their private keys, keeping bitcoins in cold storage even when used with computers that may be compromised by malware.[134]:42–45 Decentralization Bitcoin is decentralized thus:[7] * Bitcoin does not have a central authority.[7] * There is no central server; the bitcoin network is peer-to-peer.[9] * There is no central storage; the bitcoin ledger is distributed.[142] * The ledger is public; anybody can store it on their computer.[6]:ch. 1 * There is no single administrator;[7] the ledger is maintained by a network of equally privileged miners.[6]:ch. 1 * Anybody can become a miner.[6]:ch. 1 * The additions to the ledger are maintained through competition. Until a new block is added to the ledger, it is not known which miner will create the block.[6]:ch. 1 * The issuance of bitcoins is decentralized. They are issued as a reward for the creation of a new block.[107] * Anybody can create a new bitcoin address (a bitcoin counterpart of a bank account) without needing any approval.[6]:ch. 1 * Anybody can send a transaction to the network without needing any approval; the network merely confirms that the transaction is legitimate.[143]:32 Conversely, researchers have pointed out at a "trend towards centralization". Although bitcoin can be sent directly from user to user, in practice intermediaries are widely used.[35]:220–222 Bitcoin miners join large mining pools to minimize the variance of their income.[35]:215, 219–222[144]:3[145] Because transactions on the network are confirmed by miners, decentralization of the network requires that no single miner or mining pool obtains 51% of the hashing power, which would allow them to double-spend coins, prevent certain transactions from being verified and prevent other miners from earning income.[146] As of 2013 just six mining pools controlled 75% of overall bitcoin hashing power.[146] In 2014 mining pool Ghash.io obtained 51% hashing power which raised significant controversies about the safety of the network. The pool has voluntarily capped their hashing power at 39.99% and requested other pools to act responsibly for the benefit of the whole network.[147] Around the year 2017, over 70% of the hashing power and 90% of transactions were operating from China.[148] According to researchers, other parts of the ecosystem are also "controlled by a small set of entities", notably the maintenance of the client software, online wallets and simplified payment verification (SPV) clients.[146] Privacy & Fungibility Bitcoin is pseudonymous, meaning that funds are not tied to real-world entities but rather bitcoin addresses. Owners of bitcoin addresses are not explicitly identified, but all transactions on the blockchain are public. In addition, transactions can be linked to individuals and companies through "idioms of use" (e.g., transactions that spend coins from multiple inputs indicate that the inputs may have a common owner) and corroborating public transaction data with known information on owners of certain addresses.[149] Additionally, bitcoin exchanges, where bitcoins are traded for traditional currencies, may be required by law to collect personal information.[150] To heighten financial privacy, a new bitcoin address can be generated for each transaction.[151] Wallets and similar software technically handle all bitcoins as equivalent, establishing the basic level of fungibility. Researchers have pointed out that the history of each bitcoin is registered and publicly available in the blockchain ledger, and that some users may refuse to accept bitcoins coming from controversial transactions, which would harm bitcoin's fungibility.[152] For example, in 2012, Mt. Gox froze accounts of users who deposited bitcoins that were known to have just been stolen.[153] Ideology Satoshi Nakamoto stated in his white paper that: "The root problem with conventional currencies is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust."[154] Austrian economics roots According to the European Central Bank, the decentralization of money offered by bitcoin has its theoretical roots in the Austrian school of economics, especially with Friedrich von Hayek in his book Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined,[155] in which Hayek advocates a complete free market in the production, distribution and management of money to end the monopoly of central banks.[156]:22 Anarchism and libertarianism Further information: Crypto-anarchism According to The New York Times, libertarians and anarchists were attracted to the philosophical idea behind bitcoin. Early bitcoin supporter Roger Ver said: "At first, almost everyone who got involved did so for philosophical reasons. We saw bitcoin as a great idea, as a way to separate money from the state."[154] The Economist describes bitcoin as "a techno-anarchist project to create an online version of cash, a way for people to transact without the possibility of interference from malicious governments or banks".[157] Economist Paul Krugman argues that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are "something of a cult" based in "paranoid fantasies" of government power.[158] External video  The Declaration Of Bitcoin's Independence, BraveTheWorld, 4:38[159] Nigel Dodd argues in The Social Life of Bitcoin that the essence of the bitcoin ideology is to remove money from social, as well as governmental, control.[160] Dodd quotes a YouTube video, with Roger Ver, Jeff Berwick, Charlie Shrem, Andreas Antonopoulos, Gavin Wood, Trace Meyer and other proponents of bitcoin reading The Declaration of Bitcoin's Independence. The declaration includes a message of crypto-anarchism with the words: "Bitcoin is inherently anti-establishment, anti-system, and anti-state. Bitcoin undermines governments and disrupts institutions because bitcoin is fundamentally humanitarian."[160][159] David Golumbia says that the ideas influencing bitcoin advocates emerge from right-wing extremist movements such as the Liberty Lobby and the John Birch Society and their anti-Central Bank rhetoric, or, more recently, Ron Paul and Tea Party-style libertarianism.[161] Steve Bannon, who owns a "good stake" in bitcoin, considers it to be "disruptive populism. It takes control back from central authorities. It's revolutionary."[162] A 2014 study of Google Trends data found correlations between bitcoin-related searches and ones related to computer programming and illegal activity, but not libertarianism or investment topics.[163] Economics Main article: Economics of bitcoin  Liquidity,[h] semilogarithmic plot.[104] Bitcoin is a digital asset designed to work in peer-to-peer transactions as a currency.[4][164] Bitcoins have three qualities useful in a currency, according to The Economist in January 2015: they are "hard to earn, limited in supply and easy to verify."[165] Per some researchers, as of 2015, bitcoin functions more as a payment system than as a currency.[35] Economists define money as serving the following three purposes: a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account.[166] According to The Economist in 2014, bitcoin functions best as a medium of exchange.[166] However, this is debated, and a 2018 assessment by The Economist stated that cryptocurrencies met none of these three criteria.[157] Yale economist Robert J. Shiller writes that bitcoin has potential as a unit of account for measuring the relative value of goods, as with Chile's Unidad de Fomento, but that "Bitcoin in its present form [...] doesn't really solve any sensible economic problem".[167] According to research by Cambridge University, between 2.9 million and 5.8 million unique users used a cryptocurrency wallet in 2017, most of them for bitcoin. The number of users has grown significantly since 2013, when there were 300,000–1.3 million users.[12] Acceptance by merchants The overwhelming majority of bitcoin transactions take place on a cryptocurrency exchange, rather than being used in transactions with merchants.[168] Delays processing payments through the blockchain of about ten minutes make bitcoin use very difficult in a retail setting. Prices are not usually quoted in units of bitcoin and many trades involve one, or sometimes two, conversions into conventional currencies.[35] Merchants that do accept bitcoin payments may use payment service providers to perform the conversions.[169] In 2017 and 2018 bitcoin's acceptance among major online retailers included only three of the top 500 U.S. online merchants, down from five in 2016.[168] Reasons for this decline include high transaction fees due to bitcoin's scalability issues and long transaction times.[170] Bloomberg reported that the largest 17 crypto merchant-processing services handled $69 million in June 2018, down from $411 million in September 2017. Bitcoin is "not actually usable" for retail transactions because of high costs and the inability to process chargebacks, according to Nicholas Weaver, a researcher quoted by Bloomberg. High price volatility and transaction fees make paying for small retail purchases with bitcoin impractical, according to economist Kim Grauer. However, bitcoin continues to be used for large-item purchases on sites such as Overstock.com, and for cross-border payments to freelancers and other vendors.[171] Financial institutions Bitcoins can be bought on digital currency exchanges. Per researchers, "there is little sign of bitcoin use" in international remittances despite high fees charged by banks and Western Union who compete in this market.[35] The South China Morning Post, however, mentions the use of bitcoin by Hong Kong workers to transfer money home.[172] In 2014, the National Australia Bank closed accounts of businesses with ties to bitcoin,[173] and HSBC refused to serve a hedge fund with links to bitcoin.[174] Australian banks in general have been reported as closing down bank accounts of operators of businesses involving the currency.[175] On 10 December 2017, the Chicago Board Options Exchange started trading bitcoin futures,[176] followed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which started trading bitcoin futures on 17 December 2017.[177] In September 2019 the Central Bank of Venezuela, at the request of PDVSA, ran tests to determine if bitcoin and ether could be held in central bank's reserves. The request was motivated by oil company's goal to pay its suppliers.[178] As an investment The Winklevoss twins have purchased bitcoin. In 2013, The Washington Post reported a claim that they owned 1% of all the bitcoins in existence at the time.[179] Other methods of investment are bitcoin funds. The first regulated bitcoin fund was established in Jersey in July 2014 and approved by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.[180] Forbes named bitcoin the best investment of 2013.[181] In 2014, Bloomberg named bitcoin one of its worst investments of the year.[182] In 2015, bitcoin topped Bloomberg's currency tables.[183] According to bitinfocharts.com, in 2017 there are 9,272 bitcoin wallets with more than $1 million worth of bitcoins.[184] The exact number of bitcoin millionaires is uncertain as a single person can have more than one bitcoin wallet. In August 2020, MicroStrategy invested in Bitcoin.[185][186] In May 2021, the Bitcoin's market share on exchanges dropped from 70% to 45% as investors pursued altcoins.[187] Venture capital Peter Thiel's Founders Fund invested US$3 million in BitPay.[188] In 2012, an incubator for bitcoin-focused start-ups was founded by Adam Draper, with financing help from his father, venture capitalist Tim Draper, one of the largest bitcoin holders after winning an auction of 30,000 bitcoins,[189] at the time called "mystery buyer".[190] The company's goal is to fund 100 bitcoin businesses within 2–3 years with $10,000 to $20,000 for a 6% stake.[189] Investors also invest in bitcoin mining.[191] According to a 2015 study by Paolo Tasca, bitcoin startups raised almost $1 billion in three years (Q1 2012 – Q1 2015).[192] Price and volatility  Price in US$, semilogarithmic plot.[104]  Annual volatility[103] The price of bitcoins has gone through cycles of appreciation and depreciation referred to by some as bubbles and busts.[193] In 2011, the value of one bitcoin rapidly rose from about US$0.30 to US$32 before returning to US$2.[194] In the latter half of 2012 and during the 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis, the bitcoin price began to rise,[195] reaching a high of US$266 on 10 April 2013, before crashing to around US$50. On 29 November 2013, the cost of one bitcoin rose to a peak of US$1,242.[196] In 2014, the price fell sharply, and as of April remained depressed at little more than half 2013 prices. As of August 2014 it was under US$600.[197] According to Mark T. Williams, as of 30 September 2014, bitcoin has volatility seven times greater than gold, eight times greater than the S&P 500, and 18 times greater than the US dollar.[198] Hodl is a meme created in reference to holding (as opposed to selling) during periods of volatility. Unusual for an asset, bitcoin weekend trading during December 2020 was higher than for weekdays.[199] Hedge funds (using high leverage and derivates)[200] have attempted to use the volatility to profit from downward price movements. At the end of January 2021, such positions were over $1 billion, their highest of all time.[201][202] As of 8 February 2021, the closing price of bitcoin equals US$44,797.[203] Legal status, tax and regulation Further information: Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Because of bitcoin's decentralized nature and its trading on online exchanges located in many countries, regulation of bitcoin has been difficult. However, the use of bitcoin can be criminalized, and shutting down exchanges and the peer-to-peer economy in a given country would constitute a de facto ban.[204] The legal status of bitcoin varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems.[192] According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in nine countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.[205] In October 2020, the Islamic Republic News Agency announced pending regulations that would require bitcoin miners in Iran to sell bitcoin to the Central Bank of Iran, and the central bank would use it for imports.[206] Iran, as of October 2020, had issued over 1,000 bitcoin mining licenses.[206] The Iranian government initially took a stance against cryptocurrency, but later changed it after seeing that digital currency could be used to circumvent sanctions.[207] The US Office of Foreign Assets Control listed two Iranians and their bitcoin addresses as part of its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List for their role in the 2018 Atlanta cyberattack whose ransom was paid in bitcoin.[208] Regulatory warnings The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued four "Customer Advisories" for bitcoin and related investments.[13] A July 2018 warning emphasized that trading in any cryptocurrency is often speculative, and there is a risk of theft from hacking, and fraud.[209] In May 2014 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warned that investments involving bitcoin might have high rates of fraud, and that investors might be solicited on social media sites.[210] An earlier "Investor Alert" warned about the use of bitcoin in Ponzi schemes.[211] The European Banking Authority issued a warning in 2013 focusing on the lack of regulation of bitcoin, the chance that exchanges would be hacked, the volatility of bitcoin's price, and general fraud.[212] FINRA and the North American Securities Administrators Association have both issued investor alerts about bitcoin.[213][214] Price manipulation investigation An official investigation into bitcoin traders was reported in May 2018.[215] The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into possible price manipulation, including the techniques of spoofing and wash trades.[216][217][218] The U.S. federal investigation was prompted by concerns of possible manipulation during futures settlement dates. The final settlement price of CME bitcoin futures is determined by prices on four exchanges, Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken. Following the first delivery date in January 2018, the CME requested extensive detailed trading information but several of the exchanges refused to provide it and later provided only limited data. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission then subpoenaed the data from the exchanges.[219][220] State and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.[221] Academic research published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that price manipulation occurred during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and that the market remains vulnerable to manipulation.[222] The history of hacks, fraud and theft involving bitcoin dates back to at least 2011.[223] Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in 2018 suggests that trading associated with increases in the amount of the Tether cryptocurrency and associated trading at the Bitfinex exchange account for about half of the price increase in bitcoin in late 2017.[224][225] J.L. van der Velde, CEO of both Bitfinex and Tether, denied the claims of price manipulation: "Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex."[226] Analysis External video  Cryptocurrencies: looking beyond the hype, Hyun Song Shin, Bank for International Settlements, 2:48[227] The Bank for International Settlements summarized several criticisms of bitcoin in Chapter V of their 2018 annual report. The criticisms include the lack of stability in bitcoin's price, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the poor security and fraud at cryptocurrency exchanges, vulnerability to debasement (from forking), and the influence of miners.[227][228][229] François R. Velde, Senior Economist at the Chicago Fed, described bitcoin as "an elegant solution to the problem of creating a digital currency".[230] David Andolfatto, Vice President at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, stated that bitcoin is a threat to the establishment, which he argues is a good thing for the Federal Reserve System and other central banks, because it prompts these institutions to operate sound policies.[119]:33[231][232] Economic concerns Further information: Cryptocurrency bubble and Economics of bitcoin  Bitcoin price bubbles in 2011, 2013 and 2017 Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, has been described as an economic bubble by at least eight Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates at various times, including Robert Shiller on 1 March 2014,[167] Joseph Stiglitz on 29 November 2017,[233] and Richard Thaler on 21 December 2017.[234][235] On 29 January 2018, a noted Keynesian economist Paul Krugman has described bitcoin as "a bubble wrapped in techno-mysticism inside a cocoon of libertarian ideology",[158] on 2 February 2018, professor Nouriel Roubini of New York University has called bitcoin the "mother of all bubbles",[236] and on 27 April 2018, a University of Chicago economist James Heckman has compared it to the 17th-century tulip mania.[235] Journalists, economists, investors, and the central bank of Estonia have voiced concerns that bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme.[237][238][239][240] In April 2013, Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, stated that "a real Ponzi scheme takes fraud; bitcoin, by contrast, seems more like a collective delusion."[241] A July 2014 report by the World Bank concluded that bitcoin was not a deliberate Ponzi scheme.[242]:7 In June 2014, the Swiss Federal Council examined concerns that bitcoin might be a pyramid scheme, and concluded that "since in the case of bitcoin the typical promises of profits are lacking, it cannot be assumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme."[243]:21 Energy consumption and carbon footprint  Electricity consumption of the bitcoin network since 2016 (annualized) and comparison with the electricity consumption of various countries in 2019. The upper and lower bounds (grey traces) are based on worst-case and best-case scenario assumptions, respectively. The red trace indicates an intermediate best-guess estimate. (data sources: Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, US Energy Information Administration; for details, see methodology) Bitcoin has been criticized for the amount of electricity consumed by mining. As of 2015, estimated combined electricity consumption attributed to mining was 166.7 megawatts and by 2017, was estimated to be between one and four gigawatts of electricity.[244][165] In 2018, bitcoin was estimated by to use 2.55 to 3.572 GW, or around 6% of the total power consumed by the global banking sector.[245][246][247] In July 2019 BBC reported bitcoin consumes about 7 gigawatts, 0.2% of the global total, or equivalent to that of Switzerland.[248] A 2021 estimate from the University of Cambridge suggests bitcoin consumes more than 178 (TWh) annually, ranking it in the top 30 energy consumers if it were a country.[249] Bitcoin is mined in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air is free.[250] Bitcoin miners are known to use hydroelectric power in Tibet, Quebec, Washington (state), and Austria to reduce electricity costs.[245][251] Miners are attracted to suppliers such as Hydro Quebec that have energy surpluses.[252] According to a University of Cambridge study, much of bitcoin mining is done in China, where electricity is subsidized by the government.[253][254] A significant part of Bitcoin mining is powered by cheap electricity in Xinjiang, which mostly comes from coal power.[255][256] In April 2021 a coal mine explosion in the province coincided with a 35% drop in hashing power and a flash crash in price.[257][255] In other provinces, such as Hunan and Sichuan, mining farms use more hydropower, however these account for at most 4% of hash power. According to Alex de Vries, renewable energy is not a good match for Bitcoin mining as 24/7 operations are best for ROI on mining devices.[257] In 2021, a US company purchased the Greenidge coal power plant and converted it to burn natural gas for the sole purpose of mining bitcoin, which has proven to be highly profitable, in spite of protests of local residents against air pollution and thermal pollution.[258] Concerns about bitcoin's environmental impact relate bitcoin's energy consumption to carbon emissions.[259][260] The difficulty of translating the energy consumption into carbon emissions lies in the decentralized nature of bitcoin impeding the localization of miners to examine the electricity mix used. The results of recent studies analyzing bitcoin's carbon footprint vary.[261][262][263][264] A study published in Nature Climate Change in 2018 claims that bitcoin "could alone produce enough CO
2 emissions to push warming above 2 °C within less than three decades."[263] However, other researchers criticized this analysis, arguing the underlying scenarios were inadequate, leading to overestimations.[265][266][267] According to studies published in Joule and American Chemical Society in 2019, bitcoin's annual energy consumption results in annual carbon emission ranging from 17[247] to 22.9 MtCO
2 which is comparable to the level of emissions of countries as Jordan and Sri Lanka or Kansas City.[264] George Kamiya, writing for the International Energy Agency, says that "predictions about bitcoin consuming the entire world's electricity" are sensational, but that the area "requires careful monitoring and rigorous analysis".[268] Use in illegal transactions Further information: Cryptocurrency and crime and Bitcoin network § Alleged criminal activity Bitcoin held at exchanges are vulnerable to theft through phishing, scamming, and hacking. As of December 2017, around 980,000 bitcoins have been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges.[115] The use of bitcoin by criminals has attracted the attention of financial regulators, legislative bodies, law enforcement, and the media.[269] Bitcoin gained early notoriety for its use on the Silk Road. The U.S. Senate held a hearing on virtual currencies in November 2013.[270] The U.S. government claimed that bitcoin was used to facilitate payments related to Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[271] However, a 2021 study led by former CIA director Michael Morell showed that broad generalizations about the use of bitcoin in illicit finance are significantly overstated and that blockchain analysis is an effective crime fighting and intelligence gathering tool.[272] Several news outlets have asserted that the popularity of bitcoins hinges on the ability to use them to purchase illegal goods.[164][273] Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that bitcoin's anonymity encourages money laundering and other crimes.[274][275] In 2014, researchers at the University of Kentucky found "robust evidence that computer programming enthusiasts and illegal activity drive interest in bitcoin, and find limited or no support for political and investment motives".[163] Australian researchers have estimated that 25% of all bitcoin users and 44% of all bitcoin transactions are associated with illegal activity as of April 2017. There were an estimated 24 million bitcoin users primarily using bitcoin for illegal activity. They held $8 billion worth of bitcoin, and made 36 million transactions valued at $72 billion.[276][277] Software implementation Bitcoin Core The start screen under Fedora Original author(s) Satoshi Nakamoto Initial release 2009 Stable release 0.20.1 (2 August 2020; 9 months ago) [±] Repository github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin Written in C++ Operating system Linux, Windows, macOS Type Cryptocurrency License MIT License Website bitcoincore.org Bitcoin Core is free and open-source software that serves as a bitcoin node (the set of which form the bitcoin network) and provides a bitcoin wallet which fully verifies payments. It is considered to be bitcoin's reference implementation.[278] Initially, the software was published by Satoshi Nakamoto under the name "Bitcoin", and later renamed to "Bitcoin Core" to distinguish it from the network.[279] It is also known as the Satoshi client.[280] The MIT Digital Currency Initiative funds some of the development of Bitcoin Core.[281] The project also maintains the cryptography library libsecp256k1.[282] Bitcoin Core includes a transaction verification engine and connects to the bitcoin network as a full node.[280] Moreover, a cryptocurrency wallet, which can be used to transfer funds, is included by default.[282] The wallet allows for the sending and receiving of bitcoins. It does not facilitate the buying or selling of bitcoin. It allows users to generate QR codes to receive payment. The software validates the entire blockchain, which includes all bitcoin transactions ever. This distributed ledger which has reached more than 235 gigabytes in size as of Jan 2019, must be downloaded or synchronized before full participation of the client may occur.[280] Although the complete blockchain is not needed all at once since it is possible to run in pruning mode. A command line-based daemon with a JSON-RPC interface, bitcoind, is bundled with Bitcoin Core. It also provides access to testnet, a global testing environment that imitates the bitcoin main network using an alternative blockchain where valueless "test bitcoins" are used. Regtest or Regression Test Mode creates a private blockchain which is used as a local testing environment.[283] Finally, bitcoin-cli, a simple program which allows users to send RPC commands to bitcoind, is also included. Checkpoints which have been hard coded into the client are used only to prevent Denial of Service attacks against nodes which are initially syncing the chain. For this reason the checkpoints included are only as of several years ago.[284][285][failed verification] A one megabyte block size limit was added in 2010 by Satoshi Nakamoto. This limited the maximum network capacity to about three transactions per second.[286] Since then, network capacity has been improved incrementally both through block size increases and improved wallet behavior. A network alert system was included by Satoshi Nakamoto as a way of informing users of important news regarding bitcoin.[287] In November 2016 it was retired. It had become obsolete as news on bitcoin is now widely disseminated. Bitcoin Core includes a scripting language inspired by Forth that can define transactions and specify parameters.[288] ScriptPubKey is used to "lock" transactions based on a set of future conditions. scriptSig is used to meet these conditions or "unlock" a transaction. Operations on the data are performed by various OP_Codes. Two stacks are used - main and alt. Looping is forbidden. Bitcoin Core uses OpenTimestamps to timestamp merge commits.[289] The original creator of the bitcoin client has described their approach to the software's authorship as it being written first to prove to themselves that the concept of purely peer-to-peer electronic cash was valid and that a paper with solutions could be written. The lead developer is Wladimir J. van der Laan, who took over the role on 8 April 2014.[290] Gavin Andresen was the former lead maintainer for the software client. Andresen left the role of lead developer for bitcoin to work on the strategic development of its technology.[290] Bitcoin Core in 2015 was central to a dispute with Bitcoin XT, a competing client that sought to increase the blocksize.[291] Over a dozen different companies and industry groups fund the development of Bitcoin Core. In popular culture Term "HODL" Hodl (/ˈhɒdəl/ HOD-əl; often written HODL) is slang in the cryptocurrency community for holding a cryptocurrency rather than selling it.[292] A person who does this is known as a Hodler. It originated in a December 2013 post on the Bitcoin Forum message board by an apparently inebriated user who posted with a typo in the subject, "I AM HODLING."[293] It is often humorously suggested to be a backronym to "hold on for dear life".[294] In 2017, Quartz listed it as one of the essential slang terms in Bitcoin culture, and described it as a stance, "to stay invested in bitcoin and not to capitulate in the face of plunging prices."[295] TheStreet.com referred to it as the "favorite mantra" of Bitcoin holders.[296] Bloomberg News referred to it as a "mantra" for holders during market routs.[297] Literature In Charles Stross' 2013 science fiction novel, Neptune's Brood, the universal interstellar payment system is known as "bitcoin" and operates using cryptography.[298] Stross later blogged that the reference was intentional, saying "I wrote Neptune's Brood in 2011. Bitcoin was obscure back then, and I figured had just enough name recognition to be a useful term for an interstellar currency: it'd clue people in that it was a networked digital currency."[299] Film The 2014 documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin portrays the diversity of motives behind the use of bitcoin by interviewing people who use it. These include a computer programmer and a drug dealer.[300] The 2016 documentary Banking on Bitcoin is an introduction to the beginnings of bitcoin and the ideas behind cryptocurrency today.[301] Academia In September 2015, the establishment of the peer-reviewed academic journal Ledger (ISSN 2379-5980) was announced. It covers studies of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, and is published by the University of Pittsburgh.[302] The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.[303][304] See also * Alternative currency * Base58 * Crypto-anarchism * List of bitcoin companies * List of bitcoin organizations * SHA-256 crypto currencies * Virtual currency law in the United States * Business and economics portalFree and open-source software portalInternet portalNumismatics portalMoney portal Notes * ^ As of 2014, BTC is a commonly used code. It does not conform to ISO 4217 as BT is the country code of Bhutan, and ISO 4217 requires the first letter used in global commodities to be 'X'. * ^ As of 2014, XBT, a code that conforms to ISO 4217 though is not officially part of it, is used by Bloomberg L.P.,[98] CNNMoney,[99] and xe.com.[100] * ^ The genesis block is the block number 0. The timestamp of the block is 2009-01-03 18:15:05. 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a b Stoll, Christian; Klaaßen, Lena; Gallersdörfer, Ulrich (2019). "The Carbon Footprint of Bitcoin". Joule. 3 (7): 1647–1661. doi:10.1016/j.joule.2019.05.012. 265. ^ Masanet, Eric; et al. (2019). "Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO
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Get Started Latest Living Room Posts Today Banff, Alberta: Canada’s Base Camp for Adventure May 20, 2021 A Deep Dive into Saltwater Pools: What are They and Should You Get One? May 19, 2021 5 Backyard Projects to Tackle Over the Victoria Day Long Weekend More Posts Popular Cities Toronto Real EstateCalgary Real EstateOttawa Real EstateLondon Real EstateHamilton Real EstateEdmonton Real EstateVancouver Real EstateMississauga Real EstateVictoria Real EstateWinnipeg Real EstateKelowna Real EstateBurlington Real EstateOakville Real EstateKitchener Real EstateGuelph Real EstateBarrie Real EstateKingston Real EstateWindsor Real EstateMontreal Real EstateBrampton Real EstateWaterloo Real EstateCambridge Real EstatePeterborough Real EstateOshawa Real EstateSarnia Real EstateMilton Real EstateMarkham Real EstateEtobicoke Real EstateBrantford Real EstateSurrey Real Estate 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 5. Your Home Buying MVPs Buying or selling the biggest asset of your life is stressful. A REALTOR® can help keep your emotions in check throughout the complex and time-consuming process. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 1. Paper Pros If only buying a home was as simple as signing on the dotted line. A REALTOR® can bring you peace of mind by navigating the complex legal terminology, paperwork, mortgage rules and more. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 2. Marketing Experts Not only are they experts at finding you the right home, a REALTOR® can get your house discovered and sold faster — so you can move forward with your life. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 3. Pricing Advisors When it comes to making the most significant purchase of your life, don’t guess on price, rely on an expert in pricing and market trends. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 4. Negotiator Extraordinaires Negotiating a property sale can be intimidating; a REALTOR® has the experience to get you the best deal so you don’t leave any money on the table. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 5. Your Home Buying MVPs Buying or selling the biggest asset of your life is stressful. A REALTOR® can help keep your emotions in check throughout the complex and time-consuming process. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 1. Paper Pros If only buying a home was as simple as signing on the dotted line. A REALTOR® can bring you peace of mind by navigating the complex legal terminology, paperwork, mortgage rules and more. 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Log In  list·​ing | \ ˈli-stiŋ  \ Definition of listing 1 : an act or instance of making or including in a list 2 : something that is listed Synonyms Example Sentences Learn More about listing Synonyms for listing Synonyms * canon, catalog (or catalogue), checklist, list, menu, register, registry, roll, roll call, roster, schedule, table Visit the Thesaurus for More  Examples of listing in a Sentence  an alphabetical listing of all of the students currently enrolled in the school Recent Examples on the Web Per the listing on American's career website, the positions start at $14.74 an hour and include eligibility for travel privileges and discounts as well as traditional benefits such as a 401(k) account, health benefits and two weeks' vacation. — Melissa Yeager, The Arizona Republic, "Want to work at the Phoenix airport? Here's how to apply for all the jobs available," 21 May 2021 The listing comes after a series of initial public offerings in Europe got a lukewarm reception from equity investors in a rollercoaster week for global stock markets. — Swetha Gopinath, Fortune, "Snoop Dogg-backed Oxford Cannabinoid has volatile debut," 21 May 2021 These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'listing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback. See More First Known Use of listing 1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1 Learn More about listing Share listing Post the Definition of listing to Facebook Share the Definition of listing on Twitter Time Traveler for listing The first known use of listing was in 1659 See more words from the same year Dictionary Entries near listing lister ridge listful listicle listing listless list price LISTSERV See More Nearby Entries  Statistics for listing Last Updated 23 May 2021 Look-up Popularity Top 4% of words Cite this Entry “Listing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/listing. Accessed 24 May. 2021. Style: MLA  More Definitions for listing listing noun English Language Learners Definition of listing : a printed list : a printed list of things that includes detailed information about them : something included in a list See the full definition for listing in the English Language Learners Dictionary listing noun list·​ing Legal Definition of listing 1 : an arrangement, agreement, or contract for the marketing of real property through one or more real estate agents usually for a specific period — called also listing agreement — exclusive agency listing : a listing under which only one agent may sell the property but without the right to a commission if the owner sells it directly NOTE: An agent is usually still entitled to a commission if the owner sells directly to a buyer found by the agent, even if the sale occurs after the agreement expires. — exclusive right to sell listing : a listing under which only one agent may sell the property and is entitled to a commission if the owner sells it directly to any party — multiple listing : an agreement or arrangement under which real property is marketed through a service or association composed of several agents with a commission from the sale of a property shared between the selling agent and the agent that initiates the listing of it — net listing : a listing under which the agent that sells a property retains as compensation the amount of the selling price that exceeds a specified sum — open listing : a listing that does not preclude the use of multiple agents or a direct sale by the owner with no commission paid to an agent — called also nonexclusive listing 2 a : a record of a property or properties available through a real estate agent b : a property listed in such a record More from Merriam-Webster on listing Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for listing Nglish: Translation of listing for Spanish Speakers Britannica English: Translation of listing for Arabic Speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about listing Comments on listing What made you want to look up listing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible). Show Comments  WORD OF THE DAY chouse See Definitions and Examples » Get Word of the Day daily email! TEST YOUR VOCABULARY Spring Words Quiz *  * 

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OTHER MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARIES * LEARNER'S ESL DICTIONARY * VISUAL DICTIONARY * SCRABBLE® WORD FINDER * MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY * BRITANNICA ENGLISH - ARABIC TRANSLATION * NGLISH - SPANISH-ENGLISH TRANSLATION Listing From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search Listing may refer to: * Enumeration of a set of items in the form of a list * Johann Benedict Listing (1808–1882), German mathematician * Listing (computer), a computer code listing * Listing (finance), the placing of a company's shares on the list of stocks traded on a stock exchange * Navigation listing, tilting of vessels in a nautical context * Listings magazine, a type of magazine displaying a schedule of programmed content * Designation as a listed building in the United Kingdom * A term in US real estate brokerage, referring to the obtaining of a written contract to represent the seller of a property or business Talk:Listing From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search This page is within the scope of WikiProject Disambiguation, an attempt to structure and organize all disambiguation pages on Wikipedia. If you wish to help, you can edit the page attached to this talk page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project or contribute to the discussion. Untitled[edit] OK to put in Wiktionary if linking to "Type-in program" is preserved. Removing the "WikiProject Business & Economics" template and putting it on the talk page of Listing (finance), since this is now a disambiguation page and Listing (finance) seems to be the article for which it was intended. Bassington 20:24, 10 November 2007 (UTC) Listings of television programmes[edit] I wonder whether we would need an entry for listings of television programme listings? In the United Kingdom, it is quite common to refer to lists of television programmes, as in the Radio Times, as listings? ACEOREVIVED (talk) 19:54, 20 September 2010 (UTC) * Categories: WikiProject Disambiguation pages Real estate agent From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   (Redirected from Real estate broker) Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the North American practice. For other definitions and practices in other countries, see Real estate. For real property, see Real property. "Realtor" redirects here. For the trade associations that refer to its members as "Realtors", see National Association of Realtors and Canadian Real Estate Association. hide This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs attention from an expert in Business. (July 2014) This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (July 2014) This article possibly contains original research. (July 2014) The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (July 2014) This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (August 2020) It has been suggested that Estate agent be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2021. It has been suggested that Real estate business be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2021. A real estate broker, real estate agent or realtor is a person who represents sellers or buyers of real estate or real property. While a broker may work independently, an agent usually works under a licensed broker to represent clients.[1] Brokers and agents are licensed by the state to negotiate sales agreements and manage the documentation required for closing real estate transactions. Buyers and sellers are generally advised to consult a licensed real estate professional for a written definition of an individual state's laws of agency, and many states require written disclosures to be signed by all parties outlining the duties and obligations. Generally, real estate brokers/ agents fall into four categories of representation: * Seller's agents, commonly called "listing brokers" or "listing agents", are contracted by owners to assist with marketing property for sale or lease. * Buyer's agents are brokers or salespersons who assist buyers by helping them purchase property. * Dual agents help both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. To protect their license to practice, a real estate broker owes both parties fair and honest dealing and must request that both parties (seller and buyer) sign a dual agency agreement. Special laws/rules often apply to dual agents, especially in negotiating price. In dual agency situations, a conflict of interest is more likely to occur, typically resulting in the loss of advocacy for both parties. Individual state laws vary and interpret dual agency rather differently, with some no longer allowing it. In some states, Dual Agency can be practiced in situations where the same brokerage (but not agent) represent both the buyer and the seller. If one agent from the brokerage has a home listed and another agent from that brokerage has a buyer-brokerage agreement with a buyer who wishes to buy the listed property, dual agency occurs by allowing each agent to be designated as an "intra-company" agent. Only the broker himself is the Dual Agent. * Transaction brokers provide the buyer and seller with a limited form of representation but without any fiduciary obligations. Having no more than a facilitator relationship, transaction brokers assist buyers, sellers, or both during the transaction without representing the interests of either party who may then be regarded as customers. The assistance provided are the legal documents for an agreement between the buyer and seller on how a particular transfer of property will happen. A real estate broker typically receives a real estate commission for successfully completing a sale. Across the U.S. this commission can generally range between 5-6% of the property's sale price for a full service broker but this percentage varies by state and even region.[2] This commission can be divided up with other participating real estate brokers or agents. Flat-fee brokers and Fee-for-Service brokers can charge significantly less depending on the type of services offered. Contents 1 Licensing 2 Specific States Representation Laws 3 Written agreement 3.1 Real estate education 4 The difference between salespersons and brokers 4.1 Real estate salesperson (or, in some states, real estate broker) 4.2 Real estate broker (or, in some states, qualifying broker) 5 Agency relationships with clients versus non-agency relationships with customers 5.1 Designated agency 6 Types of services that a broker can provide 7 Real estate brokers and sellers 7.1 Services provided to seller as client 7.2 The listing contract 7.3 Brokerage commissions 7.3.1 RESPA 7.3.2 Lock-box 7.4 Shared commissions with co-op brokers 8 Real estate brokers and buyers 8.1 Services provided to buyers 8.1.1 Buyers as clients 8.1.2 Buyers as customers 9 Education 10 Organizations 11 See also 12 References Licensing[edit] In the United States, real estate brokers and salespersons are licensed by each state, not by the federal government. Each state has a real estate “commission” who monitors and licenses real estate brokers and agents. For example, some states only allow lawyers to create documentation to transfer real property, while other states also allow the licensed real estate agent. There are state laws defining the types of relationships that can exist between clients and real estate licensees, and the lawful duties of real estate licensees to represent clients and members of the public. Rules vary substantially as defined by the law from state to state, for example, on subjects that include what legal language is necessary to transfer real property, agency relationships, inspections, disclosures, continuing education, and other subjects. In most jurisdictions in the United States, a person must have a license to perform licensed activities, and these activities are defined within the statutes of each state. The main feature of the requirement for having a license to perform those activities is the work done "for compensation". Hence, hypothetically, if a person wants to help a friend out in either selling or buying a property, and no compensation of any kind is expected in return, then a license is not needed to perform all the work. However, since most people would expect to be compensated for their efforts and skills, a license would be required by law before a person they may receive remuneration for services rendered as a real estate broker or agent. Unlicensed activity is illegal and the state real estate commission has the authority to fine people who are acting as real estate licensees, but buyers and sellers acting as principals in the sale or purchase of real estate are usually not required to be licensed. It is important to note that in some states, lawyers handle real estate sales for compensation without being licensed as brokers or agents. However, even lawyers can only perform real estate activities that are incidental to their original work as a lawyer. It cannot be the case that a lawyer can become a seller's selling agent if that is all the service that is being requested by the client. Lawyers would still need to be licensed as a broker if they wish to perform licensed activities. Lawyers do however get a break in the minimum education requirements (for example, 90 hours in Illinois).[3] Specific States Representation Laws[edit] Some state Real Estate Commissions - notably Florida's[4] after 1992 (and extended in 2003) and Colorado's[5] after 1994 (with changes in 2003) created the option of having no agency or fiduciary relationship between brokers and sellers or buyers. As noted by the South Broward Board of Realtors, Inc. in a letter to State of Florida legislative committees: "The Transaction Broker crafts a transaction by bringing a willing buyer and a willing seller together and provides the legal documentation of the details of the legal agreement between the same. The Transaction Broker is not a fiduciary of any party, but must abide by the law as well as professional and ethical standards." (such as NAR Code of Ethics). The result was that in 2003, Florida created a system where the default brokerage relationship had "all licensees ... operating as transaction brokers, unless a single agent or no brokerage relationship is established, in writing, with the customer"[6][7] and the statute required written disclosure of the transaction brokerage relationship to the buyer or seller customer only through July 1, 2008. In the case of both Florida[7] and Colorado,[5] dual agency and sub-agency (where both listing and selling agents represent the seller) no longer exist. Other brokers and agents may focus on representing buyers or tenants in a real estate transaction. However, licensing as a broker or salesperson authorizes the licensee to legally represent parties on either side of a transaction and providing the necessary documentation for the legal transfer of real property. This business decision is for the licensee to decide. They are fines for people acting as real estate agents when not licensed by the state. In the United Kingdom, an estate agent is a person or business entity whose business is to market real estate on behalf of clients. There are significant differences between the actions, powers, obligations, and liabilities of brokers and estate agents in each country, as different countries take markedly different approaches to the marketing and selling of real property. Written agreement[edit] It is important to have a clear written legal documentation for an agreement between the broker and the client, for the protection of both of them. If the parties only have an oral agreement, it is more likely for a dispute to arise concerning the agreement to represent clients and for how real property being sold. Legal documentation is required to define whether the broker can enforce the parties' compensation agreement, the duration of the relationship, whether the relationship is "exclusive", and other issues. Enforceability of oral agreements, what kinds of legal agreements are required to be in writing, and other important issues vary from state to state. Real estate education[edit] To become licensed, most states require that an applicant take a minimum number of classroom hours to study real estate law before taking the state licensing exam. Such education is often provided by real estate firms or by education companies, either of which is typically licensed to teach such courses within their respective states. The courses are designed to prepare the new licensee primarily for the legal aspects of the practice of transferring real estate and to pass the state licensing exam. Once licensed, the licensee in most states is initially designated a salesperson and must work under a broker's license. Some other states have recently eliminated the salesperson's license and instead, all licensees in those states automatically earn their broker's license. A real estate agent must place their license under a managing broker. Typically there may be multiple licensees holding broker's licenses within a firm but only one broker or the firm itself, is the managing or principal broker and that individual or firm is then legally responsible for all licensees held under their license. The term agent is not to be confused with salesperson or broker. An agent is simply a licensee that has entered into an agency relationship with a client. A broker can also be an agent for a client. It is commonly the firm that has the actual legal relationship with the client through one of their sales staff, be they salespersons or brokers. In all states, the real estate licensee must disclose to prospective buyers and sellers the nature of their relationship [8] within the transaction and with the parties. See below for a broker/licensee relationship to sellers and their relationship with buyers. In the United States, there are commonly two levels of real estate professionals licensed by the individual states but not by the federal government: The difference between salespersons and brokers[edit] Before the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was introduced in 1967, when brokers (and their licensees) only represented sellers by providing a service to provide legal documentation on the transfer real property, the term "real estate salesperson" may have been more appropriate than it is today, given the various ways that brokers and licensees now help buyers through the legal process of transferring real property. Legally, however, the term "salesperson" is still used in many states to describe a real estate licensee. Real estate salesperson (or, in some states, real estate broker)[edit] When a person first becomes licensed to become a real estate agent, they obtain a real estate salesperson's license (some states use the term "broker") from the state in which they will practice. To obtain a real estate license, the candidate must take specific coursework (between 40 and 120 hours) and pass a state exam on real estate law and practice. To work, salespersons must be associated with (and act under the authority of) a real estate broker. In Delaware, for example, the licensing course requires the candidate to take 99 classroom hours in order to qualify to sit for the state and national examination. In Ohio, a license candidate must complete 120 hours of classroom education. Each successive year thereafter, the license holder must participate in continuing education in order to remain abreast of state and national changes. Many states also have reciprocal agreements with other states, allowing a licensed individual from a qualified state to take the second state's exam without completing the course requirements or, in some cases, take only a state law exam. Real estate broker (or, in some states, qualifying broker)[edit] After gaining some years of experience in real estate sales, a salesperson may decide to become licensed as a real estate broker (or Principal/qualifying broker) in order to own, manage, or operate their own brokerage. In addition, some states allow college graduates to apply for a broker's license without years of experience. College graduates fall into this category once they have completed the state-required courses as well. California allows licensed attorneys to become brokers upon passing the broker exam without having to take the requisite courses required of an agent. Commonly more coursework and a broker's state exam on real estate law must be passed. Upon obtaining a broker's license, a real estate agent may continue to work for another broker in a similar capacity as before (often referred to as a broker associate or associate broker) or take charge of their own brokerage and hire other salespersons (or broker), licensees. Becoming a branch office manager may or may not require a broker's license. Some states allow licensed attorneys to become real estate brokers without taking any exam. In some states, there are no "salespeople" as all licensees are brokers.[9] Agency relationships with clients versus non-agency relationships with customers[edit] * Relationship: Conventionally, the broker provides a conventional full-service, commission-based brokerage relationship under a signed listing agreement with a seller or a "buyer representation" agreement with a buyer, thus creating under common law in most states an agency relationship with fiduciary obligations. The seller or buyer is then a client of the broker. Some states also have statutes that define and control the nature of the representation. Agency relationships in residential real estate transactions involve the legal representation by a real estate broker (on behalf of a real estate company) of the principal, whether that person(s) is a buyer or a seller. The broker and his licensed real estate salespersons (salesmen or brokers) then become the agents of the principal. * Non-agency relationship: where no written agreement or fiduciary relationship exists, a real estate broker and his sales staff work with a principal who is known as the broker's customer. When a buyer who has not entered into a Buyer Agency agreement with the broker buys a property, that broker functions as the sub-agent of the seller's broker. When a seller chooses to work with a transaction broker, there is no agency relationship created. Designated agency[edit] The most recent development in the practice of real estate is "designated agency" which was created to permit individual licensees within the same firm, designated by the principal broker, to act as agents for individual buyers and sellers within the same transaction. In theory, therefore, two agents within the same firm act in strict fiduciary roles for their respective clients. Some states have adopted this practice into their state laws and others have decided this function is inherently problematic, just as was a dual agency. The practice was invented and promoted by larger firms to make it possible in theory to handle the entire transaction in the house without creating a conflict of interest within the firm Types of services that a broker can provide[edit] Real Estate Services are also called trading services [10] by some jurisdictions. Since each province's and state's laws may differ, it is generally advised that prospective sellers or buyers consult a licensed real estate professional. Some examples: * Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) — an estimate of a property's value compared with others. This differs from an appraisal in that property currently for sale may be taken into consideration. (competition for the subject property) * Total Market Overview — an objective method for determining a property's value, where a CMA is subjective. * Broker's Price Opinion — estimate of a property's value or potential selling price * Real estate appraisal — in most states, only if the broker is also licensed as an appraiser. * Exposure — Marketing the real property to prospective buyers. * Facilitating a Purchase — guiding a buyer through the process. * Facilitating a Sale — guiding a seller through the selling process. * FSBO document preparation — preparing the necessary paperwork for "For Sale By Owner" sellers. * Home Selling Kits — guides advising how to market and sell a property. * Hourly Consulting for a fee, based on the client's needs. * Leasing for a fee or percentage of the gross lease value. * Property Management * Exchanging property. * Auctioning property. (In most states, only if the broker is also licensed as an auctioneer.) * Preparing contracts and leases. (not in all states) These services are also changing as a variety of real estate trends transform the industry. Real estate brokers and sellers[edit] Services provided to seller as client[edit] Upon signing a listing contract with the seller wishing to sell the real estate, the brokerage attempts to earn a commission by finding a buyer and writing an offer, a legal document, for the sellers' property for the highest possible price on the best terms for the seller. In Canada and the United States, most laws require the real estate agent to forward all written offers to the seller for consideration or review. To help accomplish the goal of finding buyers, a real estate agency commonly does the following:[citation needed] * Lists the property for sale to the public, often on an MLS, in addition to any other methods. * Provides the seller with a real property condition disclosure (if required by law) and other necessary forms. * Keeps the client abreast of the rapid changes in the real estate industry, swings in market conditions, and the availability and demand for property inventory in the area. * Prepares paperwork describing the property for advertising, pamphlets, open houses, etc. * Places a "For Sale" sign on the property indicating how to contact the real estate office and agent. * advertises the property, which may include social media and digital marketing in addition to paper advertising. * Holds an open house to show the property. * Serves as a contact available to answer any questions about the property and schedule showing appointments. * Ensures that buyers are pre-screened and financially qualified to buy the property. (Sellers should be aware that the underwriter for any real estate mortgage loan is the final say.) * Negotiates price on behalf of the sellers. * Prepares legal documentation or a “purchase and sale agreement” on how the transaction will proceed. * Acts as a fiduciary for the seller, which may include preparing a standard real estate purchase contract. * Holds an earnest payment cheque in escrow from the buyer(s) until the closing if necessary. In many states, the closing is the meeting between the buyer and seller where the property is transferred and the title is conveyed by a deed. In other states, especially those in the West, closings take place during a defined escrow period when buyers and sellers each sign the appropriate papers transferring title, but do not meet each other. * Negotiates on their client's behalf when a property inspection is complete. Often having to get estimates for repairs. * Guards the client's legal interests (along with the attorney) when facing tough negotiations or confusing contracts. The listing contract[edit] Main article: Listing contract Several types of listing contracts exist between broker and seller. These may be defined as: * Exclusive right to sell The broker is given the exclusive right to market the property and represents the seller exclusively. This is referred to as seller agency. However, the brokerage also offers to cooperate with other brokers and agrees to allow them to show the property to prospective buyers and offers a share of the total real estate commission. * Exclusive agency Exclusive agency allows only the broker the right to sell the property, and no offer of compensation is ever made to another broker. In this case, the property will never be entered into an MLS. Naturally, this limits the exposure of the property to only one agency. * Open listing The property is available for sale by any real estate professional who can advertise, show, or negotiate the sale. The broker/agent who first brings an acceptable offer would receive compensation. Real estate companies will typically require that a written agreement for an open listing be signed by the seller to ensure payment of a commission if a sale takes place. Although there can be other ways of doing business, a real estate brokerage usually earns its commission after the real estate broker and a seller enter into a listing contract and fulfill agreed-upon terms specified within that contract. The seller's real estate is then listed for sale. In most of North America, a listing agreement or contract between broker and seller must include the following: * starting and ending dates of the agreement; * the price at which the property will be offered for sale; * the amount of compensation due to the broker; * how much, if any, of the compensation, will be offered to a cooperating broker who may bring a buyer (required for MLS listings). Net listings: Property listings at an agreed-upon net price that the seller wishes to receive with any excess going to the broker as commission. In many states including Georgia, New Jersey and Virginia [18 VAC §135-20-280(5)] net listings are illegal, other states such as California and Texas state authorities discourage the practice and have laws to try and avoid manipulation and unfair transactions [22 TAC §535(b)] and (c). Brokerage commissions[edit] In consideration of the brokerage successfully finding a buyer for the property, a broker anticipates receiving a commission for the services the brokerage has provided. Usually, the payment of a commission to the brokerage is contingent upon finding a buyer for the real estate, the successful negotiation of a purchase contract between the buyer and seller, or the settlement of the transaction and the exchange of money between buyer and seller. Under common law, a real estate broker is eligible to receive their commission, regardless of whether the sale actually takes place, once they secure a buyer who is ready, willing, and able to purchase the dwelling.[11] The median real estate commission charged to the seller by the listing (seller's) agent is 6% of the purchase price. Typically, this commission is split evenly between the seller's and buyer's agents, with the buyer's agent generally receiving a commission of 3% of the purchase price of the home sold. In North America, commissions on real estate transactions are negotiable and new services in real estate trends have created ways to negotiate rates. Local real estate sales activity usually dictates the amount of agreed commission. Real estate commission is typically paid by the seller at the closing of the transaction as detailed in the listing agreement. Economist Steven D. Levitt famously argued in his 2005 book Freakonomics that real estate brokers have an inherent conflict of interest with the sellers they represent because their commission gives them more motivation to sell quickly than to sell at a higher price. Levitt supported his argument with a study finding brokers tend to put their own houses on the market for longer and receive higher prices for them compared to when working for their clients. He concluded that broker commissions will reduce in future.[12] A 2008 study by other economists found that when comparing brokerage without listing services, brokerage significantly reduced the average sale price.[13] RESPA[edit] Real estate brokers who work with lenders can not receive any compensation from the lender for referring a residential client to a specific lender. To do so would be a violation of a United States federal law known as the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Commercial transactions are exempt from RESPA. All lender compensation to a broker must be disclosed to all parties. A commission may also be paid during negotiation of contract base on seller and agent. Lock-box[edit] With the seller's permission, a lock-box is placed on homes that are occupied, and after arranging an appointment with the homeowner, agents can show the home to prospective buyers. When a property is vacant, a lock-box will generally be placed on the front door. The listing broker helps arrange showings of the property by various real estate agents from all companies associated with the MLS. The lock-box contains the key to the door of the property, and the box can only be opened by licensed real estate agents. Shared commissions with co-op brokers[edit] If any buyer's broker or his agents brings the buyer for the property, the buyer's broker would typically be compensated with a co-op commission coming from the total offered to the listing broker, often about half of the full commission from the seller. If an agent or salesperson working for the buyer's broker brings the buyer for the property, then the buyer's broker would commonly compensate his agent with a fraction of the co-op commission, again as determined in a separate agreement. A discount brokerage may offer a reduced commission if no other brokerage firm is involved and no co-op commission paid out. If there is no co-commission to pay to another brokerage, the listing brokerage receives the full amount of the commission minus any other types of expenses. Real estate brokers and buyers[edit] This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Services provided to buyers[edit] Buyers as clients[edit] With the increase in the practice of buyer brokerages in the United States, agents (acting under their brokers) have been able to represent buyers in the transaction with a written "Buyer Agency Agreement" not unlike the "Listing Agreement" for sellers referred to above. In this case, buyers are clients of the brokerage. Some brokerages represent buyers only and are known as exclusive buyer agents (EBAs). Consumer Reports states, "You can find a true buyer's agent only at a firm that does not accept listings."[14] The advantages of using an Exclusive Buyer Agent is that they avoid conflicts of interest by working in the best interests of the buyer and not the seller, avoid homes and neighborhoods likely to fare poorly in the marketplace, ensure the buyer does not unknowingly overpay for a property, fully inform the buyer of adverse conditions, encourage the buyer to make offers based on true value instead of list price, and work to save the buyer money. A buyer agency firm commissioned a study that found EBA purchased homes were 17 times less likely to go into foreclosure.[citation needed] A real estate brokerage attempts to do the following for the buyers of real estate only when they represent the buyers with some form of written buyer-brokerage agreement: * Find real estate in accordance with the buyers needs, specifications, and cost. * Take buyers to and shows them properties available for sale. * Pre-screen buyers to ensure they are financially qualified to buy the properties shown (or use a mortgage professional, such a bank's mortgage specialist or alternatively a Mortgage broker, to do that task). * Negotiate price and terms on behalf of the buyers. * Prepare standard real estate purchase contract. * Act as a fiduciary for the buyer. * Assist the buyer in making an offer for the property. Buyers as customers[edit] In most states until the 1990s, buyers who worked with an agent of a real estate broker in finding a house were customers of the brokerage since the broker represented only sellers. Today, state laws differ. Buyers or sellers may be represented. Typically, a written "Buyer Brokerage" agreement is required for the buyer to have representation (regardless of which party is paying the commission), although by his/her actions, an agent can create representation. Education[edit] To become a real estate agent, a prospective salesperson candidate must attend a pre-license course. Some states, like Massachusetts, require as little as 40-hours classroom time to get licensed. Others, like California, mandate over 100 hours.[15] Many states allow candidates to take the pre-licensing class virtually.[16] Candidates must subsequently pass the state exam for a real estate agent's license. Upon passing, the new licensee must place their license with an established real estate firm, managed by a broker. Requirements vary by state but after some period of time working as an agent, one may return to the classroom and test to become a broker. For example, California and Florida require you to have a minimum experience of two years as a full-time licensed agent within the prior 5 years. Where as Indiana only requires one year experience as a real estate salesperson and Arizona requires three out of the prior five years.[17][18] Brokers may manage or own firms. Each branch office of a larger real estate firm must be managed by a broker. States issue licenses for a multi year period and require real estate agents and brokers to complete continuing education prior to renewing their licenses. For example, California licensees must complete 45 hours of continuing education every 4 years in topics such as agency, trust fund handling, consumer protection, fair housing, ethics, and risk management. Many states recognize licenses from other states and issue licenses to existing agents and firms upon request without additional education or testing however the license must be granted before real estate service is provided in the state. California does not have license reciprocity with other states. An applicant for licensure is not, however, required to be a resident of California to obtain a license. In Illinois, the salesperson license was replaced by a broker license in 2011. the new license requires 90 hours of pre-license education, 15 of which must be interactive, and 30 hours of post-license education. The pre-license education requirement includes a 75-hour topics course and a 15-hour applied real estate principles course.[3] Organizations[edit] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Several notable groups exist to promote the real estate industry and to assist members who are in it. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the largest real estate organization and one of the largest trade groups anywhere. Their membership exceeds one million. NAR also has state chapters as well as thousands of local chapters. Upon joining a local chapter, a new member is automatically enrolled in the state and national organizations. When the principals of a firm join, all licensed agents in that firm must also belong. A Realtor is a real estate broker or salesperson who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors, which is an industry trade association. The word "Realtor" is a registered trademark, protected under the US and international law. The Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC) is a separate entity, and also the lobbying arm of NAR. In 2005, they were considered the largest PAC in the United States. According to realtor.org, RPAC is the largest contributor to direct contributions to federal candidates. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) was founded in 1947 as an alternative for African Americans who were excluded from the dominant NAR. Both groups allow members to join without regard to race. However, NAREB has historically been an African American-centric group with a focus on developing housing resources for intercity populations. The Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) was established in 1955 and is a not-for-profit membership organization offering continuing education courses and designation programs for Canadian real estate professionals across multiple sectors.[19][20] See also[edit] • Buyer brokerage • Estate agent • Flat fee MLS • Independent contractor • Estate (house) • List of real estate topics • Real estate • Real estate trends • Exclusive buyer agent References[edit] 1. ^ "Real Estate Professionals Explained: Agent, Broker, REALTOR®". Real Estate News and Advice | Realtor.com®. 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2018-12-27. 2. ^ Bankrate.com. "How Much Is Real Estate Agent Commission? | Bankrate.com". Bankrate. Retrieved 2018-12-20. 3. ^ Jump up to:
a b "FAQs". www.illinoisrealtors.org. Illinois Realtors. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 4. ^ "Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine". Leg.state.fl.us. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 5. ^ Jump up to:
a b "Outline of types of representation available in Colorado, including Transaction Brokerage" (PDF). Dora.state.co.us. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 6. ^ Evans, Blanche (2 July 2003). "FLORIDA IMPLEMENTS DEFAULT TRANSACTION BROKERAGE STATUTE". realtytimes.com/. Realty Times. Retrieved 2 February2014. 7. ^ Jump up to:
a b The 2007 Florida Statutes. Chapter 475 Real Estate Brokers — Part I; Real Estate Brokers, Sales Associates, and Schools (ss. 475.001-475.5018), Section 475.278 Authorized brokerage relationships; presumption of transaction brokerage; required disclosures (1) Brokerage Relationships: (a) Authorized brokerage relationships. — A real estate licensee in this state may enter into a brokerage relationship as either a transaction broker or as a single agent with potential buyers and sellers. A real estate licensee may not operate as a disclosed or non-disclosed dual agent ... (b)Presumption of transaction brokerage. — It shall be presumed that all licensees are operating as transaction brokers unless a single agent or no brokerage relationship is established, in writing, with a customer." 8. ^ "Realtor Code of Ethics - Disclosure" (PDF). Real Estate Association Standards of Business Practice. 9. ^ "Real Estate Broker's License: Examination and Licensing Application Requirements". New Mexico Administrative Code. State of New Mexico Commission of Public Records. 10. ^ "Real Estate Laws Website". BC Real Estate Laws - Pat 1 Trading Services. 11. ^ https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/almID/1202588713813/Getting-a-Brokerage-Commission-Paid/ 12. ^ Daniel Gross (20 Feb 2005). "Why a Real Estate Agent May Skip the Extra Mile". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. 13. ^ B. Douglas Bernheim; Jonathan Meer (13 Jan 2012). "Do Real Estate Brokers Add Value When Listing Services Are Unbundled?". The National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved 3 Sep 2016. 14. ^ Consumer Reports, May 2005 15. ^ "How to Become a Real Estate Agent in California | KapRE.com". www.kapre.com. Retrieved 2020-12-20. 16. ^ "How to Become a Real Estate Agent - The Ultimate Guide". pyvt. 2020-09-21. Retrieved 2020-12-20. 17. ^ "Indiana Real Estate License Requirements". Mortgagenewsdaily.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 18. ^ "Arizona Real Estate Broker's License Requirements". Re.state.az.us. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 19. ^ "Professional Recognition of our Programs". Real Estate Division at Sauder, UBC. January 8, 2019. 20. ^ "Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC)". Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. Retrieved 8 January 2019. Listing (finance) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search In corporate finance, a listing refers to the company's shares being on the list (or board) of stock that are officially traded on a stock exchange. Some stock exchanges allow shares of a foreign company to be listed and may allow dual listing, subject to conditions. Normally the issuing company is the one that applies for a listing but in some countries[which?] an exchange can list a company, for instance because its stock is already being traded via informal channels. Stocks whose market value and/or turnover fall below critical levels may be delisted by the exchange. Delisting often arises from a merger or takeover, or the company going private. Contents 1 Requirements 1.1 Examples 2 Delisting 3 References 4 External links Requirements[edit] Each stock exchange has its own listing requirements or rules. Initial listing requirements usually include supplying a history of a few years of financial statements (not required for "alternative" markets targeting young firms); a sufficient size of the amount being placed among the general public (the free float), both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the total outstanding stock; an approved prospectus, usually including opinions from independent assessors, and so on. Examples[edit] The listing requirements imposed by some stock exchanges include: * New York Stock Exchange: the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) requires a company to have issued at least a million shares of stock worth $100 million and must have earned more than $10 million over the last three years.[1] * NASDAQ Stock Exchange: NASDAQ requires a company to have issued at least 1.25 million shares of stock worth at least $70 million and must have earned more than $11 million over the last three years.[2] * London Stock Exchange: the main market of the London Stock Exchange requires a minimum market capitalization (£700,000), three years of audited financial statements, minimum public float (25%) and sufficient working capital for at least 12 months from the date of listing. * Bombay Stock Exchange: Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) requires a minimum market capitalization of ₹250 million (US$3.5 million) and minimum public float equivalent to ₹100 million (US$1.4 million).[3] Delisting[edit] Delisting refers to the practice of removing the stock of a company from a stock exchange so that investors can no longer trade shares of the stock on that exchange. This typically occurs when a company goes out of business, declares bankruptcy, no longer satisfies the listing rules of the stock exchange, or has become a private company after a merger or acquisition, or wants to reduce regulatory reporting complexities and overhead, or if the stock volumes on the exchange from which it wishes to delist are not significant. Delisting does not necessarily mean a change in company's core strategy.[4] In the United States, securities which have been delisted from a major exchange for reasons other than going private or liquidating may be traded on over-the-counter markets like the OTC Bulletin Board or the Pink Sheets. References[edit] 1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2020-03-16. 2. ^ "Applications, Notifications & Guides - Nasdaq Listing Center". nasdaq.com. 3. ^ "BSE Ltd. (Bombay Stock Exchange) - Live Stock Market Updates for S& BSE SENSEX, Stock Quotes & Corporate Information". bseindia.com. 4. ^ Allianz to delist from NYSE and European Exchanges External links[edit] * Nasdaq listing standards and fees 
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Car Cars and trucks driving on Highway 401 in Ontario, Canada Classification Vehicle Industry Various Application Transportation Fuel source Gasoline, diesel, natural gas, electric, hydrogen, solar, vegetable oil Powered Yes Self-propelled Yes Wheels 3–4 Axles 2 Inventor Karl Benz[1] Invented 1886 A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of cars say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels, and mainly transport people rather than goods.[2][3] Cars came into global use during the 20th century, and developed economies depend on them. The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car when German inventor Karl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Cars became widely available in the early 20th century. One of the first cars accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Cars were rapidly adopted in the US, where they replaced animal-drawn carriages and carts, but took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world.[citation needed] Cars have controls for driving, parking, passenger comfort, and a variety of lights. Over the decades, additional features and controls have been added to vehicles, making them progressively more complex, but also more reliable and easier to operate.[citation needed] These include rear-reversing cameras, air conditioning, navigation systems, and in-car entertainment. Most cars in use in the 2010s are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by the combustion of fossil fuels. Electric cars, which were invented early in the history of the car, became commercially available in the 2000s and are predicted to cost less to buy than gasoline cars before 2025.[4][5] The transition from fossil fuels to electric cars features prominently in most climate change mitigation scenarios,[6] such as Project Drawdown's 100 actionable solutions for climate change.[7] There are costs and benefits to car use. The costs to the individual include acquiring the vehicle, interest payments (if the car is financed), repairs and maintenance, fuel, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance.[8] The costs to society include maintaining roads, land use, road congestion, air pollution, public health, healthcare, and disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life. Traffic collisions are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.[9] The personal benefits include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence, and convenience.[10] The societal benefits include economic benefits, such as job and wealth creation from the automotive industry, transportation provision, societal well-being from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the taxes. People's ability to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.[11] There are around 1 billion cars in use worldwide. The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China, India and other newly industrialized countries.[12] Contents 1 Etymology 2 History 3 Mass production 4 Fuel and propulsion technologies 5 User interface 6 Lighting 7 Weight 8 Seating and body style 9 Safety 10 Costs and benefits 11 Environmental impact 12 Emerging car technologies 12.1 Autonomous car 12.2 Open source development 12.3 Car sharing 13 Industry 14 Alternatives 15 Other meanings 16 See also 17 References 18 Further reading 19 External links Etymology The English word car is believed to originate from Latin carrus/carrum "wheeled vehicle" or (via Old North French) Middle English carre "two-wheeled cart," both of which in turn derive from Gaulish karros "chariot."[13][14] It originally referred to any wheeled horse-drawn vehicle, such as a cart, carriage, or wagon.[15][16] "Motor car," attested from 1895, is the usual formal term in British English.[3] "Autocar," a variant likewise attested from 1895 and literally meaning "self-propelled car," is now considered archaic.[17] "Horseless carriage" is attested from 1895.[18] "Automobile," a classical compound derived from Ancient Greek autós (αὐτός) "self" and Latin mobilis "movable," entered English from French and was first adopted by the Automobile Club of Great Britain in 1897.[19] It fell out of favour in Britain and is now used chiefly in North America,[20] where the abbreviated form "auto" commonly appears as an adjective in compound formations like "auto industry" and "auto mechanic".[21][22] Both forms are still used in everyday Dutch (auto/automobiel) and German (Auto/Automobil).[citation needed] History Main article: History of the automobile  Steam Machine Of Verbiest, In 1678. (Ferdinand Verbiest) The first working steam-powered vehicle was designed—and quite possibly built—by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish member of a Jesuit mission in China around 1672. It was a 65-centimetre (26 in)-long scale-model toy for the Kangxi Emperor that was unable to carry a driver or a passenger.[10][23][24] It is not known with certainty if Verbiest's model was successfully built or run.[24]  Cugnot's 1771 fardier à vapeur, as preserved at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is widely credited with building the first full-scale, self-propelled mechanical vehicle or car in about 1769; he created a steam-powered tricycle.[25] He also constructed two steam tractors for the French Army, one of which is preserved in the French National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.[26] His inventions were, however, handicapped by problems with water supply and maintaining steam pressure.[26] In 1801, Richard Trevithick built and demonstrated his Puffing Devil road locomotive, believed by many to be the first demonstration of a steam-powered road vehicle. It was unable to maintain sufficient steam pressure for long periods and was of little practical use. The development of external combustion engines is detailed as part of the history of the car but often treated separately from the development of true cars. A variety of steam-powered road vehicles were used during the first part of the 19th century, including steam cars, steam buses, phaetons, and steam rollers. Sentiment against them led to the Locomotive Acts of 1865. In 1807, Nicéphore Niépce and his brother Claude created what was probably the world's first internal combustion engine (which they called a Pyréolophore), but they chose to install it in a boat on the river Saone in France.[27] Coincidentally, in 1807 the Swiss inventor François Isaac de Rivaz designed his own 'de Rivaz internal combustion engine' and used it to develop the world's first vehicle to be powered by such an engine. The Niépces' Pyréolophore was fuelled by a mixture of Lycopodium powder (dried spores of the Lycopodium plant), finely crushed coal dust and resin that were mixed with oil, whereas de Rivaz used a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen.[27] Neither design was very successful, as was the case with others, such as Samuel Brown, Samuel Morey, and Etienne Lenoir with his hippomobile, who each produced vehicles (usually adapted carriages or carts) powered by internal combustion engines.[1]  Gustave Trouvé's tricycle, the first ever electric automobile to be shown in public  Karl Benz, the inventor of the modern car In November 1881, French inventor Gustave Trouvé demonstrated the first working (three-wheeled) car powered by electricity at the International Exposition of Electricity, Paris.[28] Although several other German engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern car.[1]  The original Benz Patent-Motorwagen, first built in 1885 and awarded the patent for the concept In 1879, Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which had been designed in 1878. Many of his other inventions made the use of the internal combustion engine feasible for powering a vehicle. His first Motorwagen was built in 1885 in Mannheim, Germany. He was awarded the patent for its invention as of his application on 29 January 1886 (under the auspices of his major company, Benz & Cie., which was founded in 1883). Benz began promotion of the vehicle on 3 July 1886, and about 25 Benz vehicles were sold between 1888 and 1893, when his first four-wheeler was introduced along with a cheaper model. They also were powered with four-stroke engines of his own design. Emile Roger of France, already producing Benz engines under license, now added the Benz car to his line of products. Because France was more open to the early cars, initially more were built and sold in France through Roger than Benz sold in Germany. In August 1888 Bertha Benz, the wife of Karl Benz, undertook the first road trip by car, to prove the road-worthiness of her husband's invention.  Bertha Benz, the first long distance driver In 1896, Benz designed and patented the first internal-combustion flat engine, called boxermotor. During the last years of the nineteenth century, Benz was the largest car company in the world with 572 units produced in 1899 and, because of its size, Benz & Cie., became a joint-stock company. The first motor car in central Europe and one of the first factory-made cars in the world, was produced by Czech company Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (later renamed to Tatra) in 1897, the Präsident automobil. Daimler and Maybach founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in Cannstatt in 1890, and sold their first car in 1892 under the brand name Daimler. It was a horse-drawn stagecoach built by another manufacturer, which they retrofitted with an engine of their design. By 1895 about 30 vehicles had been built by Daimler and Maybach, either at the Daimler works or in the Hotel Hermann, where they set up shop after disputes with their backers. Benz, Maybach and the Daimler team seem to have been unaware of each other's early work. They never worked together; by the time of the merger of the two companies, Daimler and Maybach were no longer part of DMG. Daimler died in 1900 and later that year, Maybach designed an engine named Daimler-Mercedes that was placed in a specially ordered model built to specifications set by Emil Jellinek. This was a production of a small number of vehicles for Jellinek to race and market in his country. Two years later, in 1902, a new model DMG car was produced and the model was named Mercedes after the Maybach engine, which generated 35 hp. Maybach quit DMG shortly thereafter and opened a business of his own. Rights to the Daimler brand name were sold to other manufacturers. Karl Benz proposed co-operation between DMG and Benz & Cie. when economic conditions began to deteriorate in Germany following the First World War, but the directors of DMG refused to consider it initially. Negotiations between the two companies resumed several years later when these conditions worsened, and in 1924, they signed an Agreement of Mutual Interest, valid until the year 2000. Both enterprises standardized design, production, purchasing, and sales and they advertised or marketed their car models jointly, although keeping their respective brands. On 28 June 1926, Benz & Cie. and DMG finally merged as the Daimler-Benz company, baptizing all of its cars Mercedes Benz, as a brand honoring the most important model of the DMG cars, the Maybach design later referred to as the 1902 Mercedes-35 hp, along with the Benz name. Karl Benz remained a member of the board of directors of Daimler-Benz until his death in 1929, and at times, his two sons also participated in the management of the company.  Émile Levassor  Armand Peugeot In 1890, Émile Levassor and Armand Peugeot of France began producing vehicles with Daimler engines, and so laid the foundation of the automotive industry in France. In 1891, Auguste Doriot and his Peugeot colleague Louis Rigoulot completed the longest trip by a gasoline-powered vehicle when their self-designed and built Daimler powered Peugeot Type 3 completed 2,100 km (1,300 miles) from Valentigney to Paris and Brest and back again. They were attached to the first Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race, but finished 6 days after the winning cyclist, Charles Terront. The first design for an American car with a gasoline internal combustion engine was made in 1877 by George Selden of Rochester, New York. Selden applied for a patent for a car in 1879, but the patent application expired because the vehicle was never built. After a delay of sixteen years and a series of attachments to his application, on 5 November 1895, Selden was granted a United States patent (U.S. Patent 549,160) for a two-stroke car engine, which hindered, more than encouraged, development of cars in the United States. His patent was challenged by Henry Ford and others, and overturned in 1911. In 1893, the first running, gasoline-powered American car was built and road-tested by the Duryea brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts. The first public run of the Duryea Motor Wagon took place on 21 September 1893, on Taylor Street in Metro Center Springfield.[29][30] The Studebaker Automobile Company, subsidiary of a long-established wagon and coach manufacturer, started to build cars in 1897[31]:p.66 and commenced sales of electric vehicles in 1902 and gasoline vehicles in 1904.[32] In Britain, there had been several attempts to build steam cars with varying degrees of success, with Thomas Rickett even attempting a production run in 1860.[33] Santler from Malvern is recognized by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain as having made the first gasoline-powered car in the country in 1894,[34] followed by Frederick William Lanchester in 1895, but these were both one-offs.[34] The first production vehicles in Great Britain came from the Daimler Company, a company founded by Harry J. Lawson in 1896, after purchasing the right to use the name of the engines. Lawson's company made its first car in 1897, and they bore the name Daimler.[34] In 1892, German engineer Rudolf Diesel was granted a patent for a "New Rational Combustion Engine". In 1897, he built the first diesel engine.[1] Steam-, electric-, and gasoline-powered vehicles competed for decades, with gasoline internal combustion engines achieving dominance in the 1910s. Although various pistonless rotary engine designs have attempted to compete with the conventional piston and crankshaft design, only Mazda's version of the Wankel engine has had more than very limited success. All in all, it is estimated that over 100,000 patents created the modern automobile and motorcycle.[35] Mass production See also: Automotive industry  Ransom E. Olds founded Olds Motor Vehicle Company (Oldsmobile) in 1897  Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Company in 1903  1927 Ford Model T  Kiichiro Toyoda, president of the Toyota Motor Corporation 1941–1950  Mass production at a Toyota plant in the 1950s  The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car of all-time Large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable cars was started by Ransom Olds in 1901 at his Oldsmobile factory in Lansing, Michigan and based upon stationary assembly line techniques pioneered by Marc Isambard Brunel at the Portsmouth Block Mills, England, in 1802. The assembly line style of mass production and interchangeable parts had been pioneered in the U.S. by Thomas Blanchard in 1821, at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts.[36] This concept was greatly expanded by Henry Ford, beginning in 1913 with the world's first moving assembly line for cars at the Highland Park Ford Plant. As a result, Ford's cars came off the line in fifteen-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, increasing productivity eightfold, while using less manpower (from 12.5-man-hours to 1 hour 33 minutes).[37] It was so successful, paint became a bottleneck. Only Japan black would dry fast enough, forcing the company to drop the variety of colors available before 1913, until fast-drying Duco lacquer was developed in 1926. This is the source of Ford's apocryphal remark, "any color as long as it's black".[37] In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay.[37] Ford's complex safety procedures—especially assigning each worker to a specific location instead of allowing them to roam about—dramatically reduced the rate of injury.[citation needed] The combination of high wages and high efficiency is called "Fordism," and was copied by most major industries. The efficiency gains from the assembly line also coincided with the economic rise of the United States. The assembly line forced workers to work at a certain pace with very repetitive motions which led to more output per worker while other countries were using less productive methods. In the automotive industry, its success was dominating, and quickly spread worldwide seeing the founding of Ford France and Ford Britain in 1911, Ford Denmark 1923, Ford Germany 1925; in 1921, Citroen was the first native European manufacturer to adopt the production method. Soon, companies had to have assembly lines, or risk going broke; by 1930, 250 companies which did not, had disappeared.[37] Development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to the hundreds of small manufacturers competing to gain the world's attention. Key developments included electric ignition and the electric self-starter (both by Charles Kettering, for the Cadillac Motor Company in 1910–1911), independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes. Since the 1920s, nearly all cars have been mass-produced to meet market needs, so marketing plans often have heavily influenced car design. It was Alfred P. Sloan who established the idea of different makes of cars produced by one company, called the General Motors Companion Make Program, so that buyers could "move up" as their fortunes improved. Reflecting the rapid pace of change, makes shared parts with one another so larger production volume resulted in lower costs for each price range. For example, in the 1930s, LaSalles, sold by Cadillac, used cheaper mechanical parts made by Oldsmobile; in the 1950s, Chevrolet shared hood, doors, roof, and windows with Pontiac; by the 1990s, corporate powertrains and shared platforms (with interchangeable brakes, suspension, and other parts) were common. Even so, only major makers could afford high costs, and even companies with decades of production, such as Apperson, Cole, Dorris, Haynes, or Premier, could not manage: of some two hundred American car makers in existence in 1920, only 43 survived in 1930, and with the Great Depression, by 1940, only 17 of those were left.[37] In Europe, much the same would happen. Morris set up its production line at Cowley in 1924, and soon outsold Ford, while beginning in 1923 to follow Ford's practice of vertical integration, buying Hotchkiss (engines), Wrigley (gearboxes), and Osberton (radiators), for instance, as well as competitors, such as Wolseley: in 1925, Morris had 41% of total British car production. Most British small-car assemblers, from Abbey to Xtra, had gone under. Citroen did the same in France, coming to cars in 1919; between them and other cheap cars in reply such as Renault's 10CV and Peugeot's 5CV, they produced 550,000 cars in 1925, and Mors, Hurtu, and others could not compete.[37] Germany's first mass-manufactured car, the Opel 4PS Laubfrosch (Tree Frog), came off the line at Russelsheim in 1924, soon making Opel the top car builder in Germany, with 37.5% of the market.[37] In Japan, car production was very limited before World War II. Only a handful of companies were producing vehicles in limited numbers, and these were small, three-wheeled for commercial uses, like Daihatsu, or were the result of partnering with European companies, like Isuzu building the Wolseley A-9 in 1922. Mitsubishi was also partnered with Fiat and built the Mitsubishi Model A based on a Fiat vehicle. Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, and Honda began as companies producing non-automotive products before the war, switching to car production during the 1950s. Kiichiro Toyoda's decision to take Toyoda Loom Works into automobile manufacturing would create what would eventually become Toyota Motor Corporation, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Subaru, meanwhile, was formed from a conglomerate of six companies who banded together as Fuji Heavy Industries, as a result of having been broken up under keiretsu legislation. Fuel and propulsion technologies See also: Alternative fuel vehicle  The Nissan Leaf is an all-electric car launched in December 2010 The transport sector is a major contributor to air pollution, noise pollution and climate change.[38] Most cars in use in the 2010s run on gasoline burnt in an internal combustion engine (ICE). The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers says that, in countries that mandate low sulfur gasoline, gasoline-fuelled cars built to late 2010s standards (such as Euro-6) emit very little local air pollution.[39][40] Some cities ban older gasoline-fuelled cars and some countries plan to ban sales in future. However some environmental groups say this phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles must be brought forward to limit climate change. Production of gasoline fueled cars peaked in 2017.[41][42] Other hydrocarbon fossil fuels also burnt by deflagration (rather than detonation) in ICE cars include diesel, Autogas and CNG. Removal of fossil fuel subsidies,[43][44] concerns about oil dependence, tightening environmental laws and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for cars. This includes hybrid vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. 2.1 million light electric vehicles (of all types but mainly cars) were sold in 2018, over half in China: this was an increase of 64% on the previous year, giving a global total on the road of 5.4 million.[45] Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles[clarification needed] are also gaining popularity in some countries.[citation needed] Cars for racing or speed records have sometimes employed jet or rocket engines, but these are impractical for common use. Oil consumption has increased rapidly in the 20th and 21st centuries because there are more cars; the 1985–2003 oil glut even fuelled the sales of low-economy vehicles in OECD countries. The BRIC countries are adding to this consumption. User interface See also: Car controls  In the Ford Model T the left-side hand lever sets the rear wheel parking brakes and puts the transmission in neutral. The lever to the right controls the throttle. The lever on the left of the steering column is for ignition timing. The left foot pedal changes the two forward gears while the centre pedal controls reverse. The right pedal is the brake. Cars are equipped with controls used for driving, passenger comfort, and safety, normally operated by a combination of the use of feet and hands, and occasionally by voice on 21st-century cars. These controls include a steering wheel, pedals for operating the brakes and controlling the car's speed (and, in a manual transmission car, a clutch pedal), a shift lever or stick for changing gears, and a number of buttons and dials for turning on lights, ventilation, and other functions. Modern cars' controls are now standardized, such as the location for the accelerator and brake, but this was not always the case. Controls are evolving in response to new technologies, for example, the electric car and the integration of mobile communications. Some of the original controls are no longer required. For example, all cars once had controls for the choke valve, clutch, ignition timing, and a crank instead of an electric starter. However new controls have also been added to vehicles, making them more complex. These include air conditioning, navigation systems, and in car entertainment. Another trend is the replacement of physical knobs and switches by secondary controls with touchscreen controls such as BMW's iDrive and Ford's MyFord Touch. Another change is that while early cars' pedals were physically linked to the brake mechanism and throttle, in the 2010s, cars have increasingly replaced these physical linkages with electronic controls. Lighting Main article: Automotive lighting  LED daytime running lights on an Audi A4 Cars are typically fitted with multiple types of lights. These include headlights, which are used to illuminate the way ahead and make the car visible to other users, so that the vehicle can be used at night; in some jurisdictions, daytime running lights; red brake lights to indicate when the brakes are applied; amber turn signal lights to indicate the turn intentions of the driver; white-colored reverse lights to illuminate the area behind the car (and indicate that the driver will be or is reversing); and on some vehicles, additional lights (e.g., side marker lights) to increase the visibility of the car. Interior lights on the ceiling of the car are usually fitted for the driver and passengers. Some vehicles also have a trunk light and, more rarely, an engine compartment light. Weight  The Smart Fortwo car from 1998 to 2002, weighing 730 kg (1,610 lb)  A Chevrolet Suburban extended-length SUV weighs 3,300 kg (7,200 lb) (gross weight)[46] During the late 20th and early 21st century cars increased in weight due to batteries,[47] modern steel safety cages, anti-lock brakes, airbags, and "more-powerful—if more-efficient—engines"[48] and, as of 2019, typically weigh between 1 and 3 tonnes.[49] Heavier cars are safer for the driver from a crash perspective, but more dangerous for other vehicles and road users.[48] The weight of a car influences fuel consumption and performance, with more weight resulting in increased fuel consumption and decreased performance. The SmartFortwo, a small city car, weighs 750–795 kg (1,655–1,755 lb). Heavier cars include full-size cars, SUVs and extended-length SUVs like the Suburban. According to research conducted by Julian Allwood of the University of Cambridge, global energy use could be greatly reduced by using lighter cars, and an average weight of 500 kg (1,100 lb) has been said to be well achievable.[50][better source needed] In some competitions such as the Shell Eco Marathon, average car weights of 45 kg (99 lb) have also been achieved.[51] These cars are only single-seaters (still falling within the definition of a car, although 4-seater cars are more common), but they nevertheless demonstrate the amount by which car weights could still be reduced, and the subsequent lower fuel use (i.e. up to a fuel use of 2560 km/l).[52] Seating and body style See also: Car body style, Car classification, Truck classification, and Vehicle size class Most cars are designed to carry multiple occupants, often with four or five seats. Cars with five seats typically seat two passengers in the front and three in the rear. Full-size cars and large sport utility vehicles can often carry six, seven, or more occupants depending on the arrangement of the seats. On the other hand, sports cars are most often designed with only two seats. The differing needs for passenger capacity and their luggage or cargo space has resulted in the availability of a large variety of body styles to meet individual consumer requirements that include, among others, the sedan/saloon, hatchback, station wagon/estate, and minivan. Safety Main articles: Car safety, Traffic collision, Low speed vehicle, and Epidemiology of motor vehicle collisions  Result of a serious car collision Traffic collisions are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.[9] Mary Ward became one of the first documented car fatalities in 1869 in Parsonstown, Ireland,[53] and Henry Bliss one of the United States' first pedestrian car casualties in 1899 in New York City.[54] There are now standard tests for safety in new cars, such as the EuroNCAP and the US NCAP tests,[55] and insurance-industry-backed tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).[56] Costs and benefits Main articles: Economics of car usage, Car costs, and Effects of the car on societies  Road congestion is an issue in many major cities. (pictured is Chang'an Avenue in Beijing)[57] The costs of car usage, which may include the cost of: acquiring the vehicle, repairs and auto maintenance, fuel, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance,[8] are weighed against the cost of the alternatives, and the value of the benefits – perceived and real – of vehicle usage. The benefits may include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence and convenience.[10] During the 1920s, cars had another benefit: "[c]ouples finally had a way to head off on unchaperoned dates, plus they had a private space to snuggle up close at the end of the night."[58] Similarly the costs to society of car use may include; maintaining roads, land use, air pollution, road congestion, public health, health care, and of disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life; and can be balanced against the value of the benefits to society that car use generates. Societal benefits may include: economy benefits, such as job and wealth creation, of car production and maintenance, transportation provision, society wellbeing derived from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the tax opportunities. The ability of humans to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.[11] Environmental impact See also: Exhaust gas, Waste tires, Environmental impact of transport, Motor vehicle emissions and pregnancy, Noise pollution, Environmental aspects of the electric car, Vehicle recycling, and Externalities of automobiles  Vehicles in use per country from 2001 to 2007. It shows the significant growth in BRIC. Cars are a major cause of urban air pollution,[59] with all types of cars producing dust from brakes, tyres and road wear.[60] As of 2018 the average diesel car has a worse effect on air quality than the average gasoline car[61] But both gasoline and diesel cars pollute more than electric cars.[62] While there are different ways to power cars most rely on gasoline or diesel, and they consume almost a quarter of world oil production as of 2019.[41] In 2018 passenger road vehicles emitted 3.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.[63] As of 2019, due to greenhouse gases emitted during battery production, electric cars must be driven tens of thousands of kilometers before their lifecycle carbon emissions are less than fossil fuel cars:[64] but this is expected to improve in future due to longer lasting[65] batteries being produced in larger factories,[66] and lower carbon electricity. Many governments are using fiscal policies, such as road tax, to discourage the purchase and use of more polluting cars;[67] and many cities are doing the same with low-emission zones.[68] Fuel taxes may act as an incentive for the production of more efficient, hence less polluting, car designs (e.g. hybrid vehicles) and the development of alternative fuels. High fuel taxes or cultural change may provide a strong incentive for consumers to purchase lighter, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, or to not drive.[68] The lifetime of a car built in the 2020s is expected to be about 16 years, or about 2 million kilometres (1.2 million miles) if driven a lot.[69] According to the International Energy Agency fuel economy improved 0.7% in 2017, but an annual improvement of 3.7% is needed to meet the Global Fuel Economy Initiative 2030 target.[70] The increase in sales of SUVs is bad for fuel economy.[41] Many cities in Europe, have banned older fossil fuel cars and all fossil fuel vehicles will be banned in Amsterdam from 2030.[71] Many Chinese cities limit licensing of fossil fuel cars,[72] and many countries plan to stop selling them between 2025 and 2050.[73] The manufacture of vehicles is resource intensive, and many manufacturers now report on the environmental performance of their factories, including energy usage, waste and water consumption.[74] Manufacturing each kWh of battery emits a similar amount of carbon as burning through one full tank of gasoline.[75] The growth in popularity of the car allowed cities to sprawl, therefore encouraging more travel by car resulting in inactivity and obesity, which in turn can lead to increased risk of a variety of diseases.[76] Animals and plants are often negatively impacted by cars via habitat destruction and pollution. Over the lifetime of the average car the "loss of habitat potential" may be over 50,000 m2 (540,000 sq ft) based on primary production correlations.[77] Animals are also killed every year on roads by cars, referred to as roadkill. More recent road developments are including significant environmental mitigation in their designs, such as green bridges (designed to allow wildlife crossings) and creating wildlife corridors. Growth in the popularity of vehicles and commuting has led to traffic congestion. Moscow, Istanbul, Bogota, Mexico City and Sao Paulo were the world's most congested cities in 2018 according to INRIX, a data analytics company.[78] Emerging car technologies Although intensive development of conventional battery electric vehicles is continuing into the 2020s,[79] other car propulsion technologies that are under development include wheel hub motors,[80] wireless charging,[81] hydrogen cars,[82] and hydrogen/electric hybrids.[83] Research into alternative forms of power includes using ammonia instead of hydrogen in fuel cells.[84] New materials[85] which may replace steel car bodies include duralumin, fiberglass, carbon fiber, biocomposites, and carbon nanotubes. Telematics technology is allowing more and more people to share cars, on a pay-as-you-go basis, through car share and carpool schemes. Communication is also evolving due to connected car systems.[86] Autonomous car Main article: Autonomous car This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2019)  A robotic Volkswagen Passat shown at Stanford University is a driverless car Fully autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless cars, already exist in prototype (such as the Google driverless car), but have a long way to go before they are in general use. Open source development Main article: Open source car There have been several projects aiming to develop a car on the principles of open design, an approach to designing in which the plans for the machinery and systems are publicly shared, often without monetary compensation. The projects include OScar, Riversimple (through 40fires.org)[87] and c,mm,n.[88] None of the projects have reached significant success in terms of developing a car as a whole both from hardware and software perspective and no mass production ready open-source based design have been introduced as of late 2009. Some car hacking through on-board diagnostics (OBD) has been done so far.[89] Car sharing Car-share arrangements and carpooling are also increasingly popular, in the US and Europe.[90] For example, in the US, some car-sharing services have experienced double-digit growth in revenue and membership growth between 2006 and 2007. Services like car sharing offering a residents to "share" a vehicle rather than own a car in already congested neighborhoods.[91] Industry Main article: Automotive industry This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2019)  A car being assembled in a factory The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world's motor vehicles, more than three-quarters of which are cars. In 2018 there were 70 million cars manufactured worldwide,[92] down 2 million from the previous year.[93] The automotive industry in China produces by far the most (24 million in 2018), followed by Japan (8 million), Germany (5 million) and India (4 million).[92] The largest market is China, followed by the USA. Around the world there are about a billion cars on the road;[94] they burn over a trillion liters of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly, consuming about 50 EJ (nearly 300 terawatt-hours) of energy.[95] The numbers of cars are increasing rapidly in China and India.[12] In the opinion of some, urban transport systems based around the car have proved unsustainable, consuming excessive energy, affecting the health of populations, and delivering a declining level of service despite increasing investment. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars.[96][97] The sustainable transport movement focuses on solutions to these problems. The car industry is also facing increasing competition from the public transport sector, as some people re-evaluate their private vehicle usage. Alternatives Main article: Alternatives to car use  The Vélib' in Paris, France is the largest bikesharing system outside China[98] Established alternatives for some aspects of car use include public transport such as buses, trolleybuses, trains, subways, tramways, light rail, cycling, and walking. Bicycle sharing systems have been established in China and many European cities, including Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Similar programs have been developed in large US cities.[99][100] Additional individual modes of transport, such as personal rapid transit could serve as an alternative to cars if they prove to be socially accepted.[101] Other meanings The term motorcar was formerly also used in the context of electrified rail systems to denote a car which functions as a small locomotive but also provides space for passengers and baggage. These locomotive cars were often used on suburban routes by both interurban and intercity railroad systems.[102] See also Cars portal Main article: Outline of automobiles General: • Automobile safety • Car classification • Car costs • Green vehicle • Jaywalking • Motor vehicle fatality rate in U.S. by year • Motor vehicle theft • Peak car • Steering • Traffic collision Effects: • Automobile dependency • Effects of the car on societies • Environmental impact of transport • Externalities of automobiles • Fenceline community • Mobile source air pollution • Noise pollution • Roadway noise • Traffic congestion • Urban decay • Urban sprawl Mitigation: • Car-free movement • Carfree city • Congestion pricing • Highway revolts • New Urbanism • Smart Growth • Transit Oriented Development References 1. ^ Jump up to:
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a b speos.fr. "Niepce Museum, Other Inventions". Niepce.house.museum. Archived from the original on 20 December 2005. Retrieved 26 August 2010. 28. ^ Wakefield, Ernest H. (1994). History of the Electric Automobile. Society of Automotive Engineers. pp. 2–3. ISBN 1-56091-299-5. 29. ^ "The First Car – A History of the Automobile". Ausbcomp.com. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 30. ^ "The Duryea Brothers – Automobile History". Inventors.about.com. 16 September 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 31. ^ Longstreet, Stephen. A Century on Wheels: The Story of Studebaker. New York: Henry Holt. p. 121. 1st edn., 1952. 32. ^ Clymer, Floyd. Treasury of Early American Automobiles, 1877–1925 (New York: Bonanza Books, 1950), p.178. 33. ^ Burgess Wise, D. (1970). Veteran and Vintage Cars. London: Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-00283-7. 34. ^ Jump up to:
a b c Georgano, N. (2000). Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile. London: HMSO. ISBN 1-57958-293-1. 35. ^ Jerina, Nataša G. (May 2014). "Turin Charter ratified by FIVA". TICCIH. Archived from the original on 11 March 2018. Retrieved 11 March 2018. 36. ^ "Industrialization of American Society". Engr.sjsu.edu. Archived from the original on 19 September 2010. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 37. ^ Jump up to:
a b c d e f g Georgano, G. N. (2000). Vintage Cars 1886 to 1930. Sweden: AB Nordbok. ISBN 1-85501-926-4. 38. ^ "Transport greenhouse gas emissions". European Environment Agency. Retrieved 11 March 2019. 39. ^ "14 Countries and Territory State Move Up in Top 100 Ranking on Gasoline Sulfur Limits". Stratas Advisors. 30 July 2018. 40. ^ "'Among the worst in OECD': Australia's addiction to cheap, dirty petrol". The Guardian. 4 February 2019. 41. ^ Jump up to:
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a b Lowrey, Annie (27 June 2011). "Your Big Car Is Killing Me". Slate. Retrieved 25 November 2015. 49. ^ Sellén, Magnus (2 August 2019). "How much does a Car Weigh? - [Weight List by Car Model & Type]". Mechanic Base. Retrieved 1 December 2019. 50. ^ "Possible global energy reducstion". New Scientist. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 51. ^ Robarts, Stu (26 May 2016). "Behind the wheel of a super-efficient Shell Eco-marathon car". New Atlas. Australia. Retrieved 11 June 2018. 52. ^ "Andy Green's 8000-mile/gallon car". Mindfully.org. Archived from the originalon 18 May 2016. Retrieved 17 July 2011. 53. ^ "Mary Ward 1827–1869". Universityscience.ie. Archived from the original on 11 March 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008. 54. ^ "CityStreets – Bliss plaque". Archived from the original on 26 August 2006. 55. ^ "SaferCar.gov – NHTSA". Archived from the original on 27 July 2004. 56. ^ "Insurance Institute for Highway Safety". 57. ^ Fran Tonkiss. Space, the city and social theory: social relations and urban forms. Polity, 2005 58. ^ Anthony, Ariana (9 May 2013). "Dating in the 1920s: Lipstick, Booze and the Origins of Slut-Shaming | HowAboutWe". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 November2015. 59. ^ Sengupta, Somini; Popovich, Nadja (14 November 2019). "Cities Worldwide Are Reimagining Their Relationship With Cars". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 1 December 2019. 60. ^ Smith, Luke John (18 July 2019). "The UK air pollution problem that won't be solved with switch to electric cars". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 1 December 2019. 61. ^ Leggett, Theo (21 January 2018). "Reality Check: Are diesel cars always the most harmful?". Retrieved 1 December 2019. 62. ^ "EEA report confirms: electric cars are better for climate and air quality". European Environment Agency. Retrieved 1 December 2019. 63. ^ "Tracking Transport – Analysis". IEA. Retrieved 26 January 2020. 64. ^ "Estimation of CO2 Emissions of Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle and Battery Electric Vehicle Using LCA". Sustainability. 65. ^ "carbonfootprint.com - Electric Vehicles". www.carbonfootprint.com. Retrieved 1 December 2019. 66. ^ Hoekstra, Auke (3 November 2019). "Tomorrow is Good: why German automobile club study is the anti-electric lobby at its finest". Innovation Origins. Retrieved 1 December 2019. 67. ^ "A Review and Comparative Analysis of Fiscal Policies Associated with New Passenger Vehicle CO2 Emissions" (PDF). International Council on Clean Transportation. February 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 68. ^ Jump up to:
a b Sherwood, Harriet (26 January 2020). "Brighton, Bristol, York ... city centres signal the end of the road for cars". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 26 January 2020. 69. ^ "Tesla supplier ready to make million-mile battery". BBC News. 8 June 2020. Retrieved 9 June 2020. 70. ^ "Fuel economy". www.iea.org. Retrieved 5 September 2019. 71. ^ Boffey, Daniel (3 May 2019). "Amsterdam to ban petrol and diesel cars and motorbikes by 2030". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 May 2019. 72. ^ Lambert, Fred (6 June 2019). "China boosts electric car sales by removing license plate quotas". Electrek. Retrieved 11 June 2019. 73. ^ Schwanen, Tim (19 September 2019). "The five major challenges facing electric vehicles". Retrieved 19 September 2019. 74. ^ "Volvo's carbon-free car factory". Ends Report. October 2005. Retrieved 15 October 2013. 75. ^ Group, Drax. "Drax Electric Insights". Drax Electric Insights. Retrieved 12 September 2019. 76. ^ "Our Ailing Communities". Metropolis Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 February 2007. 77. ^ Ball, Jeffrey (9 March 2009). "Six Products, Six Carbon Footprints". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on 6 December 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2011. 78. ^ Newman, Katelyn (12 February 2019). "Cities With the World's Worst Traffic Congestion". US News. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 79. ^ "EV battery research projects get £55m funding boost". Air Quality News. 5 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019. 80. ^ Schmidt, Bridie (14 June 2019). "Turn on a penny: Hyundai developing electric cars with motors inside the wheels". The Driven. Retrieved 26 June 2019. 81. ^ "Wireless electric car charging gets cash boost". 9 July 2019. Retrieved 3 January2020. 82. ^ "China's Hydrogen Vehicle Dream Chased With $17 Billion of Funding". 23 July 2019. Retrieved 23 July 2019. 83. ^ "Motor Mouth: Is Mazda's e-TPV the perfect electric vehicle?". Driving. 3 September 2019. Retrieved 5 September 2019. 84. ^ "Ammonia for fuel cells". phys.org. Retrieved 5 September 2019. 85. ^ Vyas, Kashyap (3 October 2018). "This New Material Can Transform the Car Manufacturing Industry". Interesting Engineering. Turkey. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 86. ^ "Inside Uniti's plan to build the iPhone of EVs". GreenMotor.co.uk. Retrieved 26 June 2017. 87. ^ "FortyFires: Main". 40fires.org. Archived from the original on 1 July 2010. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 88. ^ "open source mobility: home". c,mm,n. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 89. ^ "Geek My Ride presentation at linux.conf.au 2009". Archived from the originalon 11 April 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 90. ^ "Global Automotive Consumer Study - exploring consumer preferences and mobility choices in Europe" (PDF). Deloitte. 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 July 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015. 91. ^ "Flexcar Expands to Philadelphia". Green Car Congress. 2 April 2007. 92. ^ Jump up to:
a b "2018 Production Statistics". International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. 93. ^ "2017 Production Statistics". International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. 94. ^ "PC World Vehicles in Use" (PDF). International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 95. ^ "Global Transportation Energy Consumption: Examination of Scenarios to 2040 using ITEDD" (PDF). Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 96. ^ World Health Organisation, Europe. "Health effects of transport". Retrieved 29 August 2008. 97. ^ "GLOBAL ACTION FOR HEALTHY STREETS: ANNUAL REPORT 2018" (PDF). FiA Foundation. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 98. ^ Larsen, Janet (25 April 2013). "Bike-Sharing Programs Hit the Streets in Over 500 Cities Worldwide". Earth Policy Institute. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 99. ^ "About Bike Share Programs". Tech Bikes MIT. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2019. 100. ^ Cambell, Charlie (2 April 2018). "The Trouble with Sharing: China's Bike Fever Has Reached Saturation Point". Time. Retrieved 18 August 2019. 101. ^ Kay, Jane Holtz (1998). Asphalt Nation: how the automobile took over America, and how we can take it back. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21620-2. 102. ^ "atchison_177". Laparks.org. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011. Further reading * Halberstam, David (1986). The Reckoning. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0-688-04838-2. * Kay, Jane Holtz (1997). Asphalt nation : how the automobile took over America, and how we can take it back. New York: Crown. ISBN 0-517-58702-5. * Williams, Heathcote (1991). Autogeddon. New York: Arcade. ISBN 1-55970-176-5. * Sachs, Wolfgang (1992). For love of the automobile: looking back into the history of our desires. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06878-5. * Margolius, Ivan (2020). "What is an automobile?". The Automobile. 37 (11): 48–52. ISSN 0955-1328. External links Wikiquote has quotations related to: Car Wikisource has original text related to this article: California AB 1493 Look up car in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. * •  Media related to Automobiles at Wikimedia Commons * Automobile at the Encyclopædia Britannica * Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile * Forum for the Automobile and Society show • vte Car interior show • vte Car design show • vte Automotive design show • vte Internal combustion engine show • vte Powertrain show • vte Chassis control system show • vte Automotive industry show • vte Private transport Authority control  • BNE: XX525492GND: 4129315-0HDS: 013901LCCN: sh85010201LNB: 000055411NARA: 10640181NDL: 00574667 * Categories: CarsWheeled vehiclesGerman inventions19th-century inventions   Driven! 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Crude Oil Below $98 As Predicted By FxEmpire
Crude oil is trading at 97.85 down by 46 cents this morning even the weak US dollar is not making the energy commodity attractive to buyers in Asia. Yesterday as markets digested a disappointing a lackluster jobs report, West Texas Intermediate oil fell 0.2 percent to $98.13 after sliding almost 3 percent the past two days. Brent futures were little changed at $109.92 today. WTI’s discount to Brent crude widened to the most since April. Analysts are predicting the Energy Information Administration will say today that U.S. crude inventories rose a fifth week. Stockpiles rose by a more-than-expected 4 million barrels in the week to Oct. 11, a delayed report showed Oct. 21. The rising premium of Brent over WTI is mainly due to the increasing production of oil in North America and lingering concerns over supply disruptions in the Middle East” amid unrest in Syria and tensions over Iran while diplomatic negotiations continue between the West and Iran to ease embargo terms. Iran is reaching out to its old oil buyers and is ready to cut prices if Western sanctions against it are eased, promising a battle for market share in a world less hungry for oil than when sanctions were imposed. Russian energy companies signed a slew of deals with China on Tuesday, seeking to lock in sales to fund costly production and pipeline projects that will direct exports away from Europe to Asia.

Yesterday, a US Labor Department report showed the country added 148,000 jobs in September, well below the 183,000 expected by analysts. But the report, delayed owing to the recent government shutdown, showed the unemployment rate fell to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent a month earlier. Many analysts said the jobs report suggested that the Federal Reserve was unlikely to reduce its stimulus program for the economy in the near future. Economists at J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs said Tuesday any cutbacks in the Federal Reserve‘s bond-buying stimulus program are unlikely to come until next spring. The forecasters weighed in on the monetary policy outlook in the wake of the release of September jobs data, which had been delayed by the government shutdown. The report showed only a modest improvement in the jobs market, with payrolls rising by 148,000 and the unemployment rate slipping to 7.2%, from 7.3%. The tepid nature of the gains means the Fed will almost certainly press what is now an $85 billion-per-month bond-buying campaign into the spring of 2014, the analysts said. Continuation of quantitative easing has the implicit assumption the US recovery is still battling strong headwinds, leading to lower energy demand than predicted. The fundamentals suggest domestic oil producers could be in for a rough ride. In the U.S. shale oil race, the Eagle Ford formation in Texas has beaten North Dakota’s Bakken to the 1 million barrel per day milestone, according to a U.S. Energy Information Administration report on Tuesday. As fracking allows producers to take out more oil and natural gas, US production numbers are soaring. Natural gas is trading at 3.5811 down by 11 pips this morning ahead of this week’s inventory release as supplies continue to climb. Natural gas ended down for a second straight day on Tuesday; with growing supplies driving the front-month contract to its lowest level in two weeks despite a government report showing a weekly inventory build slightly below market expectations.

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7 The first mention of a product called bitcoin was in August 2008 when two programmers using the names Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi registered a new domain, bitcoin.org. In October of the same year, Nakamoto released a document, called a white paper, entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” In the preceding months, Nakamoto and a group of volunteer researchers had proposed different versions of the concept in forums and email threads. It was in 2008 that it all came together.  The Bitcoin White Paper Source: Satoshi Nakamoto This paper laid out principles of Bitcoin, an electronic payment system that would eliminate the need for any central authority while ensuring secure, verifiable transactions. In short, the document described a new form of currency, one that allowed for trustless payments on the web – that is, they require a minimal amount or even no trust between parties. In other words, the system allowed two users who didn’t know or trust each other to exchange money in the same way they could pass cash back and forth. The system also allowed users to confirm messages, transactions and data using a tool called public key encryption, eliminating any need to disclose their identities to transaction partners or third parties. Pseudonymity, in this case, was a byproduct but not a primary feature. In January 2009, the first bitcoin currency transaction occurred between two computers owned by Nakamoto and the late Hal Finney, a developer and an early cryptocurrency enthusiast.  To this day, no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto really is. Even a man named Dorian Nakamoto was erroneously named as Bitcoin’s creator by a Newsweek reporter in 2014.  Dorian Nakamoto wasn't Satoshi. Source: Newsweeklied.com In the end, however, because of the decentralized nature of the platform, it is not considered important to know who Satoshi Nakamoto is. Bitcoin Up Close Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by computers all around the world using free software and held electronically in programs called wallets. The smallest unit of a bitcoin is called a satoshi. It is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin (0.00000001). This enables microtransactions that traditional electronic money cannot perform. Bitcoin, often abbreviated by the ticker symbol BTC, was the first example of what we now call a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are a growing asset class that shares some characteristics with traditional currencies except they are purely digital, and creation and ownership verification is based on cryptography. Generally the term “bitcoin” has two possible interpretations. There’s bitcoin the token, which refers to the keys to a unit of the digital currency that users own and trade. A bitcoin token is held in a bitcoin wallet that is identified by a string of numbers and letters such as “1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa.” When someone wants to send you bitcoin, that person will send it to your particular, public wallet address, and you will access it via your private keys.  Then there’s Bitcoin the protocol, a distributed ledger that maintains the balances of all token trading. These ledgers are massive files stored on thousands of computers around the world. The network records each transaction onto these ledgers and then propagates them to all of the other ledgers on the network. Once all of the networks agree that they have recorded all of the correct information – including additional data added to a transaction that allows the network to store data immutably – the network permanently confirms the transaction.  Bitcoin can be used to pay for things electronically, if both parties are willing. In that sense it’s like conventional dollars, euros or yen, which can also be traded digitally using ledgers owned by centralized banks. Unlike payment services such as PayPal or credit cards, however, once you send a bitcoin, the transaction is irreversible – it cannot be called back.  That said, bitcoin does not depend on a centralized system of banking. Because each node on the network is owned by a private entity, the entire network is responsible for maintaining the accuracy of the ledger. When you send a bitcoin – or a fraction of a bitcoin – to another person, the entire network takes part. This process is called decentralization, one of the Bitcoin network’s most important characteristics. No single institution controls the bitcoin network. The protocol is maintained by a group of volunteer coders, and run by an open network of dedicated computers around the world.  Since there is no central validator in this network, users do not need to identify themselves when sending bitcoin to others. When a sender initiates a transaction, the protocol checks all previous transactions to confirm the sender has the necessary bitcoin as well as the authority to send them. Put another way, bitcoin users theoretically operate in semi-anonymity and the network is self-policing, ensuring that bad actors cannot be rewarded.  Bitcoin is also pseudo-anonymous. In practice, each user is identified by the address of his or her wallet, which can be used to track transactions. Law enforcement has also developed methods to identify users if necessary. Most exchanges are required by law to perform identity checks on their customers before they are allowed to buy or sell bitcoin. This means an exchange-assigned wallet address is most likely connected to a particular user. However, cryptocurrency wallets are not limited to exchanges or other online services, and a wallet generated by an anonymous user on a single computer is fairly difficult to trace. Further, every transaction on the network is fully transparent, a fact that concerns some privacy advocates. Ultimately, tracing a bitcoin transaction to a specific person is difficult but not impossible, and any statements describing the “anonymity” of bitcoin are inaccurate.  Source: Shutterstock Since the network is transparent, the progress of a particular transaction is visible to all. Once that transaction is confirmed, it cannot be reversed. This means any transaction on the bitcoin network cannot be tampered with, making it immune to hackers. Most bitcoin hacks happen at the wallet level, with hackers stealing the keys to hoards of bitcoins rather than affecting the Bitcoin protocol itself. Another attribute of bitcoin that takes away the need for central banks is that its supply is tightly controlled by the underlying algorithm. With fiat currencies (dollars, euros, yen, etc.), central banks can issue as many currency units as they want and can attempt to manipulate a currency’s value relative to others. Holders of the currency, especially citizens with little alternative, bear the cost. With bitcoin, a small number of new coins trickle out every hour, and will continue to do so at a diminishing rate until a maximum of 21 million has been reached. This makes bitcoin more attractive as an asset: in theory, if demand grows and the supply remains the same, the value will increase. Generally, the value of bitcoin has risen greatly since its inception, peaking in December 2017 at a price of $19,783.06 (in U.S. dollars). On Nov. 30, 2020, the price briefly rose above that mark to $19,850.11. The actual price of a decentralized asset like bitcoin isn’t strictly defined. Different services and exchanges may quote different prices for bitcoin at any given time, accounted for by discrepancies in asset liquidity, slippage and other factors. CoinDesk uses its own Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), which represents an average of bitcoin prices across leading global exchanges. Roughly every four years, the amount of bitcoin that miners can earn in the network will be halved, potentially driving up the asset’s price. Such an event is called bitcoin halving (the most recent one happened in May 2020). By Noelle Acheson, John Biggs and Hoa Nguyen DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 02 How Can I Buy Bitcoin? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jan 7, 2021 at 3:15 p.m. So you’ve learned the basics of bitcoin, now you’re excited about its potential and want to buy some. But how? Bitcoin can be bought on exchanges or directly from other people via marketplaces. You can purchase bitcoin in a variety of ways, using anything from hard cash to credit and debit cards to wire transfers, or even other cryptocurrencies, depending on who you are buying them from and where you live. The first step is to set up a wallet to store your bitcoin – you will need one, whether you’re buying bitcoin online or with cash. This could be an online wallet (either part of an exchange platform, or via an independent provider), a desktop wallet, a mobile wallet or an offline one (such as a hardware device or a paper wallet). You can find more information on some of the wallets out there, as well as tips on how to use them, here and here. The most important part of any wallet is keeping your keys and/or passwords safe. If you lose them, you lose access to the bitcoin stored there. In addition, never invest more than you can afford to lose – cryptocurrencies are volatile and their prices could go down as well as up. If you want to buy bitcoin online, you can open an account at a cryptocurrency exchange that will buy and sell bitcoin on your behalf. There are hundreds currently operating, with varying degrees of liquidity and security, and new ones continue to emerge while others end up closing down due to hacking. As with wallets, it is advisable to do some research before choosing – you may be lucky enough to have several reputable exchanges to choose from, or there might just be one or two based on your geographical area. High-volume exchanges include Coinbase, Bitfinex, Bitstamp and Poloniex. For small amounts, most reputable exchanges should work well.  With the clampdown on know-your-client (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) regulation, many exchanges now require verified identification for account setup. This usually includes a photo of your official ID, and sometimes also a proof of address. Most exchanges accept payments via bank transfers or credit cards, and some are willing to work with Paypal transfers. They typically charge fees for each transaction, which include the cost for using the bitcoin network. A bitcoin transaction takes anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days to process, depending on the traffic in the network as well as the fee attached to that transaction. Once the exchange has received payment, it will purchase the corresponding amount of bitcoin on your behalf, and deposit them in an automatically generated wallet on the exchange. You should then move the funds to your off-exchange wallet.  BATMTwo Bitcoin ATM Source: Bitcoin ATM If you prefer to buy bitcoin with cash, platforms such as LocalBitcoins will help find individuals near you who are willing to exchange bitcoin for cash. Also, LibertyX lists retail outlets across the United States at which you can exchange cash for bitcoin. And WallofCoins, Paxful and BitQuick will direct you to a bank branch near you that will allow you to make a cash deposit and receive bitcoin a few hours later.  Localbitcoin coverage Source: LocalBitcoins.com Bitcoin ATMs are machines that will send bitcoin to your wallet in exchange for cash. They operate in a similar way to bank ATMs – you feed in the bills, hold your wallet’s QR code up to a screen, and the corresponding amount of bitcoin is beamed to your account. Coinatmradar can help you to find a bitcoin ATM near you. (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) By Noelle Acheson, John Biggs and Hoa Nguyen DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 03 Why Use Bitcoin? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Sep 4, 2020 at 1:14 p.m. Satoshi Nakamoto originally created Bitcoin as an alternative, decentralized payment method. Unlike international bank transfers, it was low-cost and almost instantaneous.  An added advantage for merchants (less so for users) was that it was irreversible, removing the threat of expensive charge-backs. In return, consumers benefit from a wider selection of merchants both domestic and international without worrying about exchange fees. Moreover, the details of their transactions are encrypted which protects their personal data.  The improvement in domestic payment methods and the rapid development of alternative (non-cryptocurrency) forms of international transfers, however, has reduced bitcoin’s advantage in this area, especially given its increasing fees and frequent network bottlenecks.  payments Source: Shutterstock Furthermore, the increasing oversight and regulation to prevent money laundering and illegal transactions have restricted the cryptocurrency’s use for privacy reasons. In some parts of the world, bitcoin is still a more efficient and cheaper way to transfer money across borders, and several remittance startups make use of this feature. Last year, Coinbase added cross-border transfers and custody services for high-volume clients in Asia and Europe. A recent partnership between crypto exchange Bitex and Uruguay-based banking service provider Bantotal now facilitates direct bitcoin payments across 60 banks in Latin America.  Bitcoin’s cost and speed advantages, though, are being eroded as traditional channels improve and the network’s fees continue to increase and availability remains a problem in many countries. Also, a number of large and small retailers accept the cryptocurrency as a form of payment, although reports suggest that demand for this function is not high. And many individuals feel more comfortable holding a part of their wealth in securely-stored bitcoin wallets, where a central authority cannot block access or take a cut. Since the coronavirus lockdown began in March, we’ve witnessed a surge in demand for bitcoin wallets as users search for alternative self-custody solutions. The pandemic has also seemed to accelerate the widespread adoption of blockchain technology, as more and more businesses, payments companies and e-commerce marketplaces turn to digital currencies, especially stablecoins.  Recently bitcoin seems to have assumed the role of investment asset, as traders, institutional investors and small savers have woken up to the potential gains from price appreciation. According to some sources, bitcoin is increasingly being used for money laundering. But blockchain analytics startups and crypto tracing firms are rolling out new tools to help exchanges comply with anti-money laundering standards. And anyway, bitcoin is not, as is commonly believed, a good vehicle for money laundering, extorsion or terrorism financing, since it is both traceable and transparent – as a spate of recent arrests can attest. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 04 How to Store Your Bitcoin Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Apr 6, 2021 at 5:43 p.m. Before holding any bitcoin, you need somewhere to store it. Just like in the physical world, you store your bitcoin in a wallet.  Similar to a bank account number, your wallet comes with a wallet address that shows up in a ledger search and is shared with others so you can make transactions. This address, which is a shorter, more usable version of your public key, consists of between 26 and 35 random alphanumeric characters, something like 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa. Keep in mind that every letter and number in that address is important. Before sending any bitcoin to your wallet, double-check the entire address, character by character.   Also tied to your wallet address is one or more private keys, which as the name suggests should not be shared with anyone. Keys are used to verify you own the aforementioned public key, and to sign off on transactions. Some wallets create a secure seed phrase, a set of words that will allow you to unlock your wallet if you lose your keys. Print this phrase out and keep it in a safe place.  Source: Shutterstock The unfortunate truth is your bitcoin wallet is akin to your physical wallet. If you lose the private keys to your wallet, you’re most likely going to lose the currency in it forever.  Your wallet generates a master file where your public and private keys are stored. This file should be backed up in case the original file is lost or damaged. Otherwise, you risk losing access to your funds. You can store your private keys on your computer, mobile device, on a physical storage gadget or even on a piece of paper. It’s crucial that you keep your private keys safe by generating backups both online and offline. Remember: Your wallet does not reside on any single device. The wallet itself resides on the Bitcoin blockchain, just as your banking app doesn’t truly “hold” the cash in your checking account. While wallet apps work well and are relatively safe, the safest option is a hardware wallet you keep offline, in a secure place. The most popular hardware wallets use special layers of security to ensure your keys are not stolen and your bitcoin is safe. But, once again, if you lose the hardware wallet your bitcoins are gone unless you have kept reliable backups of the keys. The least-secure option is an online wallet, i.e. storing your bitcoin in an exchange. This is because the keys are held by a third party. For many, the online exchange wallets are the easiest to set up and use, presenting an all-too-familiar choice: convenience versus safety. Many serious bitcoin investors use a hybrid approach: They hold a core, long-term amount of bitcoin offline in so-called “cold storage,” while keeping a spending balance in a mobile account.  Depending on your bitcoin strategy and willingness to get technical, here are the different types of bitcoin wallets available. Bitcoin.org has a helper that will show you which wallet to choose.  Source: Shutterstock Cloud wallets exist online and the keys are usually stored in a distant server run by a third party. Cloud-based wallets tend to have a more user-friendly interface but you will be trusting a third party with your private keys, which makes your funds more susceptible to theft. Some examples of this wallet type are Coinbase, Blockchain and Lumi Wallet. Most cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, have their own native wallets. Some offer additional security features such as offline storage (Coinbase and Xapo). With your private keys stored on a server, you have to trust the host’s security measures and also trust the host won’t disappear with your money or close down and deny you access. Software wallets can be installed directly on your computer, giving you private control of your keys. Most have relatively easy configuration and are free. The disadvantage is you are in charge of securing your keys. Software wallets also require greater security precautions. If your computer is hacked or stolen, the thief can get a copy of your wallet and your bitcoin. While you can download the original software Bitcoin Core protocol (which stores a ledger of all transactions since 2009 and takes up a lot of space), most wallets in use today are “light” wallets, or SPV (Simplified Payment Verification) wallets, which do not download the entire ledger but sync to it.  Electrum is a well-known SPV desktop bitcoin wallet that also offers “cold storage” (a totally offline option for additional security). Exodus can track multiple assets with a sophisticated user interface. Some (such as Jaxx Liberty) can hold a wide range of digital assets, and some (such as Copay) offer the possibility of shared accounts. Before downloading any app, please confirm you are downloading a legitimate copy of a real wallet. Some shady programmers create clones of various crypto websites and offer downloads for free, leading to the possibility of a hack.  Mobile wallets are available as apps for your smartphone, especially useful if you want to pay for something in bitcoin in a shop or if you want to buy, sell or send while on the move. All of the online wallets and most of the desktop ones mentioned above have mobile versions, while others – such as Abra, Edge and Bread – were created with mobile in mind. Remember, many online wallets will store your keys on the phone itself, leading to the possibility of losing your bitcoin if you lose your phone. Always keep a backup of your keys on a different device and print out your seed phrase. Hardware wallets are small devices that connect to the web only to enact bitcoin transactions. They are more secure because they are generally offline and therefore not hackable. They can be stolen or lost, however, along with the bitcoins that belong to the stored private keys, so it’s recommended that you backup your keys. Some large investors keep their hardware wallets in secure locations such as bank vaults. Trezor, Keepkey and Ledger are notable examples. Paper wallets are perhaps the simplest of all the wallets. Paper wallets are pieces of paper that contain the private and public keys of a bitcoin address. Ideal for the long-term storage of bitcoin (away from fire and water, of course) or for the giving of bitcoin as a gift, these wallets are more secure in that they’re not connected to a network. They are, however, easier to lose. With services such as WalletGenerator, you can easily create a new address and print the wallet on your printer. When you’re ready to top up your paper wallet you simply send some bitcoin to that address and then store it safely. Whatever option you go for, be sure to back up everything and only tell your nearest and dearest where your backups are stored. (WARNING: Using an online paper wallet generator can be a security risk since you are trusting the website with key generation; if you do use one, be sure to verify that the code has no backdoors). For more information on how to buy bitcoin, see here. And for some examples of what you can spend it on, see here. (Note: Specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as an official recommendation. Further, companies could go out of business and be replaced with more nefarious owners. Always protect your keys.) UPDATE (April 6, 2021, 19:35 UTC): Added warning about the security risk of paper wallet generators. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 05 How to Sell Bitcoin Jan 25, 2014 at 6:39 a.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. These days virtually all the methods available to buy bitcoin also offer the option to sell.  The exception is bitcoin ATMs – some do allow you to exchange bitcoin for cash, but not all. Coinatmradar will guide you to bitcoin ATMs in your area. All exchanges allow you to sell as well as buy. What type of exchange you choose to sell your bitcoin will depend on what type of holder you are: small investor, institutional holder or trader? Some platforms such as GDAX and Gemini are aimed more at large orders from institutional investors and traders. Retail clients can sell bitcoin at exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, Poloniex, etc. Each exchange has a different interface, and some offer related services such as secure storage. Some require verified identification for all trades, while others are more relaxed if small amounts are involved. (Of course, don’t forget to declare any profit you make on the sale to your relevant tax authority!) You can, if you wish, exchange your bitcoin for other cryptoassets rather than for cash. Some exchanges such as ShapeShift focus on this service, allowing you to swap between bitcoin and ether, litecoin, XRP, dash and several others. Another alternative is the direct sale. You can register as a seller on platforms such as LocalBitcoins, BitQuick, Bittylicious and BitBargain, and interested parties will contact you if they like your price. Transactions are usually done via deposits or wires to your bank account, after which you are expected to transfer the agreed amount of bitcoin to the specified address. Or, you can sell directly to friends and family once they have a bitcoin wallet set up. Just send the bitcoin, collect the cash or mobile payment, and have a celebratory drink together. (Note: it is generally not a good idea to meet up with strangers to exchange bitcoin for cash in person. Be safe.) (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 06 How Do Bitcoin Transactions Work? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Aug 18, 2020 at 12:34 p.m. Now that you’ve set up your bitcoin wallet and are ready to make your first transaction, let’s take a look at how bitcoin transactions actually work.  There are three key variables in any bitcoin transaction: an amount, an input and an output. An input is the address from which the money is sent, and an output is the address that receives the funds. Since a wallet can contain several input addresses, you can send money from one or more inputs to one or more outputs. There is also a data storage portion on each transaction, a sort of note, that allows you to record data to the blockchain immutably. But the unique thing about bitcoin transactions is that, if you initiate a transaction that’s worth less than the total amount in your input, you get your change back not to your original output, but through a new third address in your control. This means your wallet typically ends up containing multiple addresses, and you can pull funds from these addresses to make future transactions. You’ve learned how to buy and store your bitcoins, so you already know what public and private keys are for, and you’ll need these to issue a transaction. To do that, you put your private key, the amount of bitcoins you want to send and the output address into the bitcoin software on your computer or smartphone.  Then the program generates a signature made from your private key to announce this transaction to the network for validation. The network needs to confirm that you own the bitcoin being transferred and that you haven’t spent it by checking all previous transactions which are public on the ledger. Once the bitcoin program verifies that indeed your private key corresponds to the provided public key (without knowing what your private key is), your transaction is confirmed.  This transaction is now included in a “block” which gets attached to the previous block to be added to the blockchain. Every transaction in the blockchain is tied to a unique identifier called a transaction hash (txid), which looks like a 64-character string of random letters and numbers. You can track a particular transaction by typing this txid in the search bar on the blockchain explorer.  Transactions can’t be undone or tampered with, because it would mean re-doing all the blocks that came after. This process is not instantaneous. Because the bitcoin blockchain is fairly large, it takes a lot of time to process a single transaction among the many on the blockchain.  The amount of time it takes to confirm a transaction varies, ranging anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days, based on traffic on the blockchain and the size of your transaction. Larger transactions with higher fees tend to get validated by miners quicker than smaller ones. That said, once it is confirmed, it is immutably recorded forever. If you want to indulge in some mindless fascination, you can sit at your desk and watch bitcoin transactions float by. Blockchain.info is good for this, but try BitBonkers if you want a hypnotically fun version. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 07 How Bitcoin Mining Works Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 8, 2020 at 10:16 a.m. When you hear about bitcoin “mining,” you envisage coins being dug out of the ground. But bitcoin isn’t physical, so why do we call it mining? Similar to gold mining, bitcoins exist in the protocol’s design just as the gold exists underground, but they haven’t been brought out into the light yet, just as the gold hasn’t yet been dug up.  The bitcoin protocol stipulates that a maximum of 21 million bitcoins will exist at some point. What miners do is bring them out into the light, a few at a time. Once miners finish mining all these coins, there won’t be more coins rolling out unless the bitcoin protocol changes to allow for a larger supply. Miners get paid in transaction fees for creating blocks of validated transactions and including them in the blockchain.  Source: Shutterstock To understand how bitcoin mining works, let’s backtrack a little bit and talk about nodes. A node is a powerful computer that runs the bitcoin software and fully validates transactions and blocks. Since the bitcoin network is decentralized these nodes are collectively responsible for confirming pending transactions.  Anyone can run a node—you just download the free bitcoin software. The drawback is that it consumes energy and storage space – the network at time of writing takes hundreds of gigabytes of data. Nodes spread bitcoin transactions around the network. One node will send information to a few nodes that it knows, who will relay the information to nodes that they know, etc. That way, the pending transaction ends up getting around the whole network pretty quickly. Some nodes are mining nodes,usually referred to as miners. These chunk outstanding transactions into blocks and add them to the blockchain. How do they do this? By solving a complex mathematical puzzle that is part of the bitcoin program, and including the answer in the block.  The puzzle that needs solving is to find a number that, when combined with the data in the block and passed through a hash function (which converts input data of any size into output data of a fixed length, produces a result that is within a certain range.  For trivia lovers, this number is called a “nonce”, which is an abbreviation of “number used once.” In the blockchain, the nonce is an integer between 0 and 4,294,967,296. How do they find this number? By guessing at random. The hash function makes it impossible to predict what the output will be. So, miners guess the mystery number and apply the hash function to the combination of that guessed number and the data in the block. The resulting hash starts with a certain number of zeroes. There’s no way of knowing which number will work, because two consecutive integers will give wildly varying results. What’s more, there may be several nonces that produce the desired result, or there may be none. In that case, the miners keep trying but with a different block configuration. The difficulty of the calculation (the required number of zeros at the beginning of the hash string) is adjusted frequently, so that it takes on average about 10 minutes to process a block. Why 10 minutes? That is the amount of time that the bitcoin developers think is necessary for a steady and diminishing flow of new coins until the maximum number of 21 million is reached (expected some time in 2140). The first miner to get a resulting hash within the desired range announces its victory to the rest of the network. All the other miners immediately stop work on that block and start trying to figure out the mystery number for the next one. As a reward for its work, the victorious miner gets some new bitcoin. At the time of writing, the reward is 6.25 bitcoins per block, which is worth around $56,000 in June 2020. However, it’s not nearly as cushy a deal as it sounds. There are a lot of mining nodes competing for that reward, and the more computing power you have and the more guessing calculations you can perform, the luckier you are. Also, the costs of being a mining node are considerable, not only because of the powerful hardware needed, but also because of the large amounts of electricity consumed by these processors. And, the number of bitcoins awarded as a reward for solving the puzzle will decrease. It’s 6.25 now, but it halves every four years or so (the next one is expected in 2024). The value of bitcoin relative to cost of electricity and hardware could go up over the next few years to partially compensate for this reduction, but it’s not certain. If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations! There is still so much more to explain about the system, but at least now you have an idea of the broad outline of the genius of the programming and the concept. For the first time we have a system that allows for convenient digital transfers in a decentralized, trust-free and tamper-proof way.  DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 08 How to Set Up a Bitcoin Miner Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:21 p.m. By this stage, you will understand how bitcoin works, and what mining means. But we need to get from theory to practice. How can you set up a bitcoin mining hardware and start generating some digital cash? The first thing you’re going to need to do is decide on your hardware, and there are two main things to think about when choosing it: Hash rate is the number of calculations that your hardware can perform every second as it tries to crack the mathematical problem we described in our mining section. Hash rates are measured in megahashes, gigahashes, and terahashes per second (MH/sec, GH/sec, and TH/sec). The higher your hash rate (compared to the current average hash rate), the more likely you are to solve a transaction block. The bitcoin wiki’s mining hardware comparison page is a good place to go for rough information on hash rates for different hardware. When choosing a hardware, it’s worth looking at your device’s energy consumption. All this computing power chews up electricity, and that costs money. You want to make sure that you don’t end up spending all of your money on electricity to mine coins that won’t be worth what you paid. To work out how many hashes you’re getting for every watt of electricity that you use, divide the hash count by the number of watts.  Source: Credit: Anna Baydakova for CoinDesk For example, if you have a 500 GH/sec device, and it’s taking 400 watts of power, then you’re getting 1.25 GH/sec per watt. You can check your power bill or use an electricity price calculator online to find out how much that means in hard cash. However, there’s a caveat here. In some cases, you’ll be using your computer to run the mining hardware. Your computer has its own electricity draw on top of the mining hardware, and you’ll need to factor that into your calculation. There are three main hardware categories for bitcoin miners: GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs. We’ll explore them in depth below. CPU/GPU Bitcoin Mining The least powerful category of bitcoin mining hardware is your computer itself. Theoretically, you could use your computer’s CPU to mine for bitcoins, but in practice, this is so slow by today’s standards that there isn’t any point. You can enhance your bitcoin hash rate by adding graphics hardware to your desktop computer. Graphics cards feature graphical processing units (GPUs). These are designed for heavy mathematical lifting so they can calculate all the complex polygons needed in high-end video games. This makes them particularly good at the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) hashing mathematics necessary to solve transaction blocks. One of the nice things about GPUs is that they also leave your options open. Unlike other options discussed later, these units can be used with cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. Litecoin, for example, uses a different proof of work algorithm to bitcoin, called Scrypt. This has been optimized to be friendly to CPUs and GPUs, making them a good option for GPU miners who want to switch between different currencies. GPU mining is largely dead these days. Bitcoin mining difficulty has accelerated so much with the release of ASIC mining power that graphics cards can’t compete. FPGA Bitcoin Mining A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit designed to be configured after being built. This enables a mining hardware manufacturer to buy the chips in volume, and then customize them for bitcoin mining before putting them into their own equipment. Because they are customized for mining, they offer performance improvements over CPUs and GPUs. Single-chip FPGAs have been seen operating at around 750 MH/sec, although that’s at the high end. It is of course possible to put more than one chip in a box. ASIC Bitcoin Miners This is where the action’s really at. Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are specifically designed to do just one thing: mine bitcoins at mind-crushing speeds, with relatively low power consumption. Because these chips have to be designed specifically for that task and then fabricated, they are expensive and time-consuming to produce – but the speeds are stunning. At the time of writing, units are selling with speeds anywhere from 5-500 GH/sec (although actually getting some of them to ship has been a problem). Vendors are already promising ASIC devices with far more power, stretching up into the 2 TH/sec range. Before making your purchase, calculate the projected profitability of your miner, using mining profitability calculators online like this one. You can input parameters such as equipment cost, hash rate, power consumption, and the current bitcoin price to see how long it will take to pay back your investment. One of the other key parameters here is network difficulty. This metric determines how hard it is to solve transaction blocks, and it varies according to the network hash rate. Difficulty is likely to increase substantially as ASIC devices come on the market, so it might be worth increasing this metric in the calculator to see what your return on investment will be like as more people join the game.  Once you have chosen your hardware, you’ll need to do several other things. Depending on which equipment you choose, you will need to run software to make use of it. Typically when using GPUs and FPGAs, you will need a host computer running two things: the standard bitcoin client, and the mining software. The standard bitcoin client connects your computer to the network and enables it to interact with the bitcoin clients, forwarding transactions and keeping track of the block chain. It will take some time for it to download the entire bitcoin block chain so that it can begin. The bitcoin client effectively relays information between your miner and the bitcoin network. The bitcoin mining software is what instructs the hardware to do the hard work, passing through transaction blocks for it to solve. There are a variety of these available, depending on your operating system. They are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and others. You may well need mining software for your ASIC miner, too, although some newer models promise to ship with everything pre-configured, including a bitcoin address, so that all you need to do is plug it in the wall. One smart developer even produced a mining operating system designed to run on the Raspberry Pi, a low-cost credit card-sized Linux computer designed to consume very small amounts of power. This could be used to power a USB-connected ASIC miner. Now, you’re all set up. Good for you. But you will stand little chance of success mining bitcoins unless you work with other people, by joining a bitcoin mining pool for example.  Nowadays, the bitcoin mining industry primarily operates on a pool level rather than on an individual level. Some of the biggest bitcoin miners in the world are F2Pool, Poolin, Slush Pool and AntPool.    DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 09 Can Bitcoin Scale? Feb 23, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:54 p.m. You have some bitcoins in your wallet and want to spend them on your daily purchases. But what would that look like in a world where Visa, Mastercard and other financial services still dominate the market?  The ability for bitcoin to compete with other payment systems has long been up for debate in the cryptocurrency community. When Satoshi Nakamoto programmed the blocks to have a size limit of approximately 1MB each to prevent network spam, he also created the problem of bitcoin illiquidity. Since each block takes an average of 10 minutes to process, only a small number of transactions can go through at a time. For a system that many claimed could replace fiat payments, this was a big barrier. While Visa handles around 1,700 transactions a second, bitcoin could process up to 7. An increase in demand would inevitably lead to an increase in fees, and bitcoin’s utility would be limited even further. The scaling debate has unleashed a wave of technological innovation in the search of workarounds. While significant progress has been made, a sustainable solution is still far from clear. A simple solution initially appeared to be an increase in the block size. Yet that idea turned out to be not simple at all. First, there was no clear agreement as to how much it should be increased by. Some proposals advocated for 2MB, another for 8MB, and one wanted to go as high as 32MB. The core development team argued that increasing the block size at all would weaken the protocol’s decentralization by giving more power to miners with bigger blocks. Plus, the race for faster machines could eventually make bitcoin mining unprofitable. Also, the number of nodes able to run a much heavier blockchain could decrease, further centralizing a network that depends on decentralization. Second, not everyone agrees on this method of change. How do you execute a system-wide upgrade when participation is decentralized? Should everyone have to update their bitcoin software? What if some miners, nodes and merchants don’t? And finally, bitcoin is bitcoin, why mess with it? If someone didn’t like it, they were welcome to modify the open-source code and launch their own coin. One of the earliest solutions to this issue was proposed by developer Pieter Wiulle in 2015. It’s called Segregated Witness, or SegWit.  This process would increase the capacity of the bitcoin blocks without changing their size limit, by altering how the transaction data was stored. (For a more detailed account, see our explainer.) SegWit was deployed on the bitcoin network in August 2017 via a soft fork to make it compatible with nodes that did not upgrade. While many wallets and other bitcoin services are gradually adjusting their software, others are reluctant to do so because of the perceived risk and cost. Several industry players argued that SegWit didn’t go far enough – it might help in the short term, but sooner or later bitcoin would again be up against a limit to its growth. In 2017, coinciding with CoinDesk’s Consensus conference in New York, a new approach was revealed: Segwit2X. This idea – backed by several of the sector’s largest exchanges – combined SegWit with an increase in the block size to 2MB, effectively multiplying the pre-SegWit transaction capacity by a factor of 8. Far from solving the problem, the proposal created a further wave of discord. The manner of its unveiling (through a public announcement rather than an upgrade proposal) and its lack of replay protection (transactions could happen on both versions, potentially leading to double spending) rankled many. And the perceived redistribution of power away from developers towards miners and businesses threatened to cause a fundamental split in the community. Other technological approaches are being developed as a potential way to increase capacity. Schnorr signatures offer a way to consolidate signature data, reducing the space it takes up within a bitcoin block (and enhancing privacy). Combined with SegWit, this could allow a much greater number of transactions, without changing the block size limit And work is proceeding on the lightning network, a second layer protocol that runs on top of bitcoin, opening up channels of fast microtransactions that only settle on the bitcoin network when the channel participants are ready. Adoption of the SegWit upgrade is slowly spreading throughout the network, increasing transaction capacity and lowering fees. Progress is accelerating on more advanced solutions such as lightning, with transactions being sent on testnets (as well as some using real bitcoin). And the potential of Schnorr signatures is attracting increasing attention, with several proposals working on detailing functionality and integration. While bitcoin’s use as a payment mechanism seems to have taken a back seat to its value as an investment asset, the need for a greater number of transactions is still pressing as the fees charged by the miners for processing are now more expensive than fiat equivalents. More importantly, the development of new features that enhance functionality is crucial to unlocking the potential of the underlying blockchain technology. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 10 What is Bitcoin's Lightning Network? Feb 23, 2018 at 1:42 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. Tackling bitcoin’s scalability isn’t easy, but developers Thaddeus Dryja and Joseph Poon had an idea. In a 2016 white paper, they proposed the concept of a protocol called “the lightning network” that would enable faster and cheaper transactions while not having to change the block size.  The network creates a second layer on top of the bitcoin blockchain and comprises user-generated channels. You can securely send payments back and forth without the need to trust or even know your counterparty. Say, for instance, that I wanted to pay you for each minute of video that I watched. We would open up a lightning channel, and as the minutes rolled by, periodic payments would be made from my wallet to yours. When I’m done watching, we would close the channel to settle the net amount on the bitcoin blockchain. An error occurred. Try watching this video on www.youtube.com, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser. Because the transactions are just between me and you and don’t need to be broadcast to the whole network, they are almost instantaneous. And because there are no miners that need incentivizing, transaction fees are low or even non-existent. How it works First, two parties who wish to transact with each other set up a multisignature wallet (which requires more than one signature to enact a transaction). This wallet holds some amount of bitcoin. The wallet address is then saved to the bitcoin blockchain. This sets up the payment channel. The two parties can now conduct an unlimited number of transactions without ever touching the information stored on the blockchain. With each transaction, both parties sign an updated balance sheet to always reflect how much of the bitcoin stored in the wallet belongs to each. Once the two parties finish transacting and close out the channel, the resulting balance is registered on the blockchain. In the event of a dispute, both parties can use the most recently signed balance sheet to recover their share of the wallet. It is not necessary to set up a direct channel to transact on lightning – you can send payments to someone via channels with people that you are connected with. The network automatically finds the shortest route. Development of the technology got a significant boost with the adoption of SegWit on the bitcoin and litecoin networks. Without the upgrade’s transaction malleability fix, transactions on the lightning network would have been too risky to be practical. Without the security of the blockchain behind it, the lightning network will not be as secure, which implies that it will largely be used for small or even micro transactions which carry a lower risk. Larger transfers that require decentralized security are more likely to be done on the original layer. Where are we now? In March 2018, California startup Lightning Labs announced the launch of a beta version of its software, making available what investors and project leads say is the first thoroughly tested version of the tech to date. It is still early days, however – transaction sizes are limited, and the release is aimed at developers and “advanced users”.
Recent research on the lightning network shows signs of increased vulnerability due to the centralization of a number of nodes in the network that control a majority of funds. Developers are continuously exploring new possibilities to enhance the privacy and efficiency of the lightning, as well as ways to incorporate other technologies such as Schnorr into the network. There’s no doubt that it’ll be some time before such system-wide updates can successfully take place. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 11 What are Bitcoin Mining Pools? Mar 6, 2014 at 1:32 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. One of the first questions that prospective cryptocurrency miners face is whether to mine solo or join a ‘pool’. There are a multitude of reasons both for and against mining pools. Here’s what you need to know. If you’re deciding whether to join a mining pool or not, it can be helpful to think of it like a lottery syndicate – the pros and cons are exactly the same. Going solo means you won’t have to share the reward, but your odds of getting a reward are significantly decreased. Although a pool has a much larger chance of solving a block and winning the reward, that reward will be split between all the pool members.  Source: Shutterstock Therefore, joining a pool creates a steady stream of income, even if each payment is modest compared to the full block reward (which currently stands at 6.25 BTC). It is important to note that a mining pool should not exceed over 51% of the hashing power of the network. If a single entity ends up controlling more than 50% of a cryptocurrency network’s computing power, it could theoretically wreak havoc on the whole network. Difficulty level is another factor to keep in mind when considering solo mining.  It is currently so high that it’s practically impossible for soloists to make a profit mining. Unless, of course, you happen to have a garage full of ASICs sitting in Arctic conditions. If you’re a beginner, joining a mining pool is a great way to reap a small reward over a short period of time. Indeed, pools are a way to encourage small-scale miners to stay involved. One method of mining that bitcoin facilitates is “merged mining”. This is where blocks solved for bitcoin can be used for other currencies that use the same proof of work algorithm (for example, namecoin and devcoin). A useful analogy for merged mining is to think of it like entering the same set of numbers into several lotteries. First-time miners who lack particularly powerful hardware should look at altcoins over bitcoin – especially currencies based on the scrypt algorithm rather than SHA256. This is because the difficulty of bitcoin calculations is far too high for the processors found in regular PCs. When deciding which mining pool to join, you need to weigh up how each pool shares out its payments and what fees (if any) it deducts. Typical deductions range from 1% to 10%. However, some pools do not deduct anything. There are many schemes by which pools can divide payments. Most of which concentrate on the amount of ‘shares’ which a miner has submitted to the pool as ‘proof of work’. Shares are a tricky concept to grasp. Keep two things in mind: firstly, mining is a process of solving cryptographic puzzles; secondly, mining has a difficulty level. When a miner ‘solves a block’ there is a corresponding difficulty level for the solution. Think of it as a measure of quality. If the difficulty rating of the miner’s solution is above the difficulty level of the entire currency, it is added to that currency’s block chain and coins are rewarded. Additionally, a mining pool sets a difficulty level between 1 and the currency’s difficulty. If a miner returns a block which scores a difficulty level between the pool’s difficulty level and the currency’s difficulty level, the block is recorded as a ‘share’. There is no use whatsoever for these share blocks, but they are recorded as proof of work to show that miners are trying to solve blocks. They also indicate how much processing power they are contributing to the pool – the better the hardware, the more shares are generated. The most basic version of dividing payments this way is the ‘pay per share’ (PPS) model. Variations on this puts limits on the rate paid per share; for example, equalised shared maximum pay per share (ESMPPS), or shared maximum pay per share (SMPPS). Pools may or may not prioritise payments for how recently miners have submitted shares: for example, recent shared maximum pay per share (RSMPPS). More examples can be found on the bitcoin wiki. There are many pool options available for mining beside bitcoin. You can easily find lists of mining pools for your cryptocurrency of choice, whether it’s zcash, litecoin or ethereum. Some popular ones are BTC.com, Slush Pool and AntPool. Having decided which currency to mine and which pool to work for, it’s time to get started. You need to create an account on the pool’s website, which is just like signing up for any other web service. Once you have an account, you’ll need to create a ‘worker’. You can create multiple workers for each piece of mining hardware you’ll use. The default settings on most pools are for workers to be assigned a number as their name, and ‘x’ as their password, but you can change these to whatever you like. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 12 What Can You Buy with Bitcoin? Sep 25, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:21 p.m. After an initial flurry of interest among merchants in accepting bitcoin in their retail or online stores, interest has largely died down as increasing bitcoin transaction fees and volatile price movements made it less attractive as a means of exchange. That doesn’t mean that there are no outlets to spend your bitcoin, however, far from it. A 2019 survey done by insurance company HSB finds that more than one-third of U.S. small and mid-sized businesses accept cryptocurrency, and 59% of them purchase digital currencies for their own use.  Among the advantages of conducting business with cryptocurrency are the ease of cross-border transactions, and anonymity (unless you want physical delivery, of course). By accepting bitcoin, merchants get access to a broader market, and don’t have to worry so much about chargebacks since bitcoin transactions are irreversible. In 2019, AT&T became the first major U.S. mobile carrier to accept payments in cryptocurrency via BitPay.  If you want to use bitcoin to buy presents, the most obvious solution is gift cards, via Gyft or eGifter. The recipient will then be able to spend the gift card at one of a wide range of retailers.  gifts, exchange, trade Source: Shutterstock You can pay for flights and hotels with bitcoin, through Expedia, CheapAir and Surf Air. If your ambitions are loftier, you can pay for space travel with some of your vast holdings, through Virgin Galactic. Microsoft accepts bitcoin in its app stores, where you can download movies, games and app-based services. The leading game streaming platform Twitch also accepts payments in bitcoin and bitcoin cash for its subscriptions. Some musicians (Bjork, Imogen Heap, G-Eazy, Dolly Parton) will let you download their music in exchange for cryptocurrency. Need to furnish your house or buy a special present for someone? Overstock was one of the first big retailers to start accepting bitcoin, back in 2014, and its founder – Patrick Byrne – is still one of the technology’s most active proponents. Fancy some gold? Sharps Pixley, APMEX and JM Bullion will take bitcoin off your hands in exchange for bullion. And if you’re hungry and live in the U.S., PizzaforCoins will get a pizza delivered to your door (depending on where you live) in exchange for bitcoin. If it’s knowledge you’re hungry for, several private and public universities as well as a couple of New York preschools accept bitcoin. Some legal and accounting firms also accept payment for their services in cryptocurrency. Of course, you could always donate to one of the bitcoin-accepting charities or crowdfunding sites, such as BitHope, BitGive or Fidelity Charitable. For a list of offline stores near you that accept bitcoin, check an aggregator such as Spendabit or CoinMap. (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 13 Is Bitcoin Legal? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 8, 2020 at 10:27 a.m. As the market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market shoots up, through price movements and a surge in new tokens, regulators around the world are stepping up the debate on oversight into the use and trading of digital assets. Very few countries have gone as far as to declare bitcoin illegal. That does not, however, mean that bitcoin is “legal tender” – so far, only Japan has gone as far as to give bitcoin that designation. However, just because something isn’t legal tender, does not mean that it cannot be used for payment – it just means that there are no protections for either the consumer or the merchant, and that its use as payment is completely discretionary. Other jurisdictions are still mulling what steps to take. The approaches vary: some smaller nations such as Zimbabwe have few qualms about making brash pronouncements casting doubts on bitcoin’s legality. Larger institutions, such as the European Commission, recognize the need for dialogue and deliberation, while the European Central Bank (ECB) believes that cryptocurrencies are not yet mature enough for regulation. In the United States, the issue is complicated further by the fractured regulatory map – who would do the legislating, the federal government or individual states?  A related question in other countries, to which there is not yet a clear answer, is: should central banks keep an eye on cryptocurrencies, or financial regulators? In some countries they are one and the same thing, but in most developed nations, they are separate institutions with distinct remits. Another divisive issue is: should bitcoin be regulated on a national or international basis? There needs to be a further distinction between regulation of the cryptocurrency itself (is it a commodity or a currency, is it legal tender?) and cryptocurrency businesses (are they money transmitters, do they need licenses?). In a few countries the considerations are tied together – in most others, they have been dealt with separately. Below is a brief summary of pronouncements made by certain countries. This list was last updated in July 2020. Australia The Australian government has been supportive of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. In 2017, it declared that cryptocurrencies were legal, and they would be treated as assets subjected to Capital Gains Tax.  In 2018, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre announced new regulations that require exchanges operating in the country to register with AUSTRAC, maintain records and verify users. To combat money laundering and terrorism financing in the future, unregistered exchanges will face charges and monetary penalties in the future. Argentina Under Argentina’s Constitution, bitcoins aren’t considered legal currency because they are not issued by the central bank. In spite of a strong bitcoin ecosystem, Argentina has not yet drawn up regulations for the cryptocurrency, although the central bank has issued official warnings of the risks involved. Bangladesh In 2015, Bangladesh expressly declared that using cryptocurrencies was a “punishable offence.” Authorities have been on the hunt for illegal bitcoin traders in the country.  Bolivia In 2014, the central bank of Bolivia officially banned the use of any currency or tokens not issued by the government. Canada Canada was one of the first countries to draw up what could be considered “bitcoin legislation.” In 2014, the Governor General of Canada passed Bill C-31 in 2014, which designated “virtual currency businesses” as “money service businesses,” compelling them to comply with anti-money laundering and know-your-client requirements. The law is pending issuance of subsidiary regulations. The government has specified that bitcoin is not legal tender, and the country’s tax authority has deemed bitcoin transactions taxable, depending on the type of activity.  China While China has not banned bitcoin (and President Xi Jinping has continued to praise in blockchain developments as critical to technical innovations), financial regulators have cracked down on bitcoin exchanges – all major bitcoin exchanges in the country, including OKCoin, Huobi, BTC China, and ViaBTC, suspended order book trading of digital assets against the yuan in 2017. It also appears to be withdrawing preferential treatment (tax deductions and cheap electricity) for bitcoin miners. Ecuador In 2014, the National Assembly of Ecuador banned bitcoin and decentralized digital currencies while the central bank stated that the online trading of cryptocurrencies is not forbidden. Still, bitcoin is not legal tender and is not an authorized payment method for goods and services.. Egypt In January 2018, the Grand Mufti of Egypt declared that cryptocurrency trading was forbidden under Islamic religious law due to the risk associated with the activity. While this is not legally binding, it does count as a high-level legal opinion. However, that ban was lifted in May 2019, easing restrictions by allowing companies with licenses to operate. Europe The European Union is taking a cautious approach to cryptocurrency regulation, with several initiatives underway to involve sector participants in the drafting of supportive rules. The focus appears to be on learning before regulating, while boosting innovation and taking into account the needs of the ecosystem. In April 2018, the parliament’s members voted by a large majority to support a December 2017 agreement with the European Council for measures aimed, in part, to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies in money laundering and terrorism financing. In early 2020, the EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) was signed into law, which inevitably put crypto service providers under more scrutiny.  India The Indian central bank has issued a couple of official warnings on bitcoin, and at the end of 2017 the country’s finance minister clarified in an interview that bitcoin is not legal tender. The government does not yet have any regulations that cover cryptocurrencies, although it is looking at recommendations. The central bank, however, has barred Indian financial institutions from working with cryptocurrency exchanges and other related services (a ban recently upheld by the country’s Supreme Court). In June 2020, there were rumors of a new ban on crypto, which industry experts later said were premature.  Iran In April 2018, Iran’s central bank and one of its principal market regulators said that financial businesses should not deal in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, CoinDesk reported on government censorship of cryptocurrency exchange websites operating in the country. In May 2020, the Iranian parliament proposed to include cryptocurrency in currency smuggling laws.  Japan Japan was the first country to expressly declare bitcoin “legal tender,” passing a law in early 2017 that also brought bitcoin exchanges under anti-money laundering and know-your-customer rules (although license applications have temporarily been suspended as the regulators deal with a hack on the Coincheck exchange in early 2018). Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has been cracking down on exchanges, suspending two, issuing improvement orders to several and mandating better security measures in five others. It has also established a cryptocurrency exchange industry study group which aims to examine institutional issues regarding bitcoin and other assets. In October 2019, the FSA issued additional guidelines for funds investing in crypto.  Japan, flag Kazakhstan According to 2018 reports, the National Bank of Kazakhstan recently hinted at plans to ban cryptocurrency trading and mining, although as yet no strict regulations have been passed. Kyrgyzstan The central bank of Kyrgyzstan declared in 2014 that using cryptocurrencies for transactions was against the law. In August 2019, the Ministry of Economy drafted a law to impose crypto mining taxation.  Malaysia Malaysia’s Securities Commission is working together with the country’s central bank on a cryptocurrency regulation framework. In early 2019, the country’s Securities Commission began to mandate approvals for ICOs as securities offerings. Malta In June 2018, The European island passed a series of blockchain-friendly laws, including one that details the registration requirements of cryptocurrency exchanges. Earlier in 2020, Malta Financial Services Authority published a document addressing issues related to offerings of security tokens. Mexico In 2014, Mexico’s central bank issued a statement blocking banks from dealing in virtual currencies. The following year, the finance ministry clarified that, although bitcoin was not “legal tender,” it could be used as payment and therefore was subject to the same anti-money laundering restrictions as cash and precious metals. At the end of 2017, Mexico’s national legislature approved a bill that would bring local bitcoin exchanges under the oversight of the central bank. Morocco Towards the end of 2017, Morocco’s foreign exchange authority declared that the use of cryptocurrencies within the country violated foreign exchange regulations and would be met with penalties. Namibia Namibia is one of the few countries to have expressly declared that purchases with bitcoin are “illegal.” Nigeria While Nigerian banks are prohibited from handling virtual currencies, the central bank is working on a white paper which will draft its official stance on use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Pakistan In April 2018, Pakistan’s central bank issued a statement barring financial companies in the country from working with cryptocurrency firms. In April 2019, the federal government introduced new regulations and licensing schemes for crypto firms.  Russia While cryptocurrencies are used in Russia for various payments and services, the Russian authorities have continued to propose new legislation that would crack down on crypto development around the country. In November 2019, the central bank said it would support a ban on crypto payments. New regulatory draft bills rolled out in early 2020, which would prohibit the issuance and operations of digital currencies in the country, including distributing crypto news. Singapore Hailed as a crypto haven of the world, Singapore has embraced an innovative approach toward cryptocurrency and blockchain, thanks to the leadership of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). In January 2020, the MAS announced a new regulatory framework to cover all Singapore-based crypto businesses and exchanges under anti-money laundering and counterrorist-financing rules. It later added a six-month grace period of license exemption for a number of crypto companies such as Binance, Coinbase, Gemini and Bitstamp. South Africa In 2017, the South Africa Reserve Bank implemented a “sandbox approach,” testing draft bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation with a selected handful of startups. In April 2020, the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group proposed that would increase oversight of crypto activities and mandate business to register with AML watchdog the Financial Intelligence Centre.  Johannesburg, South Africa South Korea In early 2018, South Korea banned anonymous virtual currency accounts. And in an effort to curb cryptocurrency speculation, the authorities are working on increased oversight of exchanges, although the governor of the Financial Supervisory Service has said the government will support “normal” cryptocurrency trading. In an interesting shift in strategy, a recent report in the South Korean press indicated that the country’s financial authorities are in talks with similar agencies in Japan and China over joint oversight of cryptocurrency investment. In April 2018, the Fair Trade Commission ordered 12 of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges to revise their user agreements. In 2020, lawmakers voted on new requirements for crypto exchanges, which would potentially kick out small players who can’t afford new regulatory burdens. Thailand After allegedly declaring bitcoin illegal, the Bank of Thailand issued a backtracking statement in 2014, clarifying that it is not legal tender (but not technically illegal), and warning of the risks. In March 2018, the government’s executive branch provisionally passed two royal decree drafts, establishing formal rules to protect cryptocurrency investors (as well as setting KYC requirements), and setting a tax on their capital gains. The drafts have yet to receive final cabinet approval. There were plans in August 2019 to include cryptocurrencies in the country’s anti-money laundering regime. United States of America The U.S. is plagued by a fragmented regulatory system, with legislators at both the state and the federal level responsible for layered jurisdictions and a complex separation of powers. Some states are more advanced than others in cryptocurrency oversight. New York, for instance, unveiled the controversial BitLicense in 2015, granting bitcoin businesses the official go-ahead to operate in the state (many startups pulled out of the state altogether rather than comply with the expensive requirements). In mid-2017, Washington passed a bill that applied money transmitter laws to bitcoin exchanges. New Hampshire requires bitcoin sellers to get a money transmitter license and post a $100,000 bond. In Texas, the state securities commission is monitoring (and, on occasion, shutting down) bitcoin-related investment opportunities. And California is in bitcoin regulation limbo after freezing progress on Bill 1326 which – while criticized for issues such as overly broad definitions – was seen as less oppressive than New York’s BitLicense. At the federal level, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s focus has been on the use of blockchain assets as securities, such as whether or not certain bitcoin investment funds should be sold to the public, and whether or not a certain offering is fraud. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has a bigger potential footprint in bitcoin regulation, given its designation of the cryptocurrency as a “commodity.” While it has yet to draw up comprehensive bitcoin regulations, its recent efforts have focused on monitoring the nascent futures market. It has also filed charges in several bitcoin-related schemes, which underlines its intent to exercise jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies whenever it suspects there may be fraud. The Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit association that aims to bring clarity and cohesion to state legislation, has drafted the Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Business Act, which several states are contemplating introducing in upcoming legislative sessions. The Act aims to spell out which virtual currency activities are money transmission businesses, and what type of license they would require. Critics fear it too closely resembles the New York BitLicense.  United Kingdom Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sees bitcoin as a “commodity,” and therefore does plan to regulate it. It has hinted, however, that it will step in to oversee bitcoin-related derivatives. This lack of consumer protection has been behind recent FCA warnings on the risks inherent in cryptocurrencies. In July 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority finalized its guidance on crypto assets, clarifying which tokens would fall under its jurisdiction. Ukraine The government of Ukraine has created a working group composed of regulators from various branches to draft cryptocurrency regulation proposals, including the determination of which agencies will have oversight and access. Also, a bill already before the legislature would bring cryptocurrency exchanges under the jurisdiction of the central bank. The Ministry of Digital Information said in February 2020 that it won’t be regulating the crypto mining sector.  Zimbabwe Late in 2017, a senior official from Zimbabwe’s central bank stated that bitcoin was not “actually legal.” While the extent to which it can and cannot be used is not yet clear, the central bank is apparently undertaking research to determine the risks. CoinDesk recently produced a podcast series about the future of bitcoin in Africa, including in Zimbabwe.  DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 14 Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Nov 23, 2020 at 10:37 p.m.  Mystery man While we may not know who Satoshi Nakamoto was, we know what he (or she) did. Nakamoto was the inventor of the Bitcoin protocol, publishing a paper via the Cryptography Mailing List in November 2008. Nakamoto then released the first version of the Bitcoin software client in 2009, participating with others on the project via mailing lists,until he finally began to fade from the community toward the end of 2010. Nakamoto worked with people on the open-source team but took care never to reveal anything personal about himself, and the last anyone heard from him was in the spring of 2011, when he said that he had “moved on to other things.” Was Satoshi Nakamoto Japanese? Best not to judge a book by its cover. Or in fact, maybe we should. “Satoshi” means “clear thinking, quick witted; wise.” “Naka” can mean “medium, inside, or relationship.” “Moto” can mean “origin” or “foundation.” Those things would all apply to the person who founded a movement by designing a clever algorithm. The problem, of course, is that each word has multiple possible meanings. We can’t know for sure whether Nakamoto was Japanese or not. In fact, it’s presumptuous to assume that he was actually a “he.” Allowing for the fact that “Satoshi Nakamoto” could have been a pseudonym, “he” could have been a “she,” or even a “they.” Does anyone know who Satoshi Nakamoto was? No, but the detective techniques that people use when guessing are sometimes even more intriguing than the answer. The New Yorker’s Joshua Davis believed that Satoshi Nakamoto was Michael Clear, a graduate cryptography student at Dublin’s Trinity College. He arrived at this conclusion by analyzing 80,000 words of Nakamoto’s online writings and searching for linguistic clues. He also suspected Finnish economic sociologist and former games developer Vili Lehdonvirta. Both have denied being bitcoin’s inventor. Michael Clear publicly denied being Satoshi at the 2013 Web Summit.  Adam Penenberg at Fast Company disputed that claim, arguing instead that Nakamoto may actually have been three people: Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry. He figured this out by typing unique phrases from Nakamoto’s bitcoin paper into Google, to see if they were used anywhere else. One of them, “computationally impractical to reverse,” turned up in a patent application made by these three for updating and distributing encryption keys. The bitcoin.org domain name originally used by Satoshi to publish the paper had been registered three days after the patent application was filed. It was registered in Finland, and one of the patent authors had traveled there six months before the domain was registered. All of them deny it. In any case, when bitcoin.org was registered on Aug. 18, 2008, the registrant actually used a Japanese anonymous registration service, and hosted it using a Japanese ISP. The registration for the site was only transferred to Finland on May 18, 2011, which weakens the Finland theory somewhat. Others think Nakamoto was Martii Malmi, a developer living in Finland who has been involved with bitcoin since the beginning and developed its user interface. Another possibility is Jed McCaleb, a lover of Japanese culture and resident of Japan, who created troubled bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox and cofounded decentralized payment systems Ripple and later Stellar. Another theory suggests that computer scientists Donal O’Mahony and Michael Peirce are Satoshi, based on a paper that they authored concerning digital payments, along with Hitesh Tewari, based on a book that they published together. O’Mahony and Tewari also studied at Trinity College, where Michael Clear was a student. Israeli scholars Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir of the Weizmann Institute retracted allegations made in a paper suggesting a link between Satoshi and Silk Road, the black market web site that was taken down by the FBI in October 2013. They had suggested a link between an address allegedly owned by Satoshi, and the site. Security researcher Dustin D. Trammell owned the address, and disputed claims that he was Satoshi. In May 2013, internet pioneer Ted Nelson threw another hat into the ring: Japanese mathematician Professor Shinichi Mochizuki, although he admits that the evidence is circumstantial at best. In February 2014, Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman claimed to have tracked down the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Dorian S. Nakamoto has since denied he knows anything about bitcoin, eventually hiring a lawyer and releasing an official statement to that effect.  No, Satoshi Nakamoto is not Dorian S. Nakamoto, a 64-year-old Japanese man living in California, probably.(Damian Dovarganes/AP) Hal Finney, Michael Weber, Wei Dai and several other developers were among those who are periodically named in media reports and online discussions as potential Satoshis. A group of forensic linguistics experts from Aston University believe the real creator of bitcoin is Nick Szabo, based upon analysis of the Bitcoin White Paper. Dominic Frisby, a comedian and a writer, also suggests that BitGold creator Szabo was the most likely candidate to be Satoshi in his book, “Bitcoin: The Future of Money.” His detailed analysis involved the linguistics of Satoshi’s writing, judging the level of technical skill in C++ and even Satoshi’s likely birthday. In Nathaniel Popper’s book, “Digitial Gold,” released in May 2015, Popper reveals that in a rare encounter at an event Szabo again denied that he was Satoshi. Then in early December 2015, reports by Wired and Gizmodo tentatively claimed to have identified Nakamoto as Australian entrepreneur Craig S Wright. WIRED cited “an anonymous source close to Wright” who provided a cache of emails, transcripts and other documents that point to Wright’s role in the creation of bitcoin. Gizmodo cited a cache of documents sourced from someone claiming to have hacked Wright’s business email account, as well as efforts to interview individuals close to him. While most other individuals speculated to be Nakamoto have insisted they are not the inventor of Bitcoin, Wright is the exception, claiming to be Nakamoto. However, many believe the evidence so far presented to be insufficient to confirm this claim, and some even think the reports that made the initial connection were misled by Wright himself in an elaborate hoax. So what do we know about Satoshi Nakamoto? One thing we know, based on interviews with people that were involved with him at an early stage in the development of bitcoin, is that he thought the system out very thoroughly. His coding wasn’t conventional, according to core developer Jeff Garzik, in that he didn’t apply the same rigorous testing that you would expect from a classic software engineer. How rich is Satoshi Nakamoto? An analysis by Sergio Lerner, an authority on bitcoin and cryptography, suggests Nakamoto mined many of the early blocks in the bitcoin network, and that he had built up a fortune of around 1 million unspent bitcoins. That hoard would be worth $18.4 billion U.S. dollars as of Nov. 23, 2020. What is Satoshi Nakamoto doing now? No one knows what Nakamoto is up to, but one of the last emails he sent to a software developer, dated Apr. 23, 2011, said, “I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin and everyone.” Did Satoshi Nakamoto work for the government? There are rumors, of course. People have interpreted his name as meaning “central intelligence,” but people will see whatever they want to see. Such is the nature of conspiracy theories. The obvious question would be why one of the three-letter agencies would be interested in creating a cryptocurrency that would subsequently be used as an anonymous trading mechanism, causing senators and the FBI alike to wring their hands about potential terrorism and other criminal endeavors. No doubt conspiracy theorists will have their views on that, too. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Core developer Jeff Garzik puts it succinctly, “Satoshi published an open-source system for the purpose that you didn’t have to know who he was, and trust who he was, or care about his knowledge,” he points out. Open-source code makes it impossible to hide secrets. “The source code spoke for itself.” Moreover, it was smart to use a pseudonym, he argues, because it forced people to focus on the technology itself rather than on the personality behind it. At the end of the day, bitcoin is now far bigger than Satoshi Nakamoto. Having said that, if the real Satoshi Nakamoto is out there – get in touch! DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 15 What is the Difference Between Litecoin and Bitcoin? Feb 16, 2014 at 2:23 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:13 p.m. In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched bitcoin as the world’s first cryptocurrency. The code is open source, which means it can be modified by anyone and freely used for other projects. Many cryptocurrencies have launched with modified versions of this code, with varying levels of success.  Litecoin Logo Source: Flickr Litecoin was announced in 2011 with the goal of being the ‘silver’ to bitcoin’s ‘gold’. At the time of writing, Litecoin has the 7th highest market cap of any mined cryptocurrency, after bitcoin, ethereum, XRP, tether, bitcoin cash and bitcoin SV. Here’s our guide to show you the crucial difference between bitcoin and litecoin. At-a-glance differences bitcoin litecoin Coin limit 21 Million 84 Million Algorithm SHA-256 Scrypt Mean block time 10 minutes 2.5 minutes Difficulty retarget 2016 block 2016 blocks Block reward details Halved every 210,000 blocks. Halved every 840,000 blocks Initial reward 50 BTC 50 LTC Current block reward 6.25 BTC 12.5 LTC Block explorer blockchain.info block-explorer.com Created by Satoshi Nakamoto Charles Lee Creation date January 3rd, 2009 October 7th, 2011 Market cap $167.28B $2.68B Bitcoin Statistics Litecoin Statistics Mining differences Just like bitcoin, litecoin is a cryptocurrency that is generated by mining. Litecoin was created in October 2011 by former Google engineer Charles Lee. The motivation behind its creation was to improve upon bitcoin. The key difference for end-users being the 2.5 minute time to generate a block, as opposed to bitcoin’s 10 minutes. Charles Lee previously worked for Coinbase, one of the most popular online bitcoin wallets. He now dedicates his time to the Litecoin Foundation.  ASIC Mining Source: Shutterstock For miners and enthusiasts though, litecoin holds a much more important difference to bitcoin, and that is its different proof of work algorithm. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, which involves calculations that can be greatly accelerated in parallel processing. It is this characteristic that has given rise to the intense race in ASIC technology, and has caused an exponential increase in bitcoin’s difficulty level. Litecoin, however, uses the scrypt algorithm – originally named as s-crypt, but pronounced as ‘script’. This algorithm incorporates the SHA-256 algorithm, but its calculations are much more serialised than those of SHA-256 in bitcoin. Scrypt favours large amounts of high-speed RAM, rather than raw processing power alone. As a result, scrypt is known as a ‘memory hard problem‘. The consequences of using scrypt mean that there has not been as much of an ‘arms race’ in litecoin (and other scrypt currencies), because there is (so far) no ASIC technology available for this algorithm. However, this is soon to change, thanks to companies like Alpha Technologies, which is now taking preorders.  GPU mining Source: Wikipedia To highlight the difference in hashing power, at the time of writing, the total hashing rate of the bitcoin network is over 20,000 Terra Hashes per second, while litecoin is just 95,642 Mega Hashes per second. For the time being, ‘state of the art’ litecoin mining rigs come in the form of custom PCs fitted with multiple graphics cards (ie: GPUs). These devices can handle the calculations needed for scrypt and have access to blisteringly fast memory built into their own circuit boards. There was a time when people could use GPU mining for bitcoin, but ASICs have made this method not worth the effort. Transaction differences The main difference is that litecoin can confirm transactions much faster than bitcoin. The implications of that are as follows: * Litecoin can handle a higher volume of transactions thanks to its faster block generation. If bitcoin were to try to match this, it would require significant updates to the code that everyone on the bitcoin network is currently running. * The disadvantage of this higher volume of blocks is that the litecoin blockchain will be proportionately larger than bitcoin's, with more orphaned blocks. * The faster block time of litecoin reduces the risk of double spending attacks – this is theoretical in the case of both networks having the same hashing power. * A merchant who waited for a minimum of two confirmations would only need to wait five minutes, whereas they would have to wait 10 minutes for just one confirmation with bitcoin. Transaction speed (or faster block time) and confirmation speed are often touted as moot points by many involved in bitcoin, as most merchants would allow zero-confirmation transactions for most purchases. It is necessary to bear in mind that a transaction is instant, it is just confirmed by the network as it propagates. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 16 How to Accept Bitcoin Payments for Your Store Apr 27, 2014 at 6:16 a.m. Nov 16, 2020 at 12:43 p.m. One issue holding bitcoin back from wider adoption is the lack of businesses that accept the digital currency as payment. This is a chicken-and-egg problem. If more businesses had the ability to accept bitcoin, it might encourage consumers to start obtaining and spending it, and vice versa. With this in mind, here is our guide to accepting bitcoin in a physical store. Person-to-person payments The easiest way to accept bitcoin payments is in-person, simply by getting your customer to send the correct amount of bitcoin (BTC) to your digital wallet. This is similar to thinking of it as a cash-in-hand payment.  A simple QR code system to accept bitcoin payment. This can be done via many smartphone apps, such as the Bitcoin Wallet app by Andreas Schildbach, on Android. There are also options available on the Windows Phone app store for users of that OS. Some months ago, Apple removed all bitcoin wallet apps from its App Store. However, on 2nd June, the company rescinded this policy, once again paving the way for wallet apps on iOS devices. These are already starting to appear, with Blockchain, Coinbase and others apps now available. We can expect many more to arrive in coming months too. Read More: How Do Bitcoin Transactions Work? Another alternative is CoinBox which is specifically designed for merchants wanting a straightforward option to receive payments. In these scenarios, the merchant enters the price of an item or service into the phone, which then presents a QR code containing the amount to be paid and the address the funds are sent to. The customer scans the QR code with their bitcoin wallet app and the payment is sent. All of these simple systems are ideal for small businesses testing bitcoin acceptance or for those doing odd-jobs for small amounts. Businesses which are larger in scale will likely look into a dedicated solution that fits in with their existing POS systems. Merchant bitcoin point-of-sale (POS) solutions There is also a growing number of commerce-specific options that aim to streamline the process of taking bitcoin payments. The following services offer a variety of POS solutions for merchants, both online and off. Coinify Coinify, a Danish firm that acquired BIPS and Coinzone, offers POS solutions for both brick-and-mortar and online stores. Merchants can get paid in bitcoin or fiat currency – or a mixture of the two – and its mobile app, Coinify POS, works with both Android and iOS devices.  POS promo For online sellers, Coinify offers various integration tools, such as payment buttons, shopping cart plugins or hosted invoicing. CoinKite CoinKite is a new startup that offers a bitcoin payment terminal looking exactly like the over-the-counter chip-and-PIN terminals we are so used to using in stores today. This handset reads a bitcoin-based debit card, also offered by CoinKite. The handsets can also serve as a bitcoin and litecoin ATM, as well as offer the option to print QR codes for customers to scan with their smartphone apps. CoinBase Coinbase is another payment processor that provides a point of sale app (Android) for bricks-and-mortar retailers. While it currently only supports US bank accounts as a funding source, it offers extensive e-commerce support. Not only does it offer an HTML code segment for easily inserting payment buttons into your website, it also provides plugins for WordPress, WooCommerce, Megento, and ZenCart. BitPay BitPay is an international payments processor for businesses and charities. It is integrated into the SoftTouch POS system for bricks-and-mortar retail stores. However, BitPay has an API which could be implemented into any other POS system with some coding work. BitPay has various tariffs that merchants can subscribe to, enabling features such as using the service on a custom domain (for online stores), exporting transactions to QuickBooks, etc. Blockchain Merchant Blockchain have also produced a merchant app for Android devices. Blockchain Merchant promises instant transactions, 0% fees on payments and it has multiple linguistic versions for use around the world. Revel As mentioned in our recent report: “Revel Systems offers a range of POS solutions for quick-service restaurants, self-service kiosks, grocery stores and retail outlets, among other merchants. POS packages start at $3,000 plus a monthly fee for an iPad, cash drawer and scanner.” It was recently announced that Revel will also include bitcoin as a method of payment in its POS software. BitXATM Germany-based startup BitXatm has announced the arrival of its Sumo Pro – a cryptocurrency ATM with a POS (point of sale) function that will appeal to merchants seeking to easily accept payments from customers in digital currencies. Costing €2,900 (around $3,993), the stand-alone machine offers a generous 17-inch touchscreen and has the ability to accept any fiat currency. Additionally, it can accept or dispense any digital currency, according to the company’s website. Paystand California-based online payment processor PayStand provides US-based websites and mobile applications another way to accept payments such e-checks, credit cards and bitcoin. Paystand have recieved $1m in investment as part of its initial seed-funding round. Founded in 2009, PayStand aims to be a multi-payment gateway that eliminates merchant transaction fees, in part by supporting digital currency acceptance. Coin of Sale A new bitcoin POS system, Coin of Sale, is trying to make it easier for merchants to accept bitcoin payments for their goods and services. Created by Singapore-based expat Thomas Forgac, Coin of Sale works with both Android and iOS devices. When users sign up for an account, they are automatically set up with an Electrum wallet. The merchant must simply enter the amount of money that needs to be charged and the app will automatically generate a QR code for it. The customer then scans this QR code to complete the payment. XBTerminal XBTerminal  provides a bitcoin POS device that allows the merchant’s customers to pay from any mobile bitcoin wallet by NFC or QR code. Payment from offline mobile devices is supported by bluetooth. Payments take place through the company’s platform and, if desired, bitcoin can be converted instantly to fiat currency at the time of sale. The company also provides web apps and an online interface for its payments solution for those that wish to invest in third-party hardware. DIY With bitcoin, it is possible to forego the fees of using a payment processor or provider, and simply integrate payments into your own custom system. Those with a technical background have achieved this, such as Stephen Early, who integrated bitcoin payments into the POS system of his UK pubs single-handedly. Get noticed Whether you have an online or a bricks-and-mortar store, if you accept bitcoin, you need to publicize the fact. You can find a ‘bitcoin accepted here’ sign at the bitcoin wiki.  We Accept Bitcoin A sign with more impact may alert customers to the fact you accept bitcoin. Cryptocables produces a range of neon and LED signage. Additionally, Coco Mats ’n More offersitcoin-logoed doormats and ‘Bitcoin Accepted Here’ mats for merchants wanting to advertise the cryptocurrency as a payment option.   bitcoin-is-accepted-here-doormat Last updated 14th October 2015 DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. TECHNICAL ANALYSIS Bitcoin Holds Short-Term Support; Faces Resistance at $40K Damanick Dantes1 hour ago BTC struggled over the weekend amid headline risk from China. Price recoveries limited to $40K.  COINSHARES CoinShares First-Quarter Earnings More Than Quadruple Jamie Crawley2 hours ago The Nasdaq-listed digital asset manager reported a year-on-year increase in comprehensive income of $34.9 million.  BITCOIN Bitcoin, Ether Bounce After Disastrous Week for Crypto Market Omkar Godbole2 hours ago The battered crypto market is showing signs of life amid bargain hunting by wealthy investors.  CBDC South Korea’s Central Bank to Choose Supplier for Digital Currency Pilot Jamie Crawley3 hours ago The Bank of Korea is looking for a technology supplier to explore a digital currency in a test environment.  PWC Crypto Hedge Funds Show Growing Appetite for DeFi: PwC Ian AllisonYesterday at 8:00 p.m. Crypto hedge funds had $3.8 billion in assets under management in 2020. Chainlink, Polkadot and Aave tokens proved popular.  BITCOIN Bitcoin, Ether Now Down 50% From Last Month’s ATHs as Rout Resumes Kevin ReynoldsBradley KeounMuyao ShenOmkar GodboleYesterday at 1:38 p.m. Even if Huobi is the specific catalyst for today's plunge, it's just the latest negative news in the sector that has been battered in the last few weeks.  CHINA Huobi Scales Back Due to China Crackdown; Bitcoin Falls Below $32K, Ether Past $2K David PanYesterday at 9:59 a.m. The exchange made the move on the heels of a series of crackdown notices from Bejing in recent weeks.  DEFI People Behind Crypto Protocol DeFi100 May Have Absconded With $32M in Investor Funds Kevin ReynoldsMay 22, 2021 A not-so-classy message on the DeFi100.org website told investors they'd been fooled and "you can't do [the slightest thing] about it."  GOLDMAN SACHS Goldman’s Crypto Chief Worries About Fraud, but Not Cryptocurrency’s Future James RubinMay 22, 2021 The investment banking giant’s Mathew McDermott said the company would continue to expand its offerings in the cryptocurrency space to meet surging demand.  Bitcoin From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search "₿" redirects here. It is not to be confused with "฿" for Thai baht. Bitcoin Prevailing bitcoin logo Denominations Plural bitcoins Symbol ₿ (Unicode: U+20BF ₿ BITCOIN SIGN (HTML ₿))[a] Ticker symbol BTC, XBT[b] Precision 10−8 Subunits 1⁄1000 millibitcoin 1⁄100000000 satoshi[2] Development Original author(s) Satoshi Nakamoto White paper "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System"[4] Implementation(s) Bitcoin Core Initial release 0.1.0 / 9 January 2009 (12 years ago) Latest release 0.21.1 / 2 May 2021 (20 days ago)[3] Code repository https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin Development status Active Website bitcoin.org Ledger Ledger start 3 January 2009 (12 years ago) Timestamping scheme Proof-of-work (partial hash inversion) Hash function SHA-256 Issuance schedule Decentralized (block reward) Initially ₿50 per block, halved every 210,000 blocks[7] Block reward ₿6.25[c] Block time 10 minutes Block explorer Many implementations Circulating supply ₿18,660,000 (as of 20 March 2021) Supply limit ₿21,000,000[5][d] a. ^ The symbol was encoded in Unicode version 10.0 at position U+20BF ₿ BITCOIN SIGN in the Currency Symbols block in June 2017.[1] b. ^ Compatible with ISO 4217. c. ^ May 2020 to approximately 2024, halved approximately every four years d. ^ The supply will approach, but never reach, ₿21 million. Issuance will permanently halt c. 2140 at ₿20,999,999.9769.[6]:ch. 8 This article contains special characters. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols. Bitcoin (₿) is a cryptocurrency invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.[8] The currency began use in 2009[9] when its implementation was released as open-source software.[6]:ch. 1 Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.[7] Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services,[10] but the real-world value of the coins is extremely volatile.[11] Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimated that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.[12] Users choose to participate in the digital currency for a number of reasons: ideologies such as commitment to anarchism, decentralization and libertarianism, convenience, using the currency as an investment and pseudonymity of transactions. Increased use has led to a desire among governments for regulation in order to tax, facilitate legal use in trade and for other reasons (such as investigations for money laundering and price manipulation). Bitcoin has been criticized for its use in illegal transactions, the large amount of electricity (and thus carbon footprint) used by mining, price volatility, and thefts from exchanges. Some economists and commentators have characterized it as a speculative bubble at various times. Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin.[11][13][14] The word bitcoin was defined in a white paper published on 31 October 2008.[4][15] It is a compound of the words bit and coin.[16] No uniform convention for bitcoin capitalization exists; some sources use Bitcoin, capitalized, to refer to the technology and network and bitcoin, lowercase, for the unit of account.[17] The Wall Street Journal,[18] The Chronicle of Higher Education,[19] and the Oxford English Dictionary[16] advocate use of lowercase bitcoin in all cases. Contents 1 History 1.1 Creation 1.2 2011–2012 1.3 2013–2016 1.4 2017–2019 1.5 2020–present 2 Design 2.1 Units and divisibility 2.2 Blockchain 2.3 Supply 2.4 Transactions 2.5 Ownership 2.6 Mining 2.7 Wallets 2.8 Decentralization 2.9 Privacy & Fungibility 3 Ideology 3.1 Austrian economics roots 3.2 Anarchism and libertarianism 4 Economics 4.1 Acceptance by merchants 4.2 Financial institutions 4.3 As an investment 4.4 Venture capital 4.5 Price and volatility 5 Legal status, tax and regulation 5.1 Regulatory warnings 5.2 Price manipulation investigation 6 Analysis 6.1 Economic concerns 6.2 Energy consumption and carbon footprint 6.3 Use in illegal transactions 7 Software implementation 8 In popular culture 8.1 Term "HODL" 8.2 Literature 8.3 Film 8.4 Academia 9 See also 10 Notes 11 References 12 External links History Main article: History of bitcoin Creation The domain name bitcoin.org was registered on 18 August 2008.[20] On 31 October 2008, a link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System[4] was posted to a cryptography mailing list.[21] Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin software as open-source code and released it in January 2009.[22][23][9] Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.[8] On 3 January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the starting block of the chain, known as the genesis block.[24][25] Embedded in the coinbase of this block was the text "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks".[9] This note references a headline published by The Times and has been interpreted as both a timestamp and a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.[26]:18 The receiver of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who had created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPoW) in 2004.[27] Finney downloaded the bitcoin software on its release date, and on 12 January 2009 received ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.[28][29] Other early cypherpunk supporters were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, creator of b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of bit gold.[24] In 2010, the first known commercial transaction using bitcoin occurred when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John's pizzas for ₿10,000.[30] Blockchain analysts estimate that Nakamoto had mined about one million bitcoins[31] before disappearing in 2010 when he handed the network alert key and control of the code repository over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen later became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.[32][33] Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development path of bitcoin, in contrast to the perceived authority of Nakamoto's contributions.[34][33] 2011–2012 After early "proof-of-concept" transactions, the first major users of bitcoin were black markets, such as Silk Road. During its 30 months of existence, beginning in February 2011, Silk Road exclusively accepted bitcoins as payment, transacting 9.9 million in bitcoins, worth about $214 million.[35]:222 In 2011, the price started at $0.30 per bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for the year. The price rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month, the price fell to $11.00. The next month it fell to $7.80, and in another month to $4.77.[36] In 2012, bitcoin prices started at $5.27, growing to $13.30 for the year.[36] By 9 January the price had risen to $7.38, but then crashed by 49% to $3.80 over the next 16 days. The price then rose to $16.41 on 17 August, but fell by 57% to $7.10 over the next three days.[37] The Bitcoin Foundation was founded in September 2012 to promote bitcoin's development and uptake.[38] On 1 November 2011, the reference implementation Bitcoin-Qt version 0.5.0 was released. It introduced a front end that used the Qt user interface toolkit.[39] The software previously used Berkeley DB for database management. Developers switched to LevelDB in release 0.8 in order to reduce blockchain synchronization time.[citation needed] The update to this release resulted in a minor blockchain fork on 11 March 2013. The fork was resolved shortly afterwards.[citation needed] Seeding nodes through IRC was discontinued in version 0.8.2. From version 0.9.0 the software was renamed to Bitcoin Core. Transaction fees were reduced again by a factor of ten as a means to encourage microtransactions.[citation needed] Although Bitcoin Core does not use OpenSSL for the operation of the network, the software did use OpenSSL for remote procedure calls. Version 0.9.1 was released to remove the network's vulnerability to the Heartbleed bug.[citation needed] 2013–2016 In 2013, prices started at $13.30 rising to $770 by 1 January 2014.[36] In March 2013 the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with different rules due to a bug in version 0.8 of the bitcoin software. The two blockchains operated simultaneously for six hours, each with its own version of the transaction history from the moment of the split. Normal operation was restored when the majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of the bitcoin software, selecting the backwards-compatible version of the blockchain. As a result, this blockchain became the longest chain and could be accepted by all participants, regardless of their bitcoin software version.[40] During the split, the Mt. Gox exchange briefly halted bitcoin deposits and the price dropped by 23% to $37[40][41] before recovering to the previous level of approximately $48 in the following hours.[42] The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) established regulatory guidelines for "decentralized virtual currencies" such as bitcoin, classifying American bitcoin miners who sell their generated bitcoins as Money Service Businesses (MSBs), that are subject to registration or other legal obligations.[43][44][45] In April, exchanges BitInstant and Mt. Gox experienced processing delays due to insufficient capacity[46] resulting in the bitcoin price dropping from $266 to $76 before returning to $160 within six hours.[47] The bitcoin price rose to $259 on 10 April, but then crashed by 83% to $45 over the next three days.[37] On 15 May 2013, US authorities seized accounts associated with Mt. Gox after discovering it had not registered as a money transmitter with FinCEN in the US.[48][49] On 23 June 2013, the US Drug Enforcement Administration listed ₿11.02 as a seized asset in a United States Department of Justice seizure notice pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881. This marked the first time a government agency had seized bitcoin.[50] The FBI seized about ₿30,000[51] in October 2013 from the dark web website Silk Road, following the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.[52][53][54] These bitcoins were sold at blind auction by the United States Marshals Service to venture capital investor Tim Draper.[51] Bitcoin's price rose to $755 on 19 November and crashed by 50% to $378 the same day. On 30 November 2013, the price reached $1,163 before starting a long-term crash, declining by 87% to $152 in January 2015.[37] On 5 December 2013, the People's Bank of China prohibited Chinese financial institutions from using bitcoins.[55] After the announcement, the value of bitcoins dropped,[56] and Baidu no longer accepted bitcoins for certain services.[57] Buying real-world goods with any virtual currency had been illegal in China since at least 2009.[58] In 2014, prices started at $770 and fell to $314 for the year.[36] On 30 July 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation started accepting donations of bitcoin.[59] In 2015, prices started at $314 and rose to $434 for the year. In 2016, prices rose and climbed up to $998 by 1 January 2017.[36] Release 0.10 of the software was made public on 16 February 2015. It introduced a consensus library which gave programmers easy access to the rules governing consensus on the network. In version 0.11.2 developers added a new feature which allowed transactions to be made unspendable until a specific time in the future.[60] Bitcoin Core 0.12.1 was released on 15 April 2016, and enabled multiple soft forks to occur concurrently.[61] Around 100 contributors worked on Bitcoin Core 0.13.0 which was released on 23 August 2016. In July 2016, the CheckSequenceVerify soft fork activated.[62] In October 2016, Bitcoin Core's 0.13.1 release featured the "Segwit" soft fork that included a scaling improvement aiming to optimize the bitcoin blocksize.[citation needed] The patch which was originally finalised in April, and 35 developers were engaged to deploy it.[citation needed] This release featured Segregated Witness (SegWit) which aimed to place downward pressure on transaction fees as well as increase the maximum transaction capacity of the network.[63][non-primary source needed] The 0.13.1 release endured extensive testing and research leading to some delays in its release date.[citation needed] SegWit prevents various forms of transaction malleability.[64][non-primary source needed] 2017–2019 On 15 July 2017, the controversial Segregated Witness [SegWit] software upgrade was approved ("locked-in"). Segwit was intended to support the Lightning Network as well as improve scalability.[65] SegWit was subsequently activated on the network on 24 August 2017. The bitcoin price rose almost 50% in the week following SegWit's approval.[65] On 21 July 2017, bitcoin was trading at $2,748, up 52% from 14 July 2017's $1,835.[65] Supporters of large blocks who were dissatisfied with the activation of SegWit forked the software on 1 August 2017 to create Bitcoin Cash, becoming one of many forks of bitcoin such as Bitcoin Gold.[66] Prices started at $998 in 2017 and rose to $13,412.44 on 1 January 2018,[36] after reaching its all-time high of $19,783.06 on 17 December 2017.[67] China banned trading in bitcoin, with first steps taken in September 2017, and a complete ban that started on 1 February 2018. Bitcoin prices then fell from $9,052 to $6,914 on 5 February 2018.[37] The percentage of bitcoin trading in the Chinese renminbi fell from over 90% in September 2017 to less than 1% in June 2018.[68] Throughout the rest of the first half of 2018, bitcoin's price fluctuated between $11,480 and $5,848. On 1 July 2018, bitcoin's price was $6,343.[69][70] The price on 1 January 2019 was $3,747, down 72% for 2018 and down 81% since the all-time high.[69][71] In September 2018, an anonymous party discovered and reported an invalid-block denial-of-server vulnerability to developers of Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin Unlimited. Further analysis by bitcoin developers showed the issue could also allow the creation of blocks violating the 21 million coin limit and CVE-2018-17144 was assigned and the issue resolved.[72][non-primary source needed] Bitcoin prices were negatively affected by several hacks or thefts from cryptocurrency exchanges, including thefts from Coincheck in January 2018, Bithumb in June, and Bancor in July. For the first six months of 2018, $761 million worth of cryptocurrencies was reported stolen from exchanges.[73] Bitcoin's price was affected even though other cryptocurrencies were stolen at Coinrail and Bancor as investors worried about the security of cryptocurrency exchanges.[74][75][76] In September 2019 the Intercontinental Exchange (the owner of the NYSE) began trading of bitcoin futures on its exchange called Bakkt.[77] Bakkt also announced that it would launch options on bitcoin in December 2019.[78] In December 2019, YouTube removed bitcoin and cryptocurrency videos, but later restored the content after judging they had "made the wrong call."[79] In February 2019, Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga Fintech Solutions failed with approximately $200 million missing.[80] By June 2019 the price had recovered to $13,000.[81] 2020–present According to CoinMetrics and Forbes, on 11 March 281,000 bitcoins were sold by owners who held them for only thirty days. This compared to ₿4,131 that had laid dormant for a year or more, indicating that the vast majority of the bitcoin volatility on that day was from recent buyers.[81] During the week of 11 March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken experienced an 83% increase in the number of account signups over the week of bitcoin's price collapse, a result of buyers looking to capitalize on the low price.[81] On 13 March 2020, bitcoin fell below $4000 during a broad COVID-19 pandemic related market selloff, after trading above $10,000 in February 2020.[82] In August 2020, MicroStrategy invested $250 million in bitcoin as a treasury reserve asset.[83] In October 2020, Square, Inc. put approximately 1% of their total assets ($50 million) in bitcoin.[84] In November 2020, PayPal announced that all users in the US could buy, hold, or sell bitcoin using PayPal.[85] On 30 November 2020, bitcoin hit a new all-time high of $19,860 topping the previous high from December 2017.[86] Alexander Vinnik, founder of BTC-e, was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison for money laundering in France while refusing to testify during his trial.[87] In December 2020 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company announced it has purchased $100 million in bitcoin, or roughly 0.04% of its general investment account.[88] On 19 January 2021, Elon Musk placed #Bitcoin in his Twitter profile tweeting "In retrospect, it was inevitable", which caused the price to briefly rise about $5000 in an hour to $37,299.[89] On 25 January 2021 Microstrategy announced it continued to buy bitcoin and as of the same date it had holdings of ₿70,784 worth $2.38 billion.[90] On 8 February 2021 Tesla's announcement that it had purchased $1.5 billion in bitcoin and planned to start accepting bitcoin as payment for vehicles pushed the bitcoin price to an all-time high of $44,141.[91] On 18 February 2021, Elon Musk said that "owning bitcoin was only a little better than holding conventional cash, but that the slight difference made it a better asset to hold".[92] It was announced in September 2020, that the Canton of Zug (in Switzerland) will start to accept tax payments in bitcoin from February 2021.[93][94] Design  Graph of the elliptic curve named secp256k1 over the algebraic number field of real numbers,   2 Bitcoin is based on an elliptic curve called secp256k1 and encrypted with the ECDSA algorithm.[95][better source needed] The equation for the Bitcoin secp256k1 curve is   2=  3+7.[96][better source needed] Bitcoin has a proposed Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) that would add support for Schnorr signatures.[97]:101 Units and divisibility The unit of account of the bitcoin system is a bitcoin. Ticker symbols used to represent bitcoin are BTC[a] and XBT.[b][101]:2 Its Unicode character is ₿.[1] Small amounts of bitcoin used as alternative units are millibitcoin (mBTC), and satoshi (sat). Named in homage to bitcoin's creator, a satoshi is the smallest amount within bitcoin representing 1⁄100000000 bitcoins, one hundred millionth of a bitcoin.[2] A millibitcoin equals 1⁄1000 bitcoins; one thousandth of a bitcoin or 100,000 satoshis.[102] Blockchain  Data structure of blocks in the ledger.  Number of bitcoin transactions per month, semilogarithmic plot[103]  Number of unspent transaction outputs[104] For broader coverage of this topic, see Blockchain. The bitcoin blockchain is a public ledger that records bitcoin transactions.[105] It is implemented as a chain of blocks, each block containing a hash of the previous block up to the genesis block[c] of the chain. A network of communicating nodes running bitcoin software maintains the blockchain.[35]:215–219 Transactions of the form payer X sends Y bitcoins to payee Z are broadcast to this network using readily available software applications. Network nodes can validate transactions, add them to their copy of the ledger, and then broadcast these ledger additions to other nodes. To achieve independent verification of the chain of ownership each network node stores its own copy of the blockchain.[106] At varying intervals of time averaging to every 10 minutes, a new group of accepted transactions, called a block, is created, added to the blockchain, and quickly published to all nodes, without requiring central oversight. This allows bitcoin software to determine when a particular bitcoin was spent, which is needed to prevent double-spending. A conventional ledger records the transfers of actual bills or promissory notes that exist apart from it, but the blockchain is the only place that bitcoins can be said to exist in the form of unspent outputs of transactions.[6]:ch. 5 Individual blocks, public addresses and transactions within blocks can be examined using a blockchain explorer.[citation needed] Supply This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)  Total bitcoins in circulation.[104] The successful miner finding the new block is allowed by the rest of the network to reward themselves with newly created bitcoins and transaction fees.[107] As of 11 May 2020,[citation needed] the reward amounted to 6.25 newly created bitcoins per block added to the blockchain,[citation needed] plus any transaction fees from payments processed by the block. To mine half of the supply of bitcoins took four years but the remainder will take another 120 years, because of an artificial process called "bitcoin halving" according to which miners are compensated by fewer BTC as time goes on.[citation needed] To claim the reward, a special transaction called a coinbase is included with the processed payments.[6]:ch. 8 All bitcoins in existence have been created in such coinbase transactions. The bitcoin protocol specifies that the reward for adding a block will be halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every four years). Eventually, the reward will decrease to zero, and the limit of 21 million bitcoins[d] will be reached c. 2140; the record keeping will then be rewarded solely by transaction fees.[108] In other words, Nakamoto set a monetary policy based on artificial scarcity at bitcoin's inception that the total number of bitcoins could never exceed 21 million. New bitcoins are created roughly every ten minutes and the rate at which they are generated drops by half about every four years until all will be in circulation.[109] Transactions See also: Bitcoin network Transactions are defined using a Forth-like scripting language.[6]:ch. 5 Transactions consist of one or more inputs and one or more outputs. When a user sends bitcoins, the user designates each address and the amount of bitcoin being sent to that address in an output. To prevent double spending, each input must refer to a previous unspent output in the blockchain.[110] The use of multiple inputs corresponds to the use of multiple coins in a cash transaction. Since transactions can have multiple outputs, users can send bitcoins to multiple recipients in one transaction. As in a cash transaction, the sum of inputs (coins used to pay) can exceed the intended sum of payments. In such a case, an additional output is used, returning the change back to the payer.[110] Any input satoshis not accounted for in the transaction outputs become the transaction fee.[110] Though transaction fees are optional, miners can choose which transactions to process and prioritize those that pay higher fees.[110] Miners may choose transactions based on the fee paid relative to their storage size, not the absolute amount of money paid as a fee. These fees are generally measured in satoshis per byte (sat/b). The size of transactions is dependent on the number of inputs used to create the transaction, and the number of outputs.[6]:ch. 8 The blocks in the blockchain were originally limited to 32 megabytes in size. The block size limit of one megabyte was introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010. Eventually the block size limit of one megabyte created problems for transaction processing, such as increasing transaction fees and delayed processing of transactions.[111] Andreas Antonopoulos has stated Lightning Network is a potential scaling solution and referred to lightning as a second layer routing network.[6]:ch. 8 Ownership  Simplified chain of ownership as illustrated in the bitcoin whitepaper.[4] In practice, a transaction can have more than one input and more than one output.[110] In the blockchain, bitcoins are registered to bitcoin addresses. Creating a bitcoin address requires nothing more than picking a random valid private key and computing the corresponding bitcoin address. This computation can be done in a split second. But the reverse, computing the private key of a given bitcoin address, is practically unfeasible.[6]:ch. 4 Users can tell others or make public a bitcoin address without compromising its corresponding private key. Moreover, the number of valid private keys is so vast that it is extremely unlikely someone will compute a key-pair that is already in use and has funds. The vast number of valid private keys makes it unfeasible that brute force could be used to compromise a private key. To be able to spend their bitcoins, the owner must know the corresponding private key and digitally sign the transaction. The network verifies the signature using the public key; the private key is never revealed.[6]:ch. 5 If the private key is lost, the bitcoin network will not recognize any other evidence of ownership;[35] the coins are then unusable, and effectively lost. For example, in 2013 one user claimed to have lost 7,500 bitcoins, worth $7.5 million at the time, when he accidentally discarded a hard drive containing his private key.[112] About 20% of all bitcoins are believed to be lost -they would have had a market value of about $20 billion at July 2018 prices.[113] To ensure the security of bitcoins, the private key must be kept secret.[6]:ch. 10 If the private key is revealed to a third party, e.g. through a data breach, the third party can use it to steal any associated bitcoins.[114] As of December 2017, around 980,000 bitcoins have been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges.[115] Regarding ownership distribution, as of 16 March 2018, 0.5% of bitcoin wallets own 87% of all bitcoins ever mined.[116] Mining See also: Bitcoin network § Mining  Early bitcoin miners used GPUs for mining, as they were better suited to the proof-of-work algorithm than CPUs.[117]  Later amateurs mined bitcoins with specialized FPGA and ASIC chips. The chips pictured have become obsolete due to increasing difficulty.  Today, bitcoin mining companies dedicate facilities to housing and operating large amounts of high-performance mining hardware.[118]  Semi-log plot of relative mining difficulty[e][104] Mining is a record-keeping service done through the use of computer processing power.[f] Miners keep the blockchain consistent, complete, and unalterable by repeatedly grouping newly broadcast transactions into a block, which is then broadcast to the network and verified by recipient nodes.[105] Each block contains a SHA-256 cryptographic hash of the previous block,[105] thus linking it to the previous block and giving the blockchain its name.[6]:ch. 7[105] To be accepted by the rest of the network, a new block must contain a proof-of-work (PoW).[105] The system used is based on Adam Back's 1997 anti-spam scheme, Hashcash.[120][failed verification][4] The PoW requires miners to find a number called a nonce, such that when the block content is hashed along with the nonce, the result is numerically smaller than the network's difficulty target.[6]:ch. 8 This proof is easy for any node in the network to verify, but extremely time-consuming to generate, as for a secure cryptographic hash, miners must try many different nonce values (usually the sequence of tested values is the ascending natural numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3, ...[6]:ch. 8) before meeting the difficulty target. Every 2,016 blocks (approximately 14 days at roughly 10 min per block), the difficulty target is adjusted based on the network's recent performance, with the aim of keeping the average time between new blocks at ten minutes. In this way the system automatically adapts to the total amount of mining power on the network.[6]:ch. 8 Between 1 March 2014 and 1 March 2015, the average number of nonces miners had to try before creating a new block increased from 16.4 quintillion to 200.5 quintillion.[121] The proof-of-work system, alongside the chaining of blocks, makes modifications of the blockchain extremely hard, as an attacker must modify all subsequent blocks in order for the modifications of one block to be accepted.[122] As new blocks are mined all the time, the difficulty of modifying a block increases as time passes and the number of subsequent blocks (also called confirmations of the given block) increases.[105] Computing power is often bundled together by a Mining pool to reduce variance in miner income. Individual mining rigs often have to wait for long periods to confirm a block of transactions and receive payment. In a pool, all participating miners get paid every time a participating server solves a block. This payment depends on the amount of work an individual miner contributed to help find that block.[123] Wallets For broader coverage of this topic, see Cryptocurrency wallet.  Bitcoin Core, a full client  Electrum, a lightweight client The first wallet program, simply named Bitcoin, and sometimes referred to as the Satoshi client, was released in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto as open-source software.[9] In version 0.5 the client moved from the wxWidgets user interface toolkit to Qt, and the whole bundle was referred to as Bitcoin-Qt.[124] After the release of version 0.9, the software bundle was renamed Bitcoin Core to distinguish itself from the underlying network.[125][126] Bitcoin Core is, perhaps, the best known implementation or client. Alternative clients (forks of Bitcoin Core) exist, such as Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Unlimited,[34] and Parity Bitcoin.[127] List of bitcoin forks A wallet stores the information necessary to transact bitcoins. While wallets are often described as a place to hold[128] or store bitcoins, due to the nature of the system, bitcoins are inseparable from the blockchain transaction ledger. A wallet is more correctly defined as something that "stores the digital credentials for your bitcoin holdings" and allows one to access (and spend) them.[6]:ch. 1, glossary Bitcoin uses public-key cryptography, in which two cryptographic keys, one public and one private, are generated.[129] At its most basic, a wallet is a collection of these keys. There are several modes which wallets can operate in. They have an inverse relationship with regards to trustlessness and computational requirements. * Full clients verify transactions directly by downloading a full copy of the blockchain (over 150 GB as of January 2018).[130] They are the most secure and reliable way of using the network, as trust in external parties is not required. Full clients check the validity of mined blocks, preventing them from transacting on a chain that breaks or alters network rules.[6]:ch. 1 Because of its size and complexity, downloading and verifying the entire blockchain is not suitable for all computing devices. * Lightweight clients consult full nodes to send and receive transactions without requiring a local copy of the entire blockchain (see simplified payment verification – SPV). This makes lightweight clients much faster to set up and allows them to be used on low-power, low-bandwidth devices such as smartphones. When using a lightweight wallet, however, the user must trust full nodes, as it can report faulty values back to the user. Lightweight clients follow the longest blockchain and do not ensure it is valid, requiring trust in full nodes.[131] Third-party internet services called online wallets offer similar functionality but may be easier to use. In this case, credentials to access funds are stored with the online wallet provider rather than on the user's hardware.[132] As a result, the user must have complete trust in the online wallet provider. A malicious provider or a breach in server security may cause entrusted bitcoins to be stolen. An example of such a security breach occurred with Mt. Gox in 2011.[133]  A paper wallet with a banknote-like design. Both the private key and the address are visible in text form and as 2D barcodes.  A paper wallet with the address visible for adding or checking stored funds. The part of the page containing the private key is folded over and sealed.  A brass token with a private key hidden beneath a tamper-evident security hologram. A part of the address is visible through a transparent part of the hologram.  A hardware wallet peripheral which processes bitcoin payments without exposing any credentials to the computer. Physical wallets store the credentials necessary to spend bitcoins offline and can be as simple as a paper printout of the private key:[6]:ch. 10 a paper wallet or more advanced such as a hardware wallet. A paper wallet is created with a keypair generated on a computer with no internet connection; the private key is written or printed onto the paper[g] and then erased from the computer. The paper wallet can then be stored in a safe physical location for later retrieval. Bitcoins stored using a paper wallet are said to be in cold storage.[134]:39 Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the founders of the Gemini Trust Co. exchange, reported that they had cut their paper wallets into pieces and stored them in envelopes distributed to safe deposit boxes across the United States.[135] Through this system, the theft of one envelope would neither allow the thief to steal any bitcoins nor deprive the rightful owners of their access to them.[136] Physical wallets can also take the form of metal token coins[137] with a private key accessible under a security hologram in a recess struck on the reverse side.[138]:38 The security hologram self-destructs when removed from the token, showing that the private key has been accessed.[139] Originally, these tokens were struck in brass and other base metals, but later used precious metals as bitcoin grew in value and popularity.[138]:80 Coins with stored face value as high as ₿1000 have been struck in gold.[138]:102–104 The British Museum's coin collection includes four specimens from the earliest series[138]:83 of funded bitcoin tokens; one is currently on display in the museum's money gallery.[140] In 2013, a Utahn manufacturer of these tokens was ordered by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to register as a money services business before producing any more funded bitcoin tokens.[137][138]:80 Another type of physical wallet called a hardware wallet keeps credentials offline while facilitating transactions.[141] The hardware wallet acts as a computer peripheral and signs transactions as requested by the user, who must press a button on the wallet to confirm that they intended to make the transaction. Hardware wallets never expose their private keys, keeping bitcoins in cold storage even when used with computers that may be compromised by malware.[134]:42–45 Decentralization Bitcoin is decentralized thus:[7] * Bitcoin does not have a central authority.[7] * There is no central server; the bitcoin network is peer-to-peer.[9] * There is no central storage; the bitcoin ledger is distributed.[142] * The ledger is public; anybody can store it on their computer.[6]:ch. 1 * There is no single administrator;[7] the ledger is maintained by a network of equally privileged miners.[6]:ch. 1 * Anybody can become a miner.[6]:ch. 1 * The additions to the ledger are maintained through competition. Until a new block is added to the ledger, it is not known which miner will create the block.[6]:ch. 1 * The issuance of bitcoins is decentralized. They are issued as a reward for the creation of a new block.[107] * Anybody can create a new bitcoin address (a bitcoin counterpart of a bank account) without needing any approval.[6]:ch. 1 * Anybody can send a transaction to the network without needing any approval; the network merely confirms that the transaction is legitimate.[143]:32 Conversely, researchers have pointed out at a "trend towards centralization". Although bitcoin can be sent directly from user to user, in practice intermediaries are widely used.[35]:220–222 Bitcoin miners join large mining pools to minimize the variance of their income.[35]:215, 219–222[144]:3[145] Because transactions on the network are confirmed by miners, decentralization of the network requires that no single miner or mining pool obtains 51% of the hashing power, which would allow them to double-spend coins, prevent certain transactions from being verified and prevent other miners from earning income.[146] As of 2013 just six mining pools controlled 75% of overall bitcoin hashing power.[146] In 2014 mining pool Ghash.io obtained 51% hashing power which raised significant controversies about the safety of the network. The pool has voluntarily capped their hashing power at 39.99% and requested other pools to act responsibly for the benefit of the whole network.[147] Around the year 2017, over 70% of the hashing power and 90% of transactions were operating from China.[148] According to researchers, other parts of the ecosystem are also "controlled by a small set of entities", notably the maintenance of the client software, online wallets and simplified payment verification (SPV) clients.[146] Privacy & Fungibility Bitcoin is pseudonymous, meaning that funds are not tied to real-world entities but rather bitcoin addresses. Owners of bitcoin addresses are not explicitly identified, but all transactions on the blockchain are public. In addition, transactions can be linked to individuals and companies through "idioms of use" (e.g., transactions that spend coins from multiple inputs indicate that the inputs may have a common owner) and corroborating public transaction data with known information on owners of certain addresses.[149] Additionally, bitcoin exchanges, where bitcoins are traded for traditional currencies, may be required by law to collect personal information.[150] To heighten financial privacy, a new bitcoin address can be generated for each transaction.[151] Wallets and similar software technically handle all bitcoins as equivalent, establishing the basic level of fungibility. Researchers have pointed out that the history of each bitcoin is registered and publicly available in the blockchain ledger, and that some users may refuse to accept bitcoins coming from controversial transactions, which would harm bitcoin's fungibility.[152] For example, in 2012, Mt. Gox froze accounts of users who deposited bitcoins that were known to have just been stolen.[153] Ideology Satoshi Nakamoto stated in his white paper that: "The root problem with conventional currencies is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust."[154] Austrian economics roots According to the European Central Bank, the decentralization of money offered by bitcoin has its theoretical roots in the Austrian school of economics, especially with Friedrich von Hayek in his book Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined,[155] in which Hayek advocates a complete free market in the production, distribution and management of money to end the monopoly of central banks.[156]:22 Anarchism and libertarianism Further information: Crypto-anarchism According to The New York Times, libertarians and anarchists were attracted to the philosophical idea behind bitcoin. Early bitcoin supporter Roger Ver said: "At first, almost everyone who got involved did so for philosophical reasons. We saw bitcoin as a great idea, as a way to separate money from the state."[154] The Economist describes bitcoin as "a techno-anarchist project to create an online version of cash, a way for people to transact without the possibility of interference from malicious governments or banks".[157] Economist Paul Krugman argues that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are "something of a cult" based in "paranoid fantasies" of government power.[158] External video  The Declaration Of Bitcoin's Independence, BraveTheWorld, 4:38[159] Nigel Dodd argues in The Social Life of Bitcoin that the essence of the bitcoin ideology is to remove money from social, as well as governmental, control.[160] Dodd quotes a YouTube video, with Roger Ver, Jeff Berwick, Charlie Shrem, Andreas Antonopoulos, Gavin Wood, Trace Meyer and other proponents of bitcoin reading The Declaration of Bitcoin's Independence. The declaration includes a message of crypto-anarchism with the words: "Bitcoin is inherently anti-establishment, anti-system, and anti-state. Bitcoin undermines governments and disrupts institutions because bitcoin is fundamentally humanitarian."[160][159] David Golumbia says that the ideas influencing bitcoin advocates emerge from right-wing extremist movements such as the Liberty Lobby and the John Birch Society and their anti-Central Bank rhetoric, or, more recently, Ron Paul and Tea Party-style libertarianism.[161] Steve Bannon, who owns a "good stake" in bitcoin, considers it to be "disruptive populism. It takes control back from central authorities. It's revolutionary."[162] A 2014 study of Google Trends data found correlations between bitcoin-related searches and ones related to computer programming and illegal activity, but not libertarianism or investment topics.[163] Economics Main article: Economics of bitcoin  Liquidity,[h] semilogarithmic plot.[104] Bitcoin is a digital asset designed to work in peer-to-peer transactions as a currency.[4][164] Bitcoins have three qualities useful in a currency, according to The Economist in January 2015: they are "hard to earn, limited in supply and easy to verify."[165] Per some researchers, as of 2015, bitcoin functions more as a payment system than as a currency.[35] Economists define money as serving the following three purposes: a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account.[166] According to The Economist in 2014, bitcoin functions best as a medium of exchange.[166] However, this is debated, and a 2018 assessment by The Economist stated that cryptocurrencies met none of these three criteria.[157] Yale economist Robert J. Shiller writes that bitcoin has potential as a unit of account for measuring the relative value of goods, as with Chile's Unidad de Fomento, but that "Bitcoin in its present form [...] doesn't really solve any sensible economic problem".[167] According to research by Cambridge University, between 2.9 million and 5.8 million unique users used a cryptocurrency wallet in 2017, most of them for bitcoin. The number of users has grown significantly since 2013, when there were 300,000–1.3 million users.[12] Acceptance by merchants The overwhelming majority of bitcoin transactions take place on a cryptocurrency exchange, rather than being used in transactions with merchants.[168] Delays processing payments through the blockchain of about ten minutes make bitcoin use very difficult in a retail setting. Prices are not usually quoted in units of bitcoin and many trades involve one, or sometimes two, conversions into conventional currencies.[35] Merchants that do accept bitcoin payments may use payment service providers to perform the conversions.[169] In 2017 and 2018 bitcoin's acceptance among major online retailers included only three of the top 500 U.S. online merchants, down from five in 2016.[168] Reasons for this decline include high transaction fees due to bitcoin's scalability issues and long transaction times.[170] Bloomberg reported that the largest 17 crypto merchant-processing services handled $69 million in June 2018, down from $411 million in September 2017. Bitcoin is "not actually usable" for retail transactions because of high costs and the inability to process chargebacks, according to Nicholas Weaver, a researcher quoted by Bloomberg. High price volatility and transaction fees make paying for small retail purchases with bitcoin impractical, according to economist Kim Grauer. However, bitcoin continues to be used for large-item purchases on sites such as Overstock.com, and for cross-border payments to freelancers and other vendors.[171] Financial institutions Bitcoins can be bought on digital currency exchanges. Per researchers, "there is little sign of bitcoin use" in international remittances despite high fees charged by banks and Western Union who compete in this market.[35] The South China Morning Post, however, mentions the use of bitcoin by Hong Kong workers to transfer money home.[172] In 2014, the National Australia Bank closed accounts of businesses with ties to bitcoin,[173] and HSBC refused to serve a hedge fund with links to bitcoin.[174] Australian banks in general have been reported as closing down bank accounts of operators of businesses involving the currency.[175] On 10 December 2017, the Chicago Board Options Exchange started trading bitcoin futures,[176] followed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which started trading bitcoin futures on 17 December 2017.[177] In September 2019 the Central Bank of Venezuela, at the request of PDVSA, ran tests to determine if bitcoin and ether could be held in central bank's reserves. The request was motivated by oil company's goal to pay its suppliers.[178] As an investment The Winklevoss twins have purchased bitcoin. In 2013, The Washington Post reported a claim that they owned 1% of all the bitcoins in existence at the time.[179] Other methods of investment are bitcoin funds. The first regulated bitcoin fund was established in Jersey in July 2014 and approved by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.[180] Forbes named bitcoin the best investment of 2013.[181] In 2014, Bloomberg named bitcoin one of its worst investments of the year.[182] In 2015, bitcoin topped Bloomberg's currency tables.[183] According to bitinfocharts.com, in 2017 there are 9,272 bitcoin wallets with more than $1 million worth of bitcoins.[184] The exact number of bitcoin millionaires is uncertain as a single person can have more than one bitcoin wallet. In August 2020, MicroStrategy invested in Bitcoin.[185][186] In May 2021, the Bitcoin's market share on exchanges dropped from 70% to 45% as investors pursued altcoins.[187] Venture capital Peter Thiel's Founders Fund invested US$3 million in BitPay.[188] In 2012, an incubator for bitcoin-focused start-ups was founded by Adam Draper, with financing help from his father, venture capitalist Tim Draper, one of the largest bitcoin holders after winning an auction of 30,000 bitcoins,[189] at the time called "mystery buyer".[190] The company's goal is to fund 100 bitcoin businesses within 2–3 years with $10,000 to $20,000 for a 6% stake.[189] Investors also invest in bitcoin mining.[191] According to a 2015 study by Paolo Tasca, bitcoin startups raised almost $1 billion in three years (Q1 2012 – Q1 2015).[192] Price and volatility  Price in US$, semilogarithmic plot.[104]  Annual volatility[103] The price of bitcoins has gone through cycles of appreciation and depreciation referred to by some as bubbles and busts.[193] In 2011, the value of one bitcoin rapidly rose from about US$0.30 to US$32 before returning to US$2.[194] In the latter half of 2012 and during the 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis, the bitcoin price began to rise,[195] reaching a high of US$266 on 10 April 2013, before crashing to around US$50. On 29 November 2013, the cost of one bitcoin rose to a peak of US$1,242.[196] In 2014, the price fell sharply, and as of April remained depressed at little more than half 2013 prices. As of August 2014 it was under US$600.[197] According to Mark T. Williams, as of 30 September 2014, bitcoin has volatility seven times greater than gold, eight times greater than the S&P 500, and 18 times greater than the US dollar.[198] Hodl is a meme created in reference to holding (as opposed to selling) during periods of volatility. Unusual for an asset, bitcoin weekend trading during December 2020 was higher than for weekdays.[199] Hedge funds (using high leverage and derivates)[200] have attempted to use the volatility to profit from downward price movements. At the end of January 2021, such positions were over $1 billion, their highest of all time.[201][202] As of 8 February 2021, the closing price of bitcoin equals US$44,797.[203] Legal status, tax and regulation Further information: Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Because of bitcoin's decentralized nature and its trading on online exchanges located in many countries, regulation of bitcoin has been difficult. However, the use of bitcoin can be criminalized, and shutting down exchanges and the peer-to-peer economy in a given country would constitute a de facto ban.[204] The legal status of bitcoin varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems.[192] According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in nine countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.[205] In October 2020, the Islamic Republic News Agency announced pending regulations that would require bitcoin miners in Iran to sell bitcoin to the Central Bank of Iran, and the central bank would use it for imports.[206] Iran, as of October 2020, had issued over 1,000 bitcoin mining licenses.[206] The Iranian government initially took a stance against cryptocurrency, but later changed it after seeing that digital currency could be used to circumvent sanctions.[207] The US Office of Foreign Assets Control listed two Iranians and their bitcoin addresses as part of its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List for their role in the 2018 Atlanta cyberattack whose ransom was paid in bitcoin.[208] Regulatory warnings The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued four "Customer Advisories" for bitcoin and related investments.[13] A July 2018 warning emphasized that trading in any cryptocurrency is often speculative, and there is a risk of theft from hacking, and fraud.[209] In May 2014 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warned that investments involving bitcoin might have high rates of fraud, and that investors might be solicited on social media sites.[210] An earlier "Investor Alert" warned about the use of bitcoin in Ponzi schemes.[211] The European Banking Authority issued a warning in 2013 focusing on the lack of regulation of bitcoin, the chance that exchanges would be hacked, the volatility of bitcoin's price, and general fraud.[212] FINRA and the North American Securities Administrators Association have both issued investor alerts about bitcoin.[213][214] Price manipulation investigation An official investigation into bitcoin traders was reported in May 2018.[215] The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into possible price manipulation, including the techniques of spoofing and wash trades.[216][217][218] The U.S. federal investigation was prompted by concerns of possible manipulation during futures settlement dates. The final settlement price of CME bitcoin futures is determined by prices on four exchanges, Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken. Following the first delivery date in January 2018, the CME requested extensive detailed trading information but several of the exchanges refused to provide it and later provided only limited data. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission then subpoenaed the data from the exchanges.[219][220] State and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.[221] Academic research published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that price manipulation occurred during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and that the market remains vulnerable to manipulation.[222] The history of hacks, fraud and theft involving bitcoin dates back to at least 2011.[223] Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in 2018 suggests that trading associated with increases in the amount of the Tether cryptocurrency and associated trading at the Bitfinex exchange account for about half of the price increase in bitcoin in late 2017.[224][225] J.L. van der Velde, CEO of both Bitfinex and Tether, denied the claims of price manipulation: "Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex."[226] Analysis External video  Cryptocurrencies: looking beyond the hype, Hyun Song Shin, Bank for International Settlements, 2:48[227] The Bank for International Settlements summarized several criticisms of bitcoin in Chapter V of their 2018 annual report. The criticisms include the lack of stability in bitcoin's price, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the poor security and fraud at cryptocurrency exchanges, vulnerability to debasement (from forking), and the influence of miners.[227][228][229] François R. Velde, Senior Economist at the Chicago Fed, described bitcoin as "an elegant solution to the problem of creating a digital currency".[230] David Andolfatto, Vice President at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, stated that bitcoin is a threat to the establishment, which he argues is a good thing for the Federal Reserve System and other central banks, because it prompts these institutions to operate sound policies.[119]:33[231][232] Economic concerns Further information: Cryptocurrency bubble and Economics of bitcoin  Bitcoin price bubbles in 2011, 2013 and 2017 Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, has been described as an economic bubble by at least eight Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates at various times, including Robert Shiller on 1 March 2014,[167] Joseph Stiglitz on 29 November 2017,[233] and Richard Thaler on 21 December 2017.[234][235] On 29 January 2018, a noted Keynesian economist Paul Krugman has described bitcoin as "a bubble wrapped in techno-mysticism inside a cocoon of libertarian ideology",[158] on 2 February 2018, professor Nouriel Roubini of New York University has called bitcoin the "mother of all bubbles",[236] and on 27 April 2018, a University of Chicago economist James Heckman has compared it to the 17th-century tulip mania.[235] Journalists, economists, investors, and the central bank of Estonia have voiced concerns that bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme.[237][238][239][240] In April 2013, Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, stated that "a real Ponzi scheme takes fraud; bitcoin, by contrast, seems more like a collective delusion."[241] A July 2014 report by the World Bank concluded that bitcoin was not a deliberate Ponzi scheme.[242]:7 In June 2014, the Swiss Federal Council examined concerns that bitcoin might be a pyramid scheme, and concluded that "since in the case of bitcoin the typical promises of profits are lacking, it cannot be assumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme."[243]:21 Energy consumption and carbon footprint  Electricity consumption of the bitcoin network since 2016 (annualized) and comparison with the electricity consumption of various countries in 2019. The upper and lower bounds (grey traces) are based on worst-case and best-case scenario assumptions, respectively. The red trace indicates an intermediate best-guess estimate. (data sources: Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, US Energy Information Administration; for details, see methodology) Bitcoin has been criticized for the amount of electricity consumed by mining. As of 2015, estimated combined electricity consumption attributed to mining was 166.7 megawatts and by 2017, was estimated to be between one and four gigawatts of electricity.[244][165] In 2018, bitcoin was estimated by to use 2.55 to 3.572 GW, or around 6% of the total power consumed by the global banking sector.[245][246][247] In July 2019 BBC reported bitcoin consumes about 7 gigawatts, 0.2% of the global total, or equivalent to that of Switzerland.[248] A 2021 estimate from the University of Cambridge suggests bitcoin consumes more than 178 (TWh) annually, ranking it in the top 30 energy consumers if it were a country.[249] Bitcoin is mined in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air is free.[250] Bitcoin miners are known to use hydroelectric power in Tibet, Quebec, Washington (state), and Austria to reduce electricity costs.[245][251] Miners are attracted to suppliers such as Hydro Quebec that have energy surpluses.[252] According to a University of Cambridge study, much of bitcoin mining is done in China, where electricity is subsidized by the government.[253][254] A significant part of Bitcoin mining is powered by cheap electricity in Xinjiang, which mostly comes from coal power.[255][256] In April 2021 a coal mine explosion in the province coincided with a 35% drop in hashing power and a flash crash in price.[257][255] In other provinces, such as Hunan and Sichuan, mining farms use more hydropower, however these account for at most 4% of hash power. According to Alex de Vries, renewable energy is not a good match for Bitcoin mining as 24/7 operations are best for ROI on mining devices.[257] In 2021, a US company purchased the Greenidge coal power plant and converted it to burn natural gas for the sole purpose of mining bitcoin, which has proven to be highly profitable, in spite of protests of local residents against air pollution and thermal pollution.[258] Concerns about bitcoin's environmental impact relate bitcoin's energy consumption to carbon emissions.[259][260] The difficulty of translating the energy consumption into carbon emissions lies in the decentralized nature of bitcoin impeding the localization of miners to examine the electricity mix used. The results of recent studies analyzing bitcoin's carbon footprint vary.[261][262][263][264] A study published in Nature Climate Change in 2018 claims that bitcoin "could alone produce enough CO
2 emissions to push warming above 2 °C within less than three decades."[263] However, other researchers criticized this analysis, arguing the underlying scenarios were inadequate, leading to overestimations.[265][266][267] According to studies published in Joule and American Chemical Society in 2019, bitcoin's annual energy consumption results in annual carbon emission ranging from 17[247] to 22.9 MtCO
2 which is comparable to the level of emissions of countries as Jordan and Sri Lanka or Kansas City.[264] George Kamiya, writing for the International Energy Agency, says that "predictions about bitcoin consuming the entire world's electricity" are sensational, but that the area "requires careful monitoring and rigorous analysis".[268] Use in illegal transactions Further information: Cryptocurrency and crime and Bitcoin network § Alleged criminal activity Bitcoin held at exchanges are vulnerable to theft through phishing, scamming, and hacking. As of December 2017, around 980,000 bitcoins have been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges.[115] The use of bitcoin by criminals has attracted the attention of financial regulators, legislative bodies, law enforcement, and the media.[269] Bitcoin gained early notoriety for its use on the Silk Road. The U.S. Senate held a hearing on virtual currencies in November 2013.[270] The U.S. government claimed that bitcoin was used to facilitate payments related to Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[271] However, a 2021 study led by former CIA director Michael Morell showed that broad generalizations about the use of bitcoin in illicit finance are significantly overstated and that blockchain analysis is an effective crime fighting and intelligence gathering tool.[272] Several news outlets have asserted that the popularity of bitcoins hinges on the ability to use them to purchase illegal goods.[164][273] Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that bitcoin's anonymity encourages money laundering and other crimes.[274][275] In 2014, researchers at the University of Kentucky found "robust evidence that computer programming enthusiasts and illegal activity drive interest in bitcoin, and find limited or no support for political and investment motives".[163] Australian researchers have estimated that 25% of all bitcoin users and 44% of all bitcoin transactions are associated with illegal activity as of April 2017. There were an estimated 24 million bitcoin users primarily using bitcoin for illegal activity. They held $8 billion worth of bitcoin, and made 36 million transactions valued at $72 billion.[276][277] Software implementation Bitcoin Core The start screen under Fedora Original author(s) Satoshi Nakamoto Initial release 2009 Stable release 0.20.1 (2 August 2020; 9 months ago) [±] Repository github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin Written in C++ Operating system Linux, Windows, macOS Type Cryptocurrency License MIT License Website bitcoincore.org Bitcoin Core is free and open-source software that serves as a bitcoin node (the set of which form the bitcoin network) and provides a bitcoin wallet which fully verifies payments. It is considered to be bitcoin's reference implementation.[278] Initially, the software was published by Satoshi Nakamoto under the name "Bitcoin", and later renamed to "Bitcoin Core" to distinguish it from the network.[279] It is also known as the Satoshi client.[280] The MIT Digital Currency Initiative funds some of the development of Bitcoin Core.[281] The project also maintains the cryptography library libsecp256k1.[282] Bitcoin Core includes a transaction verification engine and connects to the bitcoin network as a full node.[280] Moreover, a cryptocurrency wallet, which can be used to transfer funds, is included by default.[282] The wallet allows for the sending and receiving of bitcoins. It does not facilitate the buying or selling of bitcoin. It allows users to generate QR codes to receive payment. The software validates the entire blockchain, which includes all bitcoin transactions ever. This distributed ledger which has reached more than 235 gigabytes in size as of Jan 2019, must be downloaded or synchronized before full participation of the client may occur.[280] Although the complete blockchain is not needed all at once since it is possible to run in pruning mode. A command line-based daemon with a JSON-RPC interface, bitcoind, is bundled with Bitcoin Core. It also provides access to testnet, a global testing environment that imitates the bitcoin main network using an alternative blockchain where valueless "test bitcoins" are used. Regtest or Regression Test Mode creates a private blockchain which is used as a local testing environment.[283] Finally, bitcoin-cli, a simple program which allows users to send RPC commands to bitcoind, is also included. Checkpoints which have been hard coded into the client are used only to prevent Denial of Service attacks against nodes which are initially syncing the chain. For this reason the checkpoints included are only as of several years ago.[284][285][failed verification] A one megabyte block size limit was added in 2010 by Satoshi Nakamoto. This limited the maximum network capacity to about three transactions per second.[286] Since then, network capacity has been improved incrementally both through block size increases and improved wallet behavior. A network alert system was included by Satoshi Nakamoto as a way of informing users of important news regarding bitcoin.[287] In November 2016 it was retired. It had become obsolete as news on bitcoin is now widely disseminated. Bitcoin Core includes a scripting language inspired by Forth that can define transactions and specify parameters.[288] ScriptPubKey is used to "lock" transactions based on a set of future conditions. scriptSig is used to meet these conditions or "unlock" a transaction. Operations on the data are performed by various OP_Codes. Two stacks are used - main and alt. Looping is forbidden. Bitcoin Core uses OpenTimestamps to timestamp merge commits.[289] The original creator of the bitcoin client has described their approach to the software's authorship as it being written first to prove to themselves that the concept of purely peer-to-peer electronic cash was valid and that a paper with solutions could be written. The lead developer is Wladimir J. van der Laan, who took over the role on 8 April 2014.[290] Gavin Andresen was the former lead maintainer for the software client. Andresen left the role of lead developer for bitcoin to work on the strategic development of its technology.[290] Bitcoin Core in 2015 was central to a dispute with Bitcoin XT, a competing client that sought to increase the blocksize.[291] Over a dozen different companies and industry groups fund the development of Bitcoin Core. In popular culture Term "HODL" Hodl (/ˈhɒdəl/ HOD-əl; often written HODL) is slang in the cryptocurrency community for holding a cryptocurrency rather than selling it.[292] A person who does this is known as a Hodler. It originated in a December 2013 post on the Bitcoin Forum message board by an apparently inebriated user who posted with a typo in the subject, "I AM HODLING."[293] It is often humorously suggested to be a backronym to "hold on for dear life".[294] In 2017, Quartz listed it as one of the essential slang terms in Bitcoin culture, and described it as a stance, "to stay invested in bitcoin and not to capitulate in the face of plunging prices."[295] TheStreet.com referred to it as the "favorite mantra" of Bitcoin holders.[296] Bloomberg News referred to it as a "mantra" for holders during market routs.[297] Literature In Charles Stross' 2013 science fiction novel, Neptune's Brood, the universal interstellar payment system is known as "bitcoin" and operates using cryptography.[298] Stross later blogged that the reference was intentional, saying "I wrote Neptune's Brood in 2011. Bitcoin was obscure back then, and I figured had just enough name recognition to be a useful term for an interstellar currency: it'd clue people in that it was a networked digital currency."[299] Film The 2014 documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin portrays the diversity of motives behind the use of bitcoin by interviewing people who use it. These include a computer programmer and a drug dealer.[300] The 2016 documentary Banking on Bitcoin is an introduction to the beginnings of bitcoin and the ideas behind cryptocurrency today.[301] Academia In September 2015, the establishment of the peer-reviewed academic journal Ledger (ISSN 2379-5980) was announced. It covers studies of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, and is published by the University of Pittsburgh.[302] The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.[303][304] See also * Alternative currency * Base58 * Crypto-anarchism * List of bitcoin companies * List of bitcoin organizations * SHA-256 crypto currencies * Virtual currency law in the United States * Business and economics portalFree and open-source software portalInternet portalNumismatics portalMoney portal Notes * ^ As of 2014, BTC is a commonly used code. It does not conform to ISO 4217 as BT is the country code of Bhutan, and ISO 4217 requires the first letter used in global commodities to be 'X'. * ^ As of 2014, XBT, a code that conforms to ISO 4217 though is not officially part of it, is used by Bloomberg L.P.,[98] CNNMoney,[99] and xe.com.[100] * ^ The genesis block is the block number 0. The timestamp of the block is 2009-01-03 18:15:05. This block is unlike all other blocks in that it does not have a previous block to reference. * ^ The exact number is 20,999,999.9769 bitcoins.[6]:ch. 8 * ^ Relative mining difficulty is defined as the ratio of the difficulty target on 9 January 2009 to the current difficulty target. * ^ It is misleading to think that there is an analogy between gold mining and bitcoin mining. The fact is that gold miners are rewarded for producing gold, while bitcoin miners are not rewarded for producing bitcoins; they are rewarded for their record-keeping services.[119] * ^ The private key can be printed as a series of letters and numbers, a seed phrase, or a 2D barcode. Usually, the public key or bitcoin address is also printed, so that a holder of a paper wallet can check or add funds without exposing the private key to a device. * ^ Liquidity is estimated by a 365-day running sum of transaction outputs in USD. References 1. ^ Jump up to:
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Bitcoin was obscure back then, and I figured had just enough name recognition to be a useful term for an interstellar currency: it'd clue people in that it was a networked digital currency.” 300. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben (2 October 2014). "Financial Wild West". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 301. ^ Michel, Lincoln (16 December 2017). "What the Hell Is Bitcoin? Let This Documentary on Netflix Explain". GQ. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018. 302. ^ "Introducing Ledger, the First Bitcoin-Only Academic Journal". Motherboard. Archived from the original on 10 January 2017. 303. ^ "Editorial Policies". ledgerjournal.org. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 304. ^ "How to Write and Format an Article for Ledger" (PDF). Ledger. 2015. doi:10.5195/LEDGER.2015.1 (inactive 19 January 2021). Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 September 2015. External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bitcoin. * • Bitcoin.org website * Bitcoin at Curlie hide • vte Bitcoin • HistoryEconomicsLegal status People • Gavin AndresenAndreas AntonopoulosBrian ArmstrongAdam BackWences CasaresTim DraperHal FinneyMark KarpelèsSatoshi NakamotoCharlie ShremNick SzaboAmir TaakiRoss UlbrichtRoger VerCody WilsonCameron WinklevossTyler WinklevossCraig WrightJihan Wu Lists • List of bitcoin companiesList of bitcoin forksList of bitcoin organizationsList of people in blockchain technology Technologies • Bitcoin networkBlockchainCryptocurrencyCryptocurrency walletBitcoin ATMECDSALightning NetworkP2PProof of workSegWitSHA-2 Forks Client • Bitcoin Unlimited Currency • Bitcoin CashBitcoin Gold Exchanges • BinanceBitfinexbitFlyerBithumbBitMEXBitsoBitstampBTCCCoinbaseCoincheckGeminiHuobiKrakenLocalBitcoinsOKExShapeShiftUpbit Defunct • BTC-eMt. 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GoxQuadrigaCX show • vte Cryptocurrencies show • vte Currency symbols (¤) Authority control  • BNE: XX5395494BNF: cb16732034m (data)GND: 1041888279LCCN: sh2015000075SUDOC: 175289379 * Categories: Bitcoin2009 softwareApplication layer protocolsComputer-related introductions in 2009CryptocurrenciesCurrencies introduced in 2009Digital currenciesPrivate currenciesCurrency symbolsElliptic curve cryptography MLS® Listings for Sale (15,285) 1 2 3 4 Next                                                   Newest First                     Price Low                     Price High                                           Displaying 1-20 out of 15,285 listings   FEATURED PROPERTY 880 Grandview Way 1001 $869,000 CAD 2 baths 3 beds Toronto Willowdale East Grandview Way Luxurious Tridel Parkside On Grandview, Gated Community In Heart Of North York Area In The Prestigious Willowdale Area, Open Concept, Practical Layout Living & Dining Area With A Dedicated Family Room, Kitchen Features Breakfast Area With Center Island. 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Get Started Latest Living Room Posts Today Banff, Alberta: Canada’s Base Camp for Adventure May 20, 2021 A Deep Dive into Saltwater Pools: What are They and Should You Get One? May 19, 2021 5 Backyard Projects to Tackle Over the Victoria Day Long Weekend More Posts Popular Cities Toronto Real EstateCalgary Real EstateOttawa Real EstateLondon Real EstateHamilton Real EstateEdmonton Real EstateVancouver Real EstateMississauga Real EstateVictoria Real EstateWinnipeg Real EstateKelowna Real EstateBurlington Real EstateOakville Real EstateKitchener Real EstateGuelph Real EstateBarrie Real EstateKingston Real EstateWindsor Real EstateMontreal Real EstateBrampton Real EstateWaterloo Real EstateCambridge Real EstatePeterborough Real EstateOshawa Real EstateSarnia Real EstateMilton Real EstateMarkham Real EstateEtobicoke Real EstateBrantford Real EstateSurrey Real Estate 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 5. Your Home Buying MVPs Buying or selling the biggest asset of your life is stressful. A REALTOR® can help keep your emotions in check throughout the complex and time-consuming process. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 1. Paper Pros If only buying a home was as simple as signing on the dotted line. A REALTOR® can bring you peace of mind by navigating the complex legal terminology, paperwork, mortgage rules and more. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 2. Marketing Experts Not only are they experts at finding you the right home, a REALTOR® can get your house discovered and sold faster — so you can move forward with your life. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 3. Pricing Advisors When it comes to making the most significant purchase of your life, don’t guess on price, rely on an expert in pricing and market trends. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 4. Negotiator Extraordinaires Negotiating a property sale can be intimidating; a REALTOR® has the experience to get you the best deal so you don’t leave any money on the table. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 5. Your Home Buying MVPs Buying or selling the biggest asset of your life is stressful. A REALTOR® can help keep your emotions in check throughout the complex and time-consuming process. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 1. Paper Pros If only buying a home was as simple as signing on the dotted line. A REALTOR® can bring you peace of mind by navigating the complex legal terminology, paperwork, mortgage rules and more. 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Log In  list·​ing | \ ˈli-stiŋ  \ Definition of listing 1 : an act or instance of making or including in a list 2 : something that is listed Synonyms Example Sentences Learn More about listing Synonyms for listing Synonyms * canon, catalog (or catalogue), checklist, list, menu, register, registry, roll, roll call, roster, schedule, table Visit the Thesaurus for More  Examples of listing in a Sentence  an alphabetical listing of all of the students currently enrolled in the school Recent Examples on the Web Per the listing on American's career website, the positions start at $14.74 an hour and include eligibility for travel privileges and discounts as well as traditional benefits such as a 401(k) account, health benefits and two weeks' vacation. — Melissa Yeager, The Arizona Republic, "Want to work at the Phoenix airport? Here's how to apply for all the jobs available," 21 May 2021 The listing comes after a series of initial public offerings in Europe got a lukewarm reception from equity investors in a rollercoaster week for global stock markets. — Swetha Gopinath, Fortune, "Snoop Dogg-backed Oxford Cannabinoid has volatile debut," 21 May 2021 These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'listing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback. See More First Known Use of listing 1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1 Learn More about listing Share listing Post the Definition of listing to Facebook Share the Definition of listing on Twitter Time Traveler for listing The first known use of listing was in 1659 See more words from the same year Dictionary Entries near listing lister ridge listful listicle listing listless list price LISTSERV See More Nearby Entries  Statistics for listing Last Updated 23 May 2021 Look-up Popularity Top 4% of words Cite this Entry “Listing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/listing. Accessed 24 May. 2021. Style: MLA  More Definitions for listing listing noun English Language Learners Definition of listing : a printed list : a printed list of things that includes detailed information about them : something included in a list See the full definition for listing in the English Language Learners Dictionary listing noun list·​ing Legal Definition of listing 1 : an arrangement, agreement, or contract for the marketing of real property through one or more real estate agents usually for a specific period — called also listing agreement — exclusive agency listing : a listing under which only one agent may sell the property but without the right to a commission if the owner sells it directly NOTE: An agent is usually still entitled to a commission if the owner sells directly to a buyer found by the agent, even if the sale occurs after the agreement expires. — exclusive right to sell listing : a listing under which only one agent may sell the property and is entitled to a commission if the owner sells it directly to any party — multiple listing : an agreement or arrangement under which real property is marketed through a service or association composed of several agents with a commission from the sale of a property shared between the selling agent and the agent that initiates the listing of it — net listing : a listing under which the agent that sells a property retains as compensation the amount of the selling price that exceeds a specified sum — open listing : a listing that does not preclude the use of multiple agents or a direct sale by the owner with no commission paid to an agent — called also nonexclusive listing 2 a : a record of a property or properties available through a real estate agent b : a property listed in such a record More from Merriam-Webster on listing Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for listing Nglish: Translation of listing for Spanish Speakers Britannica English: Translation of listing for Arabic Speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about listing Comments on listing What made you want to look up listing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible). Show Comments  WORD OF THE DAY chouse See Definitions and Examples » Get Word of the Day daily email! TEST YOUR VOCABULARY Spring Words Quiz *  * 

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OTHER MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARIES * LEARNER'S ESL DICTIONARY * VISUAL DICTIONARY * SCRABBLE® WORD FINDER * MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY * BRITANNICA ENGLISH - ARABIC TRANSLATION * NGLISH - SPANISH-ENGLISH TRANSLATION Listing From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search Listing may refer to: * Enumeration of a set of items in the form of a list * Johann Benedict Listing (1808–1882), German mathematician * Listing (computer), a computer code listing * Listing (finance), the placing of a company's shares on the list of stocks traded on a stock exchange * Navigation listing, tilting of vessels in a nautical context * Listings magazine, a type of magazine displaying a schedule of programmed content * Designation as a listed building in the United Kingdom * A term in US real estate brokerage, referring to the obtaining of a written contract to represent the seller of a property or business Talk:Listing From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search This page is within the scope of WikiProject Disambiguation, an attempt to structure and organize all disambiguation pages on Wikipedia. If you wish to help, you can edit the page attached to this talk page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project or contribute to the discussion. Untitled[edit] OK to put in Wiktionary if linking to "Type-in program" is preserved. Removing the "WikiProject Business & Economics" template and putting it on the talk page of Listing (finance), since this is now a disambiguation page and Listing (finance) seems to be the article for which it was intended. Bassington 20:24, 10 November 2007 (UTC) Listings of television programmes[edit] I wonder whether we would need an entry for listings of television programme listings? In the United Kingdom, it is quite common to refer to lists of television programmes, as in the Radio Times, as listings? ACEOREVIVED (talk) 19:54, 20 September 2010 (UTC) * Categories: WikiProject Disambiguation pages Real estate agent From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   (Redirected from Real estate broker) Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the North American practice. For other definitions and practices in other countries, see Real estate. For real property, see Real property. "Realtor" redirects here. For the trade associations that refer to its members as "Realtors", see National Association of Realtors and Canadian Real Estate Association. hide This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs attention from an expert in Business. (July 2014) This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (July 2014) This article possibly contains original research. (July 2014) The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (July 2014) This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (August 2020) It has been suggested that Estate agent be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2021. It has been suggested that Real estate business be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2021. A real estate broker, real estate agent or realtor is a person who represents sellers or buyers of real estate or real property. While a broker may work independently, an agent usually works under a licensed broker to represent clients.[1] Brokers and agents are licensed by the state to negotiate sales agreements and manage the documentation required for closing real estate transactions. Buyers and sellers are generally advised to consult a licensed real estate professional for a written definition of an individual state's laws of agency, and many states require written disclosures to be signed by all parties outlining the duties and obligations. Generally, real estate brokers/ agents fall into four categories of representation: * Seller's agents, commonly called "listing brokers" or "listing agents", are contracted by owners to assist with marketing property for sale or lease. * Buyer's agents are brokers or salespersons who assist buyers by helping them purchase property. * Dual agents help both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. To protect their license to practice, a real estate broker owes both parties fair and honest dealing and must request that both parties (seller and buyer) sign a dual agency agreement. Special laws/rules often apply to dual agents, especially in negotiating price. In dual agency situations, a conflict of interest is more likely to occur, typically resulting in the loss of advocacy for both parties. Individual state laws vary and interpret dual agency rather differently, with some no longer allowing it. In some states, Dual Agency can be practiced in situations where the same brokerage (but not agent) represent both the buyer and the seller. If one agent from the brokerage has a home listed and another agent from that brokerage has a buyer-brokerage agreement with a buyer who wishes to buy the listed property, dual agency occurs by allowing each agent to be designated as an "intra-company" agent. Only the broker himself is the Dual Agent. * Transaction brokers provide the buyer and seller with a limited form of representation but without any fiduciary obligations. Having no more than a facilitator relationship, transaction brokers assist buyers, sellers, or both during the transaction without representing the interests of either party who may then be regarded as customers. The assistance provided are the legal documents for an agreement between the buyer and seller on how a particular transfer of property will happen. A real estate broker typically receives a real estate commission for successfully completing a sale. Across the U.S. this commission can generally range between 5-6% of the property's sale price for a full service broker but this percentage varies by state and even region.[2] This commission can be divided up with other participating real estate brokers or agents. Flat-fee brokers and Fee-for-Service brokers can charge significantly less depending on the type of services offered. Contents 1 Licensing 2 Specific States Representation Laws 3 Written agreement 3.1 Real estate education 4 The difference between salespersons and brokers 4.1 Real estate salesperson (or, in some states, real estate broker) 4.2 Real estate broker (or, in some states, qualifying broker) 5 Agency relationships with clients versus non-agency relationships with customers 5.1 Designated agency 6 Types of services that a broker can provide 7 Real estate brokers and sellers 7.1 Services provided to seller as client 7.2 The listing contract 7.3 Brokerage commissions 7.3.1 RESPA 7.3.2 Lock-box 7.4 Shared commissions with co-op brokers 8 Real estate brokers and buyers 8.1 Services provided to buyers 8.1.1 Buyers as clients 8.1.2 Buyers as customers 9 Education 10 Organizations 11 See also 12 References Licensing[edit] In the United States, real estate brokers and salespersons are licensed by each state, not by the federal government. Each state has a real estate “commission” who monitors and licenses real estate brokers and agents. For example, some states only allow lawyers to create documentation to transfer real property, while other states also allow the licensed real estate agent. There are state laws defining the types of relationships that can exist between clients and real estate licensees, and the lawful duties of real estate licensees to represent clients and members of the public. Rules vary substantially as defined by the law from state to state, for example, on subjects that include what legal language is necessary to transfer real property, agency relationships, inspections, disclosures, continuing education, and other subjects. In most jurisdictions in the United States, a person must have a license to perform licensed activities, and these activities are defined within the statutes of each state. The main feature of the requirement for having a license to perform those activities is the work done "for compensation". Hence, hypothetically, if a person wants to help a friend out in either selling or buying a property, and no compensation of any kind is expected in return, then a license is not needed to perform all the work. However, since most people would expect to be compensated for their efforts and skills, a license would be required by law before a person they may receive remuneration for services rendered as a real estate broker or agent. Unlicensed activity is illegal and the state real estate commission has the authority to fine people who are acting as real estate licensees, but buyers and sellers acting as principals in the sale or purchase of real estate are usually not required to be licensed. It is important to note that in some states, lawyers handle real estate sales for compensation without being licensed as brokers or agents. However, even lawyers can only perform real estate activities that are incidental to their original work as a lawyer. It cannot be the case that a lawyer can become a seller's selling agent if that is all the service that is being requested by the client. Lawyers would still need to be licensed as a broker if they wish to perform licensed activities. Lawyers do however get a break in the minimum education requirements (for example, 90 hours in Illinois).[3] Specific States Representation Laws[edit] Some state Real Estate Commissions - notably Florida's[4] after 1992 (and extended in 2003) and Colorado's[5] after 1994 (with changes in 2003) created the option of having no agency or fiduciary relationship between brokers and sellers or buyers. As noted by the South Broward Board of Realtors, Inc. in a letter to State of Florida legislative committees: "The Transaction Broker crafts a transaction by bringing a willing buyer and a willing seller together and provides the legal documentation of the details of the legal agreement between the same. The Transaction Broker is not a fiduciary of any party, but must abide by the law as well as professional and ethical standards." (such as NAR Code of Ethics). The result was that in 2003, Florida created a system where the default brokerage relationship had "all licensees ... operating as transaction brokers, unless a single agent or no brokerage relationship is established, in writing, with the customer"[6][7] and the statute required written disclosure of the transaction brokerage relationship to the buyer or seller customer only through July 1, 2008. In the case of both Florida[7] and Colorado,[5] dual agency and sub-agency (where both listing and selling agents represent the seller) no longer exist. Other brokers and agents may focus on representing buyers or tenants in a real estate transaction. However, licensing as a broker or salesperson authorizes the licensee to legally represent parties on either side of a transaction and providing the necessary documentation for the legal transfer of real property. This business decision is for the licensee to decide. They are fines for people acting as real estate agents when not licensed by the state. In the United Kingdom, an estate agent is a person or business entity whose business is to market real estate on behalf of clients. There are significant differences between the actions, powers, obligations, and liabilities of brokers and estate agents in each country, as different countries take markedly different approaches to the marketing and selling of real property. Written agreement[edit] It is important to have a clear written legal documentation for an agreement between the broker and the client, for the protection of both of them. If the parties only have an oral agreement, it is more likely for a dispute to arise concerning the agreement to represent clients and for how real property being sold. Legal documentation is required to define whether the broker can enforce the parties' compensation agreement, the duration of the relationship, whether the relationship is "exclusive", and other issues. Enforceability of oral agreements, what kinds of legal agreements are required to be in writing, and other important issues vary from state to state. Real estate education[edit] To become licensed, most states require that an applicant take a minimum number of classroom hours to study real estate law before taking the state licensing exam. Such education is often provided by real estate firms or by education companies, either of which is typically licensed to teach such courses within their respective states. The courses are designed to prepare the new licensee primarily for the legal aspects of the practice of transferring real estate and to pass the state licensing exam. Once licensed, the licensee in most states is initially designated a salesperson and must work under a broker's license. Some other states have recently eliminated the salesperson's license and instead, all licensees in those states automatically earn their broker's license. A real estate agent must place their license under a managing broker. Typically there may be multiple licensees holding broker's licenses within a firm but only one broker or the firm itself, is the managing or principal broker and that individual or firm is then legally responsible for all licensees held under their license. The term agent is not to be confused with salesperson or broker. An agent is simply a licensee that has entered into an agency relationship with a client. A broker can also be an agent for a client. It is commonly the firm that has the actual legal relationship with the client through one of their sales staff, be they salespersons or brokers. In all states, the real estate licensee must disclose to prospective buyers and sellers the nature of their relationship [8] within the transaction and with the parties. See below for a broker/licensee relationship to sellers and their relationship with buyers. In the United States, there are commonly two levels of real estate professionals licensed by the individual states but not by the federal government: The difference between salespersons and brokers[edit] Before the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was introduced in 1967, when brokers (and their licensees) only represented sellers by providing a service to provide legal documentation on the transfer real property, the term "real estate salesperson" may have been more appropriate than it is today, given the various ways that brokers and licensees now help buyers through the legal process of transferring real property. Legally, however, the term "salesperson" is still used in many states to describe a real estate licensee. Real estate salesperson (or, in some states, real estate broker)[edit] When a person first becomes licensed to become a real estate agent, they obtain a real estate salesperson's license (some states use the term "broker") from the state in which they will practice. To obtain a real estate license, the candidate must take specific coursework (between 40 and 120 hours) and pass a state exam on real estate law and practice. To work, salespersons must be associated with (and act under the authority of) a real estate broker. In Delaware, for example, the licensing course requires the candidate to take 99 classroom hours in order to qualify to sit for the state and national examination. In Ohio, a license candidate must complete 120 hours of classroom education. Each successive year thereafter, the license holder must participate in continuing education in order to remain abreast of state and national changes. Many states also have reciprocal agreements with other states, allowing a licensed individual from a qualified state to take the second state's exam without completing the course requirements or, in some cases, take only a state law exam. Real estate broker (or, in some states, qualifying broker)[edit] After gaining some years of experience in real estate sales, a salesperson may decide to become licensed as a real estate broker (or Principal/qualifying broker) in order to own, manage, or operate their own brokerage. In addition, some states allow college graduates to apply for a broker's license without years of experience. College graduates fall into this category once they have completed the state-required courses as well. California allows licensed attorneys to become brokers upon passing the broker exam without having to take the requisite courses required of an agent. Commonly more coursework and a broker's state exam on real estate law must be passed. Upon obtaining a broker's license, a real estate agent may continue to work for another broker in a similar capacity as before (often referred to as a broker associate or associate broker) or take charge of their own brokerage and hire other salespersons (or broker), licensees. Becoming a branch office manager may or may not require a broker's license. Some states allow licensed attorneys to become real estate brokers without taking any exam. In some states, there are no "salespeople" as all licensees are brokers.[9] Agency relationships with clients versus non-agency relationships with customers[edit] * Relationship: Conventionally, the broker provides a conventional full-service, commission-based brokerage relationship under a signed listing agreement with a seller or a "buyer representation" agreement with a buyer, thus creating under common law in most states an agency relationship with fiduciary obligations. The seller or buyer is then a client of the broker. Some states also have statutes that define and control the nature of the representation. Agency relationships in residential real estate transactions involve the legal representation by a real estate broker (on behalf of a real estate company) of the principal, whether that person(s) is a buyer or a seller. The broker and his licensed real estate salespersons (salesmen or brokers) then become the agents of the principal. * Non-agency relationship: where no written agreement or fiduciary relationship exists, a real estate broker and his sales staff work with a principal who is known as the broker's customer. When a buyer who has not entered into a Buyer Agency agreement with the broker buys a property, that broker functions as the sub-agent of the seller's broker. When a seller chooses to work with a transaction broker, there is no agency relationship created. Designated agency[edit] The most recent development in the practice of real estate is "designated agency" which was created to permit individual licensees within the same firm, designated by the principal broker, to act as agents for individual buyers and sellers within the same transaction. In theory, therefore, two agents within the same firm act in strict fiduciary roles for their respective clients. Some states have adopted this practice into their state laws and others have decided this function is inherently problematic, just as was a dual agency. The practice was invented and promoted by larger firms to make it possible in theory to handle the entire transaction in the house without creating a conflict of interest within the firm Types of services that a broker can provide[edit] Real Estate Services are also called trading services [10] by some jurisdictions. Since each province's and state's laws may differ, it is generally advised that prospective sellers or buyers consult a licensed real estate professional. Some examples: * Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) — an estimate of a property's value compared with others. This differs from an appraisal in that property currently for sale may be taken into consideration. (competition for the subject property) * Total Market Overview — an objective method for determining a property's value, where a CMA is subjective. * Broker's Price Opinion — estimate of a property's value or potential selling price * Real estate appraisal — in most states, only if the broker is also licensed as an appraiser. * Exposure — Marketing the real property to prospective buyers. * Facilitating a Purchase — guiding a buyer through the process. * Facilitating a Sale — guiding a seller through the selling process. * FSBO document preparation — preparing the necessary paperwork for "For Sale By Owner" sellers. * Home Selling Kits — guides advising how to market and sell a property. * Hourly Consulting for a fee, based on the client's needs. * Leasing for a fee or percentage of the gross lease value. * Property Management * Exchanging property. * Auctioning property. (In most states, only if the broker is also licensed as an auctioneer.) * Preparing contracts and leases. (not in all states) These services are also changing as a variety of real estate trends transform the industry. Real estate brokers and sellers[edit] Services provided to seller as client[edit] Upon signing a listing contract with the seller wishing to sell the real estate, the brokerage attempts to earn a commission by finding a buyer and writing an offer, a legal document, for the sellers' property for the highest possible price on the best terms for the seller. In Canada and the United States, most laws require the real estate agent to forward all written offers to the seller for consideration or review. To help accomplish the goal of finding buyers, a real estate agency commonly does the following:[citation needed] * Lists the property for sale to the public, often on an MLS, in addition to any other methods. * Provides the seller with a real property condition disclosure (if required by law) and other necessary forms. * Keeps the client abreast of the rapid changes in the real estate industry, swings in market conditions, and the availability and demand for property inventory in the area. * Prepares paperwork describing the property for advertising, pamphlets, open houses, etc. * Places a "For Sale" sign on the property indicating how to contact the real estate office and agent. * advertises the property, which may include social media and digital marketing in addition to paper advertising. * Holds an open house to show the property. * Serves as a contact available to answer any questions about the property and schedule showing appointments. * Ensures that buyers are pre-screened and financially qualified to buy the property. (Sellers should be aware that the underwriter for any real estate mortgage loan is the final say.) * Negotiates price on behalf of the sellers. * Prepares legal documentation or a “purchase and sale agreement” on how the transaction will proceed. * Acts as a fiduciary for the seller, which may include preparing a standard real estate purchase contract. * Holds an earnest payment cheque in escrow from the buyer(s) until the closing if necessary. In many states, the closing is the meeting between the buyer and seller where the property is transferred and the title is conveyed by a deed. In other states, especially those in the West, closings take place during a defined escrow period when buyers and sellers each sign the appropriate papers transferring title, but do not meet each other. * Negotiates on their client's behalf when a property inspection is complete. Often having to get estimates for repairs. * Guards the client's legal interests (along with the attorney) when facing tough negotiations or confusing contracts. The listing contract[edit] Main article: Listing contract Several types of listing contracts exist between broker and seller. These may be defined as: * Exclusive right to sell The broker is given the exclusive right to market the property and represents the seller exclusively. This is referred to as seller agency. However, the brokerage also offers to cooperate with other brokers and agrees to allow them to show the property to prospective buyers and offers a share of the total real estate commission. * Exclusive agency Exclusive agency allows only the broker the right to sell the property, and no offer of compensation is ever made to another broker. In this case, the property will never be entered into an MLS. Naturally, this limits the exposure of the property to only one agency. * Open listing The property is available for sale by any real estate professional who can advertise, show, or negotiate the sale. The broker/agent who first brings an acceptable offer would receive compensation. Real estate companies will typically require that a written agreement for an open listing be signed by the seller to ensure payment of a commission if a sale takes place. Although there can be other ways of doing business, a real estate brokerage usually earns its commission after the real estate broker and a seller enter into a listing contract and fulfill agreed-upon terms specified within that contract. The seller's real estate is then listed for sale. In most of North America, a listing agreement or contract between broker and seller must include the following: * starting and ending dates of the agreement; * the price at which the property will be offered for sale; * the amount of compensation due to the broker; * how much, if any, of the compensation, will be offered to a cooperating broker who may bring a buyer (required for MLS listings). Net listings: Property listings at an agreed-upon net price that the seller wishes to receive with any excess going to the broker as commission. In many states including Georgia, New Jersey and Virginia [18 VAC §135-20-280(5)] net listings are illegal, other states such as California and Texas state authorities discourage the practice and have laws to try and avoid manipulation and unfair transactions [22 TAC §535(b)] and (c). Brokerage commissions[edit] In consideration of the brokerage successfully finding a buyer for the property, a broker anticipates receiving a commission for the services the brokerage has provided. Usually, the payment of a commission to the brokerage is contingent upon finding a buyer for the real estate, the successful negotiation of a purchase contract between the buyer and seller, or the settlement of the transaction and the exchange of money between buyer and seller. Under common law, a real estate broker is eligible to receive their commission, regardless of whether the sale actually takes place, once they secure a buyer who is ready, willing, and able to purchase the dwelling.[11] The median real estate commission charged to the seller by the listing (seller's) agent is 6% of the purchase price. Typically, this commission is split evenly between the seller's and buyer's agents, with the buyer's agent generally receiving a commission of 3% of the purchase price of the home sold. In North America, commissions on real estate transactions are negotiable and new services in real estate trends have created ways to negotiate rates. Local real estate sales activity usually dictates the amount of agreed commission. Real estate commission is typically paid by the seller at the closing of the transaction as detailed in the listing agreement. Economist Steven D. Levitt famously argued in his 2005 book Freakonomics that real estate brokers have an inherent conflict of interest with the sellers they represent because their commission gives them more motivation to sell quickly than to sell at a higher price. Levitt supported his argument with a study finding brokers tend to put their own houses on the market for longer and receive higher prices for them compared to when working for their clients. He concluded that broker commissions will reduce in future.[12] A 2008 study by other economists found that when comparing brokerage without listing services, brokerage significantly reduced the average sale price.[13] RESPA[edit] Real estate brokers who work with lenders can not receive any compensation from the lender for referring a residential client to a specific lender. To do so would be a violation of a United States federal law known as the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Commercial transactions are exempt from RESPA. All lender compensation to a broker must be disclosed to all parties. A commission may also be paid during negotiation of contract base on seller and agent. Lock-box[edit] With the seller's permission, a lock-box is placed on homes that are occupied, and after arranging an appointment with the homeowner, agents can show the home to prospective buyers. When a property is vacant, a lock-box will generally be placed on the front door. The listing broker helps arrange showings of the property by various real estate agents from all companies associated with the MLS. The lock-box contains the key to the door of the property, and the box can only be opened by licensed real estate agents. Shared commissions with co-op brokers[edit] If any buyer's broker or his agents brings the buyer for the property, the buyer's broker would typically be compensated with a co-op commission coming from the total offered to the listing broker, often about half of the full commission from the seller. If an agent or salesperson working for the buyer's broker brings the buyer for the property, then the buyer's broker would commonly compensate his agent with a fraction of the co-op commission, again as determined in a separate agreement. A discount brokerage may offer a reduced commission if no other brokerage firm is involved and no co-op commission paid out. If there is no co-commission to pay to another brokerage, the listing brokerage receives the full amount of the commission minus any other types of expenses. Real estate brokers and buyers[edit] This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Services provided to buyers[edit] Buyers as clients[edit] With the increase in the practice of buyer brokerages in the United States, agents (acting under their brokers) have been able to represent buyers in the transaction with a written "Buyer Agency Agreement" not unlike the "Listing Agreement" for sellers referred to above. In this case, buyers are clients of the brokerage. Some brokerages represent buyers only and are known as exclusive buyer agents (EBAs). Consumer Reports states, "You can find a true buyer's agent only at a firm that does not accept listings."[14] The advantages of using an Exclusive Buyer Agent is that they avoid conflicts of interest by working in the best interests of the buyer and not the seller, avoid homes and neighborhoods likely to fare poorly in the marketplace, ensure the buyer does not unknowingly overpay for a property, fully inform the buyer of adverse conditions, encourage the buyer to make offers based on true value instead of list price, and work to save the buyer money. A buyer agency firm commissioned a study that found EBA purchased homes were 17 times less likely to go into foreclosure.[citation needed] A real estate brokerage attempts to do the following for the buyers of real estate only when they represent the buyers with some form of written buyer-brokerage agreement: * Find real estate in accordance with the buyers needs, specifications, and cost. * Take buyers to and shows them properties available for sale. * Pre-screen buyers to ensure they are financially qualified to buy the properties shown (or use a mortgage professional, such a bank's mortgage specialist or alternatively a Mortgage broker, to do that task). * Negotiate price and terms on behalf of the buyers. * Prepare standard real estate purchase contract. * Act as a fiduciary for the buyer. * Assist the buyer in making an offer for the property. Buyers as customers[edit] In most states until the 1990s, buyers who worked with an agent of a real estate broker in finding a house were customers of the brokerage since the broker represented only sellers. Today, state laws differ. Buyers or sellers may be represented. Typically, a written "Buyer Brokerage" agreement is required for the buyer to have representation (regardless of which party is paying the commission), although by his/her actions, an agent can create representation. Education[edit] To become a real estate agent, a prospective salesperson candidate must attend a pre-license course. Some states, like Massachusetts, require as little as 40-hours classroom time to get licensed. Others, like California, mandate over 100 hours.[15] Many states allow candidates to take the pre-licensing class virtually.[16] Candidates must subsequently pass the state exam for a real estate agent's license. Upon passing, the new licensee must place their license with an established real estate firm, managed by a broker. Requirements vary by state but after some period of time working as an agent, one may return to the classroom and test to become a broker. For example, California and Florida require you to have a minimum experience of two years as a full-time licensed agent within the prior 5 years. Where as Indiana only requires one year experience as a real estate salesperson and Arizona requires three out of the prior five years.[17][18] Brokers may manage or own firms. Each branch office of a larger real estate firm must be managed by a broker. States issue licenses for a multi year period and require real estate agents and brokers to complete continuing education prior to renewing their licenses. For example, California licensees must complete 45 hours of continuing education every 4 years in topics such as agency, trust fund handling, consumer protection, fair housing, ethics, and risk management. Many states recognize licenses from other states and issue licenses to existing agents and firms upon request without additional education or testing however the license must be granted before real estate service is provided in the state. California does not have license reciprocity with other states. An applicant for licensure is not, however, required to be a resident of California to obtain a license. In Illinois, the salesperson license was replaced by a broker license in 2011. the new license requires 90 hours of pre-license education, 15 of which must be interactive, and 30 hours of post-license education. The pre-license education requirement includes a 75-hour topics course and a 15-hour applied real estate principles course.[3] Organizations[edit] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Several notable groups exist to promote the real estate industry and to assist members who are in it. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the largest real estate organization and one of the largest trade groups anywhere. Their membership exceeds one million. NAR also has state chapters as well as thousands of local chapters. Upon joining a local chapter, a new member is automatically enrolled in the state and national organizations. When the principals of a firm join, all licensed agents in that firm must also belong. A Realtor is a real estate broker or salesperson who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors, which is an industry trade association. The word "Realtor" is a registered trademark, protected under the US and international law. The Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC) is a separate entity, and also the lobbying arm of NAR. In 2005, they were considered the largest PAC in the United States. According to realtor.org, RPAC is the largest contributor to direct contributions to federal candidates. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) was founded in 1947 as an alternative for African Americans who were excluded from the dominant NAR. Both groups allow members to join without regard to race. However, NAREB has historically been an African American-centric group with a focus on developing housing resources for intercity populations. The Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) was established in 1955 and is a not-for-profit membership organization offering continuing education courses and designation programs for Canadian real estate professionals across multiple sectors.[19][20] See also[edit] • Buyer brokerage • Estate agent • Flat fee MLS • Independent contractor • Estate (house) • List of real estate topics • Real estate • Real estate trends • Exclusive buyer agent References[edit] 1. ^ "Real Estate Professionals Explained: Agent, Broker, REALTOR®". Real Estate News and Advice | Realtor.com®. 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2018-12-27. 2. ^ Bankrate.com. "How Much Is Real Estate Agent Commission? | Bankrate.com". Bankrate. Retrieved 2018-12-20. 3. ^ Jump up to:
a b "FAQs". www.illinoisrealtors.org. Illinois Realtors. Retrieved August 16, 2018. 4. ^ "Statutes & Constitution :View Statutes : Online Sunshine". Leg.state.fl.us. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 5. ^ Jump up to:
a b "Outline of types of representation available in Colorado, including Transaction Brokerage" (PDF). Dora.state.co.us. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 6. ^ Evans, Blanche (2 July 2003). "FLORIDA IMPLEMENTS DEFAULT TRANSACTION BROKERAGE STATUTE". realtytimes.com/. Realty Times. Retrieved 2 February2014. 7. ^ Jump up to:
a b The 2007 Florida Statutes. Chapter 475 Real Estate Brokers — Part I; Real Estate Brokers, Sales Associates, and Schools (ss. 475.001-475.5018), Section 475.278 Authorized brokerage relationships; presumption of transaction brokerage; required disclosures (1) Brokerage Relationships: (a) Authorized brokerage relationships. — A real estate licensee in this state may enter into a brokerage relationship as either a transaction broker or as a single agent with potential buyers and sellers. A real estate licensee may not operate as a disclosed or non-disclosed dual agent ... (b)Presumption of transaction brokerage. — It shall be presumed that all licensees are operating as transaction brokers unless a single agent or no brokerage relationship is established, in writing, with a customer." 8. ^ "Realtor Code of Ethics - Disclosure" (PDF). Real Estate Association Standards of Business Practice. 9. ^ "Real Estate Broker's License: Examination and Licensing Application Requirements". New Mexico Administrative Code. State of New Mexico Commission of Public Records. 10. ^ "Real Estate Laws Website". BC Real Estate Laws - Pat 1 Trading Services. 11. ^ https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/almID/1202588713813/Getting-a-Brokerage-Commission-Paid/ 12. ^ Daniel Gross (20 Feb 2005). "Why a Real Estate Agent May Skip the Extra Mile". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. 13. ^ B. Douglas Bernheim; Jonathan Meer (13 Jan 2012). "Do Real Estate Brokers Add Value When Listing Services Are Unbundled?". The National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved 3 Sep 2016. 14. ^ Consumer Reports, May 2005 15. ^ "How to Become a Real Estate Agent in California | KapRE.com". www.kapre.com. Retrieved 2020-12-20. 16. ^ "How to Become a Real Estate Agent - The Ultimate Guide". pyvt. 2020-09-21. Retrieved 2020-12-20. 17. ^ "Indiana Real Estate License Requirements". Mortgagenewsdaily.com. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 18. ^ "Arizona Real Estate Broker's License Requirements". Re.state.az.us. Retrieved 2014-02-10. 19. ^ "Professional Recognition of our Programs". Real Estate Division at Sauder, UBC. January 8, 2019. 20. ^ "Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC)". Thomson Reuters Canada Limited. Retrieved 8 January 2019. Listing (finance) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search In corporate finance, a listing refers to the company's shares being on the list (or board) of stock that are officially traded on a stock exchange. Some stock exchanges allow shares of a foreign company to be listed and may allow dual listing, subject to conditions. Normally the issuing company is the one that applies for a listing but in some countries[which?] an exchange can list a company, for instance because its stock is already being traded via informal channels. Stocks whose market value and/or turnover fall below critical levels may be delisted by the exchange. Delisting often arises from a merger or takeover, or the company going private. Contents 1 Requirements 1.1 Examples 2 Delisting 3 References 4 External links Requirements[edit] Each stock exchange has its own listing requirements or rules. Initial listing requirements usually include supplying a history of a few years of financial statements (not required for "alternative" markets targeting young firms); a sufficient size of the amount being placed among the general public (the free float), both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the total outstanding stock; an approved prospectus, usually including opinions from independent assessors, and so on. Examples[edit] The listing requirements imposed by some stock exchanges include: * New York Stock Exchange: the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) requires a company to have issued at least a million shares of stock worth $100 million and must have earned more than $10 million over the last three years.[1] * NASDAQ Stock Exchange: NASDAQ requires a company to have issued at least 1.25 million shares of stock worth at least $70 million and must have earned more than $11 million over the last three years.[2] * London Stock Exchange: the main market of the London Stock Exchange requires a minimum market capitalization (£700,000), three years of audited financial statements, minimum public float (25%) and sufficient working capital for at least 12 months from the date of listing. * Bombay Stock Exchange: Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) requires a minimum market capitalization of ₹250 million (US$3.5 million) and minimum public float equivalent to ₹100 million (US$1.4 million).[3] Delisting[edit] Delisting refers to the practice of removing the stock of a company from a stock exchange so that investors can no longer trade shares of the stock on that exchange. This typically occurs when a company goes out of business, declares bankruptcy, no longer satisfies the listing rules of the stock exchange, or has become a private company after a merger or acquisition, or wants to reduce regulatory reporting complexities and overhead, or if the stock volumes on the exchange from which it wishes to delist are not significant. Delisting does not necessarily mean a change in company's core strategy.[4] In the United States, securities which have been delisted from a major exchange for reasons other than going private or liquidating may be traded on over-the-counter markets like the OTC Bulletin Board or the Pink Sheets. References[edit] 1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-08-21. Retrieved 2020-03-16. 2. ^ "Applications, Notifications & Guides - Nasdaq Listing Center". nasdaq.com. 3. ^ "BSE Ltd. (Bombay Stock Exchange) - Live Stock Market Updates for S& BSE SENSEX, Stock Quotes & Corporate Information". bseindia.com. 4. ^ Allianz to delist from NYSE and European Exchanges External links[edit] * Nasdaq listing standards and fees 
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Car Cars and trucks driving on Highway 401 in Ontario, Canada Classification Vehicle Industry Various Application Transportation Fuel source Gasoline, diesel, natural gas, electric, hydrogen, solar, vegetable oil Powered Yes Self-propelled Yes Wheels 3–4 Axles 2 Inventor Karl Benz[1] Invented 1886 A car (or automobile) is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transportation. Most definitions of cars say that they run primarily on roads, seat one to eight people, have four wheels, and mainly transport people rather than goods.[2][3] Cars came into global use during the 20th century, and developed economies depend on them. The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the modern car when German inventor Karl Benz patented his Benz Patent-Motorwagen. Cars became widely available in the early 20th century. One of the first cars accessible to the masses was the 1908 Model T, an American car manufactured by the Ford Motor Company. Cars were rapidly adopted in the US, where they replaced animal-drawn carriages and carts, but took much longer to be accepted in Western Europe and other parts of the world.[citation needed] Cars have controls for driving, parking, passenger comfort, and a variety of lights. Over the decades, additional features and controls have been added to vehicles, making them progressively more complex, but also more reliable and easier to operate.[citation needed] These include rear-reversing cameras, air conditioning, navigation systems, and in-car entertainment. Most cars in use in the 2010s are propelled by an internal combustion engine, fueled by the combustion of fossil fuels. Electric cars, which were invented early in the history of the car, became commercially available in the 2000s and are predicted to cost less to buy than gasoline cars before 2025.[4][5] The transition from fossil fuels to electric cars features prominently in most climate change mitigation scenarios,[6] such as Project Drawdown's 100 actionable solutions for climate change.[7] There are costs and benefits to car use. The costs to the individual include acquiring the vehicle, interest payments (if the car is financed), repairs and maintenance, fuel, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance.[8] The costs to society include maintaining roads, land use, road congestion, air pollution, public health, healthcare, and disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life. Traffic collisions are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.[9] The personal benefits include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence, and convenience.[10] The societal benefits include economic benefits, such as job and wealth creation from the automotive industry, transportation provision, societal well-being from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the taxes. People's ability to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.[11] There are around 1 billion cars in use worldwide. The numbers are increasing rapidly, especially in China, India and other newly industrialized countries.[12] Contents 1 Etymology 2 History 3 Mass production 4 Fuel and propulsion technologies 5 User interface 6 Lighting 7 Weight 8 Seating and body style 9 Safety 10 Costs and benefits 11 Environmental impact 12 Emerging car technologies 12.1 Autonomous car 12.2 Open source development 12.3 Car sharing 13 Industry 14 Alternatives 15 Other meanings 16 See also 17 References 18 Further reading 19 External links Etymology The English word car is believed to originate from Latin carrus/carrum "wheeled vehicle" or (via Old North French) Middle English carre "two-wheeled cart," both of which in turn derive from Gaulish karros "chariot."[13][14] It originally referred to any wheeled horse-drawn vehicle, such as a cart, carriage, or wagon.[15][16] "Motor car," attested from 1895, is the usual formal term in British English.[3] "Autocar," a variant likewise attested from 1895 and literally meaning "self-propelled car," is now considered archaic.[17] "Horseless carriage" is attested from 1895.[18] "Automobile," a classical compound derived from Ancient Greek autós (αὐτός) "self" and Latin mobilis "movable," entered English from French and was first adopted by the Automobile Club of Great Britain in 1897.[19] It fell out of favour in Britain and is now used chiefly in North America,[20] where the abbreviated form "auto" commonly appears as an adjective in compound formations like "auto industry" and "auto mechanic".[21][22] Both forms are still used in everyday Dutch (auto/automobiel) and German (Auto/Automobil).[citation needed] History Main article: History of the automobile  Steam Machine Of Verbiest, In 1678. (Ferdinand Verbiest) The first working steam-powered vehicle was designed—and quite possibly built—by Ferdinand Verbiest, a Flemish member of a Jesuit mission in China around 1672. It was a 65-centimetre (26 in)-long scale-model toy for the Kangxi Emperor that was unable to carry a driver or a passenger.[10][23][24] It is not known with certainty if Verbiest's model was successfully built or run.[24]  Cugnot's 1771 fardier à vapeur, as preserved at the Musée des Arts et Métiers, Paris, France Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot is widely credited with building the first full-scale, self-propelled mechanical vehicle or car in about 1769; he created a steam-powered tricycle.[25] He also constructed two steam tractors for the French Army, one of which is preserved in the French National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts.[26] His inventions were, however, handicapped by problems with water supply and maintaining steam pressure.[26] In 1801, Richard Trevithick built and demonstrated his Puffing Devil road locomotive, believed by many to be the first demonstration of a steam-powered road vehicle. It was unable to maintain sufficient steam pressure for long periods and was of little practical use. The development of external combustion engines is detailed as part of the history of the car but often treated separately from the development of true cars. A variety of steam-powered road vehicles were used during the first part of the 19th century, including steam cars, steam buses, phaetons, and steam rollers. Sentiment against them led to the Locomotive Acts of 1865. In 1807, Nicéphore Niépce and his brother Claude created what was probably the world's first internal combustion engine (which they called a Pyréolophore), but they chose to install it in a boat on the river Saone in France.[27] Coincidentally, in 1807 the Swiss inventor François Isaac de Rivaz designed his own 'de Rivaz internal combustion engine' and used it to develop the world's first vehicle to be powered by such an engine. The Niépces' Pyréolophore was fuelled by a mixture of Lycopodium powder (dried spores of the Lycopodium plant), finely crushed coal dust and resin that were mixed with oil, whereas de Rivaz used a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen.[27] Neither design was very successful, as was the case with others, such as Samuel Brown, Samuel Morey, and Etienne Lenoir with his hippomobile, who each produced vehicles (usually adapted carriages or carts) powered by internal combustion engines.[1]  Gustave Trouvé's tricycle, the first ever electric automobile to be shown in public  Karl Benz, the inventor of the modern car In November 1881, French inventor Gustave Trouvé demonstrated the first working (three-wheeled) car powered by electricity at the International Exposition of Electricity, Paris.[28] Although several other German engineers (including Gottlieb Daimler, Wilhelm Maybach, and Siegfried Marcus) were working on the problem at about the same time, Karl Benz generally is acknowledged as the inventor of the modern car.[1]  The original Benz Patent-Motorwagen, first built in 1885 and awarded the patent for the concept In 1879, Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which had been designed in 1878. Many of his other inventions made the use of the internal combustion engine feasible for powering a vehicle. His first Motorwagen was built in 1885 in Mannheim, Germany. He was awarded the patent for its invention as of his application on 29 January 1886 (under the auspices of his major company, Benz & Cie., which was founded in 1883). Benz began promotion of the vehicle on 3 July 1886, and about 25 Benz vehicles were sold between 1888 and 1893, when his first four-wheeler was introduced along with a cheaper model. They also were powered with four-stroke engines of his own design. Emile Roger of France, already producing Benz engines under license, now added the Benz car to his line of products. Because France was more open to the early cars, initially more were built and sold in France through Roger than Benz sold in Germany. In August 1888 Bertha Benz, the wife of Karl Benz, undertook the first road trip by car, to prove the road-worthiness of her husband's invention.  Bertha Benz, the first long distance driver In 1896, Benz designed and patented the first internal-combustion flat engine, called boxermotor. During the last years of the nineteenth century, Benz was the largest car company in the world with 572 units produced in 1899 and, because of its size, Benz & Cie., became a joint-stock company. The first motor car in central Europe and one of the first factory-made cars in the world, was produced by Czech company Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau (later renamed to Tatra) in 1897, the Präsident automobil. Daimler and Maybach founded Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) in Cannstatt in 1890, and sold their first car in 1892 under the brand name Daimler. It was a horse-drawn stagecoach built by another manufacturer, which they retrofitted with an engine of their design. By 1895 about 30 vehicles had been built by Daimler and Maybach, either at the Daimler works or in the Hotel Hermann, where they set up shop after disputes with their backers. Benz, Maybach and the Daimler team seem to have been unaware of each other's early work. They never worked together; by the time of the merger of the two companies, Daimler and Maybach were no longer part of DMG. Daimler died in 1900 and later that year, Maybach designed an engine named Daimler-Mercedes that was placed in a specially ordered model built to specifications set by Emil Jellinek. This was a production of a small number of vehicles for Jellinek to race and market in his country. Two years later, in 1902, a new model DMG car was produced and the model was named Mercedes after the Maybach engine, which generated 35 hp. Maybach quit DMG shortly thereafter and opened a business of his own. Rights to the Daimler brand name were sold to other manufacturers. Karl Benz proposed co-operation between DMG and Benz & Cie. when economic conditions began to deteriorate in Germany following the First World War, but the directors of DMG refused to consider it initially. Negotiations between the two companies resumed several years later when these conditions worsened, and in 1924, they signed an Agreement of Mutual Interest, valid until the year 2000. Both enterprises standardized design, production, purchasing, and sales and they advertised or marketed their car models jointly, although keeping their respective brands. On 28 June 1926, Benz & Cie. and DMG finally merged as the Daimler-Benz company, baptizing all of its cars Mercedes Benz, as a brand honoring the most important model of the DMG cars, the Maybach design later referred to as the 1902 Mercedes-35 hp, along with the Benz name. Karl Benz remained a member of the board of directors of Daimler-Benz until his death in 1929, and at times, his two sons also participated in the management of the company.  Émile Levassor  Armand Peugeot In 1890, Émile Levassor and Armand Peugeot of France began producing vehicles with Daimler engines, and so laid the foundation of the automotive industry in France. In 1891, Auguste Doriot and his Peugeot colleague Louis Rigoulot completed the longest trip by a gasoline-powered vehicle when their self-designed and built Daimler powered Peugeot Type 3 completed 2,100 km (1,300 miles) from Valentigney to Paris and Brest and back again. They were attached to the first Paris–Brest–Paris bicycle race, but finished 6 days after the winning cyclist, Charles Terront. The first design for an American car with a gasoline internal combustion engine was made in 1877 by George Selden of Rochester, New York. Selden applied for a patent for a car in 1879, but the patent application expired because the vehicle was never built. After a delay of sixteen years and a series of attachments to his application, on 5 November 1895, Selden was granted a United States patent (U.S. Patent 549,160) for a two-stroke car engine, which hindered, more than encouraged, development of cars in the United States. His patent was challenged by Henry Ford and others, and overturned in 1911. In 1893, the first running, gasoline-powered American car was built and road-tested by the Duryea brothers of Springfield, Massachusetts. The first public run of the Duryea Motor Wagon took place on 21 September 1893, on Taylor Street in Metro Center Springfield.[29][30] The Studebaker Automobile Company, subsidiary of a long-established wagon and coach manufacturer, started to build cars in 1897[31]:p.66 and commenced sales of electric vehicles in 1902 and gasoline vehicles in 1904.[32] In Britain, there had been several attempts to build steam cars with varying degrees of success, with Thomas Rickett even attempting a production run in 1860.[33] Santler from Malvern is recognized by the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain as having made the first gasoline-powered car in the country in 1894,[34] followed by Frederick William Lanchester in 1895, but these were both one-offs.[34] The first production vehicles in Great Britain came from the Daimler Company, a company founded by Harry J. Lawson in 1896, after purchasing the right to use the name of the engines. Lawson's company made its first car in 1897, and they bore the name Daimler.[34] In 1892, German engineer Rudolf Diesel was granted a patent for a "New Rational Combustion Engine". In 1897, he built the first diesel engine.[1] Steam-, electric-, and gasoline-powered vehicles competed for decades, with gasoline internal combustion engines achieving dominance in the 1910s. Although various pistonless rotary engine designs have attempted to compete with the conventional piston and crankshaft design, only Mazda's version of the Wankel engine has had more than very limited success. All in all, it is estimated that over 100,000 patents created the modern automobile and motorcycle.[35] Mass production See also: Automotive industry  Ransom E. Olds founded Olds Motor Vehicle Company (Oldsmobile) in 1897  Henry Ford founded Ford Motor Company in 1903  1927 Ford Model T  Kiichiro Toyoda, president of the Toyota Motor Corporation 1941–1950  Mass production at a Toyota plant in the 1950s  The Toyota Corolla is the best-selling car of all-time Large-scale, production-line manufacturing of affordable cars was started by Ransom Olds in 1901 at his Oldsmobile factory in Lansing, Michigan and based upon stationary assembly line techniques pioneered by Marc Isambard Brunel at the Portsmouth Block Mills, England, in 1802. The assembly line style of mass production and interchangeable parts had been pioneered in the U.S. by Thomas Blanchard in 1821, at the Springfield Armory in Springfield, Massachusetts.[36] This concept was greatly expanded by Henry Ford, beginning in 1913 with the world's first moving assembly line for cars at the Highland Park Ford Plant. As a result, Ford's cars came off the line in fifteen-minute intervals, much faster than previous methods, increasing productivity eightfold, while using less manpower (from 12.5-man-hours to 1 hour 33 minutes).[37] It was so successful, paint became a bottleneck. Only Japan black would dry fast enough, forcing the company to drop the variety of colors available before 1913, until fast-drying Duco lacquer was developed in 1926. This is the source of Ford's apocryphal remark, "any color as long as it's black".[37] In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay.[37] Ford's complex safety procedures—especially assigning each worker to a specific location instead of allowing them to roam about—dramatically reduced the rate of injury.[citation needed] The combination of high wages and high efficiency is called "Fordism," and was copied by most major industries. The efficiency gains from the assembly line also coincided with the economic rise of the United States. The assembly line forced workers to work at a certain pace with very repetitive motions which led to more output per worker while other countries were using less productive methods. In the automotive industry, its success was dominating, and quickly spread worldwide seeing the founding of Ford France and Ford Britain in 1911, Ford Denmark 1923, Ford Germany 1925; in 1921, Citroen was the first native European manufacturer to adopt the production method. Soon, companies had to have assembly lines, or risk going broke; by 1930, 250 companies which did not, had disappeared.[37] Development of automotive technology was rapid, due in part to the hundreds of small manufacturers competing to gain the world's attention. Key developments included electric ignition and the electric self-starter (both by Charles Kettering, for the Cadillac Motor Company in 1910–1911), independent suspension, and four-wheel brakes. Since the 1920s, nearly all cars have been mass-produced to meet market needs, so marketing plans often have heavily influenced car design. It was Alfred P. Sloan who established the idea of different makes of cars produced by one company, called the General Motors Companion Make Program, so that buyers could "move up" as their fortunes improved. Reflecting the rapid pace of change, makes shared parts with one another so larger production volume resulted in lower costs for each price range. For example, in the 1930s, LaSalles, sold by Cadillac, used cheaper mechanical parts made by Oldsmobile; in the 1950s, Chevrolet shared hood, doors, roof, and windows with Pontiac; by the 1990s, corporate powertrains and shared platforms (with interchangeable brakes, suspension, and other parts) were common. Even so, only major makers could afford high costs, and even companies with decades of production, such as Apperson, Cole, Dorris, Haynes, or Premier, could not manage: of some two hundred American car makers in existence in 1920, only 43 survived in 1930, and with the Great Depression, by 1940, only 17 of those were left.[37] In Europe, much the same would happen. Morris set up its production line at Cowley in 1924, and soon outsold Ford, while beginning in 1923 to follow Ford's practice of vertical integration, buying Hotchkiss (engines), Wrigley (gearboxes), and Osberton (radiators), for instance, as well as competitors, such as Wolseley: in 1925, Morris had 41% of total British car production. Most British small-car assemblers, from Abbey to Xtra, had gone under. Citroen did the same in France, coming to cars in 1919; between them and other cheap cars in reply such as Renault's 10CV and Peugeot's 5CV, they produced 550,000 cars in 1925, and Mors, Hurtu, and others could not compete.[37] Germany's first mass-manufactured car, the Opel 4PS Laubfrosch (Tree Frog), came off the line at Russelsheim in 1924, soon making Opel the top car builder in Germany, with 37.5% of the market.[37] In Japan, car production was very limited before World War II. Only a handful of companies were producing vehicles in limited numbers, and these were small, three-wheeled for commercial uses, like Daihatsu, or were the result of partnering with European companies, like Isuzu building the Wolseley A-9 in 1922. Mitsubishi was also partnered with Fiat and built the Mitsubishi Model A based on a Fiat vehicle. Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki, Mazda, and Honda began as companies producing non-automotive products before the war, switching to car production during the 1950s. Kiichiro Toyoda's decision to take Toyoda Loom Works into automobile manufacturing would create what would eventually become Toyota Motor Corporation, the largest automobile manufacturer in the world. Subaru, meanwhile, was formed from a conglomerate of six companies who banded together as Fuji Heavy Industries, as a result of having been broken up under keiretsu legislation. Fuel and propulsion technologies See also: Alternative fuel vehicle  The Nissan Leaf is an all-electric car launched in December 2010 The transport sector is a major contributor to air pollution, noise pollution and climate change.[38] Most cars in use in the 2010s run on gasoline burnt in an internal combustion engine (ICE). The International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers says that, in countries that mandate low sulfur gasoline, gasoline-fuelled cars built to late 2010s standards (such as Euro-6) emit very little local air pollution.[39][40] Some cities ban older gasoline-fuelled cars and some countries plan to ban sales in future. However some environmental groups say this phase-out of fossil fuel vehicles must be brought forward to limit climate change. Production of gasoline fueled cars peaked in 2017.[41][42] Other hydrocarbon fossil fuels also burnt by deflagration (rather than detonation) in ICE cars include diesel, Autogas and CNG. Removal of fossil fuel subsidies,[43][44] concerns about oil dependence, tightening environmental laws and restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions are propelling work on alternative power systems for cars. This includes hybrid vehicles, plug-in electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. 2.1 million light electric vehicles (of all types but mainly cars) were sold in 2018, over half in China: this was an increase of 64% on the previous year, giving a global total on the road of 5.4 million.[45] Vehicles using alternative fuels such as ethanol flexible-fuel vehicles and natural gas vehicles[clarification needed] are also gaining popularity in some countries.[citation needed] Cars for racing or speed records have sometimes employed jet or rocket engines, but these are impractical for common use. Oil consumption has increased rapidly in the 20th and 21st centuries because there are more cars; the 1985–2003 oil glut even fuelled the sales of low-economy vehicles in OECD countries. The BRIC countries are adding to this consumption. User interface See also: Car controls  In the Ford Model T the left-side hand lever sets the rear wheel parking brakes and puts the transmission in neutral. The lever to the right controls the throttle. The lever on the left of the steering column is for ignition timing. The left foot pedal changes the two forward gears while the centre pedal controls reverse. The right pedal is the brake. Cars are equipped with controls used for driving, passenger comfort, and safety, normally operated by a combination of the use of feet and hands, and occasionally by voice on 21st-century cars. These controls include a steering wheel, pedals for operating the brakes and controlling the car's speed (and, in a manual transmission car, a clutch pedal), a shift lever or stick for changing gears, and a number of buttons and dials for turning on lights, ventilation, and other functions. Modern cars' controls are now standardized, such as the location for the accelerator and brake, but this was not always the case. Controls are evolving in response to new technologies, for example, the electric car and the integration of mobile communications. Some of the original controls are no longer required. For example, all cars once had controls for the choke valve, clutch, ignition timing, and a crank instead of an electric starter. However new controls have also been added to vehicles, making them more complex. These include air conditioning, navigation systems, and in car entertainment. Another trend is the replacement of physical knobs and switches by secondary controls with touchscreen controls such as BMW's iDrive and Ford's MyFord Touch. Another change is that while early cars' pedals were physically linked to the brake mechanism and throttle, in the 2010s, cars have increasingly replaced these physical linkages with electronic controls. Lighting Main article: Automotive lighting  LED daytime running lights on an Audi A4 Cars are typically fitted with multiple types of lights. These include headlights, which are used to illuminate the way ahead and make the car visible to other users, so that the vehicle can be used at night; in some jurisdictions, daytime running lights; red brake lights to indicate when the brakes are applied; amber turn signal lights to indicate the turn intentions of the driver; white-colored reverse lights to illuminate the area behind the car (and indicate that the driver will be or is reversing); and on some vehicles, additional lights (e.g., side marker lights) to increase the visibility of the car. Interior lights on the ceiling of the car are usually fitted for the driver and passengers. Some vehicles also have a trunk light and, more rarely, an engine compartment light. Weight  The Smart Fortwo car from 1998 to 2002, weighing 730 kg (1,610 lb)  A Chevrolet Suburban extended-length SUV weighs 3,300 kg (7,200 lb) (gross weight)[46] During the late 20th and early 21st century cars increased in weight due to batteries,[47] modern steel safety cages, anti-lock brakes, airbags, and "more-powerful—if more-efficient—engines"[48] and, as of 2019, typically weigh between 1 and 3 tonnes.[49] Heavier cars are safer for the driver from a crash perspective, but more dangerous for other vehicles and road users.[48] The weight of a car influences fuel consumption and performance, with more weight resulting in increased fuel consumption and decreased performance. The SmartFortwo, a small city car, weighs 750–795 kg (1,655–1,755 lb). Heavier cars include full-size cars, SUVs and extended-length SUVs like the Suburban. According to research conducted by Julian Allwood of the University of Cambridge, global energy use could be greatly reduced by using lighter cars, and an average weight of 500 kg (1,100 lb) has been said to be well achievable.[50][better source needed] In some competitions such as the Shell Eco Marathon, average car weights of 45 kg (99 lb) have also been achieved.[51] These cars are only single-seaters (still falling within the definition of a car, although 4-seater cars are more common), but they nevertheless demonstrate the amount by which car weights could still be reduced, and the subsequent lower fuel use (i.e. up to a fuel use of 2560 km/l).[52] Seating and body style See also: Car body style, Car classification, Truck classification, and Vehicle size class Most cars are designed to carry multiple occupants, often with four or five seats. Cars with five seats typically seat two passengers in the front and three in the rear. Full-size cars and large sport utility vehicles can often carry six, seven, or more occupants depending on the arrangement of the seats. On the other hand, sports cars are most often designed with only two seats. The differing needs for passenger capacity and their luggage or cargo space has resulted in the availability of a large variety of body styles to meet individual consumer requirements that include, among others, the sedan/saloon, hatchback, station wagon/estate, and minivan. Safety Main articles: Car safety, Traffic collision, Low speed vehicle, and Epidemiology of motor vehicle collisions  Result of a serious car collision Traffic collisions are the largest cause of injury-related deaths worldwide.[9] Mary Ward became one of the first documented car fatalities in 1869 in Parsonstown, Ireland,[53] and Henry Bliss one of the United States' first pedestrian car casualties in 1899 in New York City.[54] There are now standard tests for safety in new cars, such as the EuroNCAP and the US NCAP tests,[55] and insurance-industry-backed tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).[56] Costs and benefits Main articles: Economics of car usage, Car costs, and Effects of the car on societies  Road congestion is an issue in many major cities. (pictured is Chang'an Avenue in Beijing)[57] The costs of car usage, which may include the cost of: acquiring the vehicle, repairs and auto maintenance, fuel, depreciation, driving time, parking fees, taxes, and insurance,[8] are weighed against the cost of the alternatives, and the value of the benefits – perceived and real – of vehicle usage. The benefits may include on-demand transportation, mobility, independence and convenience.[10] During the 1920s, cars had another benefit: "[c]ouples finally had a way to head off on unchaperoned dates, plus they had a private space to snuggle up close at the end of the night."[58] Similarly the costs to society of car use may include; maintaining roads, land use, air pollution, road congestion, public health, health care, and of disposing of the vehicle at the end of its life; and can be balanced against the value of the benefits to society that car use generates. Societal benefits may include: economy benefits, such as job and wealth creation, of car production and maintenance, transportation provision, society wellbeing derived from leisure and travel opportunities, and revenue generation from the tax opportunities. The ability of humans to move flexibly from place to place has far-reaching implications for the nature of societies.[11] Environmental impact See also: Exhaust gas, Waste tires, Environmental impact of transport, Motor vehicle emissions and pregnancy, Noise pollution, Environmental aspects of the electric car, Vehicle recycling, and Externalities of automobiles  Vehicles in use per country from 2001 to 2007. It shows the significant growth in BRIC. Cars are a major cause of urban air pollution,[59] with all types of cars producing dust from brakes, tyres and road wear.[60] As of 2018 the average diesel car has a worse effect on air quality than the average gasoline car[61] But both gasoline and diesel cars pollute more than electric cars.[62] While there are different ways to power cars most rely on gasoline or diesel, and they consume almost a quarter of world oil production as of 2019.[41] In 2018 passenger road vehicles emitted 3.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.[63] As of 2019, due to greenhouse gases emitted during battery production, electric cars must be driven tens of thousands of kilometers before their lifecycle carbon emissions are less than fossil fuel cars:[64] but this is expected to improve in future due to longer lasting[65] batteries being produced in larger factories,[66] and lower carbon electricity. Many governments are using fiscal policies, such as road tax, to discourage the purchase and use of more polluting cars;[67] and many cities are doing the same with low-emission zones.[68] Fuel taxes may act as an incentive for the production of more efficient, hence less polluting, car designs (e.g. hybrid vehicles) and the development of alternative fuels. High fuel taxes or cultural change may provide a strong incentive for consumers to purchase lighter, smaller, more fuel-efficient cars, or to not drive.[68] The lifetime of a car built in the 2020s is expected to be about 16 years, or about 2 million kilometres (1.2 million miles) if driven a lot.[69] According to the International Energy Agency fuel economy improved 0.7% in 2017, but an annual improvement of 3.7% is needed to meet the Global Fuel Economy Initiative 2030 target.[70] The increase in sales of SUVs is bad for fuel economy.[41] Many cities in Europe, have banned older fossil fuel cars and all fossil fuel vehicles will be banned in Amsterdam from 2030.[71] Many Chinese cities limit licensing of fossil fuel cars,[72] and many countries plan to stop selling them between 2025 and 2050.[73] The manufacture of vehicles is resource intensive, and many manufacturers now report on the environmental performance of their factories, including energy usage, waste and water consumption.[74] Manufacturing each kWh of battery emits a similar amount of carbon as burning through one full tank of gasoline.[75] The growth in popularity of the car allowed cities to sprawl, therefore encouraging more travel by car resulting in inactivity and obesity, which in turn can lead to increased risk of a variety of diseases.[76] Animals and plants are often negatively impacted by cars via habitat destruction and pollution. Over the lifetime of the average car the "loss of habitat potential" may be over 50,000 m2 (540,000 sq ft) based on primary production correlations.[77] Animals are also killed every year on roads by cars, referred to as roadkill. More recent road developments are including significant environmental mitigation in their designs, such as green bridges (designed to allow wildlife crossings) and creating wildlife corridors. Growth in the popularity of vehicles and commuting has led to traffic congestion. Moscow, Istanbul, Bogota, Mexico City and Sao Paulo were the world's most congested cities in 2018 according to INRIX, a data analytics company.[78] Emerging car technologies Although intensive development of conventional battery electric vehicles is continuing into the 2020s,[79] other car propulsion technologies that are under development include wheel hub motors,[80] wireless charging,[81] hydrogen cars,[82] and hydrogen/electric hybrids.[83] Research into alternative forms of power includes using ammonia instead of hydrogen in fuel cells.[84] New materials[85] which may replace steel car bodies include duralumin, fiberglass, carbon fiber, biocomposites, and carbon nanotubes. Telematics technology is allowing more and more people to share cars, on a pay-as-you-go basis, through car share and carpool schemes. Communication is also evolving due to connected car systems.[86] Autonomous car Main article: Autonomous car This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2019)  A robotic Volkswagen Passat shown at Stanford University is a driverless car Fully autonomous vehicles, also known as driverless cars, already exist in prototype (such as the Google driverless car), but have a long way to go before they are in general use. Open source development Main article: Open source car There have been several projects aiming to develop a car on the principles of open design, an approach to designing in which the plans for the machinery and systems are publicly shared, often without monetary compensation. The projects include OScar, Riversimple (through 40fires.org)[87] and c,mm,n.[88] None of the projects have reached significant success in terms of developing a car as a whole both from hardware and software perspective and no mass production ready open-source based design have been introduced as of late 2009. Some car hacking through on-board diagnostics (OBD) has been done so far.[89] Car sharing Car-share arrangements and carpooling are also increasingly popular, in the US and Europe.[90] For example, in the US, some car-sharing services have experienced double-digit growth in revenue and membership growth between 2006 and 2007. Services like car sharing offering a residents to "share" a vehicle rather than own a car in already congested neighborhoods.[91] Industry Main article: Automotive industry This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (March 2019)  A car being assembled in a factory The automotive industry designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and sells the world's motor vehicles, more than three-quarters of which are cars. In 2018 there were 70 million cars manufactured worldwide,[92] down 2 million from the previous year.[93] The automotive industry in China produces by far the most (24 million in 2018), followed by Japan (8 million), Germany (5 million) and India (4 million).[92] The largest market is China, followed by the USA. Around the world there are about a billion cars on the road;[94] they burn over a trillion liters of gasoline and diesel fuel yearly, consuming about 50 EJ (nearly 300 terawatt-hours) of energy.[95] The numbers of cars are increasing rapidly in China and India.[12] In the opinion of some, urban transport systems based around the car have proved unsustainable, consuming excessive energy, affecting the health of populations, and delivering a declining level of service despite increasing investment. Many of these negative impacts fall disproportionately on those social groups who are also least likely to own and drive cars.[96][97] The sustainable transport movement focuses on solutions to these problems. The car industry is also facing increasing competition from the public transport sector, as some people re-evaluate their private vehicle usage. Alternatives Main article: Alternatives to car use  The Vélib' in Paris, France is the largest bikesharing system outside China[98] Established alternatives for some aspects of car use include public transport such as buses, trolleybuses, trains, subways, tramways, light rail, cycling, and walking. Bicycle sharing systems have been established in China and many European cities, including Copenhagen and Amsterdam. Similar programs have been developed in large US cities.[99][100] Additional individual modes of transport, such as personal rapid transit could serve as an alternative to cars if they prove to be socially accepted.[101] Other meanings The term motorcar was formerly also used in the context of electrified rail systems to denote a car which functions as a small locomotive but also provides space for passengers and baggage. These locomotive cars were often used on suburban routes by both interurban and intercity railroad systems.[102] See also Cars portal Main article: Outline of automobiles General: • Automobile safety • Car classification • Car costs • Green vehicle • Jaywalking • Motor vehicle fatality rate in U.S. by year • Motor vehicle theft • Peak car • Steering • Traffic collision Effects: • Automobile dependency • Effects of the car on societies • Environmental impact of transport • Externalities of automobiles • Fenceline community • Mobile source air pollution • Noise pollution • Roadway noise • Traffic congestion • Urban decay • Urban sprawl Mitigation: • Car-free movement • Carfree city • Congestion pricing • Highway revolts • New Urbanism • Smart Growth • Transit Oriented Development References 1. ^ Jump up to:
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a b "2018 Production Statistics". International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. 93. ^ "2017 Production Statistics". International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. 94. ^ "PC World Vehicles in Use" (PDF). International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 95. ^ "Global Transportation Energy Consumption: Examination of Scenarios to 2040 using ITEDD" (PDF). Energy Information Administration. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 96. ^ World Health Organisation, Europe. "Health effects of transport". Retrieved 29 August 2008. 97. ^ "GLOBAL ACTION FOR HEALTHY STREETS: ANNUAL REPORT 2018" (PDF). FiA Foundation. Retrieved 16 March 2019. 98. ^ Larsen, Janet (25 April 2013). "Bike-Sharing Programs Hit the Streets in Over 500 Cities Worldwide". Earth Policy Institute. Retrieved 29 April 2013. 99. ^ "About Bike Share Programs". Tech Bikes MIT. Archived from the original on 20 December 2007. Retrieved 17 August 2019. 100. ^ Cambell, Charlie (2 April 2018). "The Trouble with Sharing: China's Bike Fever Has Reached Saturation Point". Time. Retrieved 18 August 2019. 101. ^ Kay, Jane Holtz (1998). Asphalt Nation: how the automobile took over America, and how we can take it back. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-21620-2. 102. ^ "atchison_177". Laparks.org. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 13 February 2011. Further reading * Halberstam, David (1986). The Reckoning. New York: Morrow. ISBN 0-688-04838-2. * Kay, Jane Holtz (1997). Asphalt nation : how the automobile took over America, and how we can take it back. New York: Crown. ISBN 0-517-58702-5. * Williams, Heathcote (1991). Autogeddon. New York: Arcade. ISBN 1-55970-176-5. * Sachs, Wolfgang (1992). For love of the automobile: looking back into the history of our desires. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06878-5. * Margolius, Ivan (2020). "What is an automobile?". The Automobile. 37 (11): 48–52. ISSN 0955-1328. External links Wikiquote has quotations related to: Car Wikisource has original text related to this article: California AB 1493 Look up car in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. * •  Media related to Automobiles at Wikimedia Commons * Automobile at the Encyclopædia Britannica * Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile * Forum for the Automobile and Society show • vte Car interior show • vte Car design show • vte Automotive design show • vte Internal combustion engine show • vte Powertrain show • vte Chassis control system show • vte Automotive industry show • vte Private transport Authority control  • BNE: XX525492GND: 4129315-0HDS: 013901LCCN: sh85010201LNB: 000055411NARA: 10640181NDL: 00574667 * Categories: CarsWheeled vehiclesGerman inventions19th-century inventions   Driven! 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7 The first mention of a product called bitcoin was in August 2008 when two programmers using the names Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi registered a new domain, bitcoin.org. In October of the same year, Nakamoto released a document, called a white paper, entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” In the preceding months, Nakamoto and a group of volunteer researchers had proposed different versions of the concept in forums and email threads. It was in 2008 that it all came together.  The Bitcoin White Paper Source: Satoshi Nakamoto This paper laid out principles of Bitcoin, an electronic payment system that would eliminate the need for any central authority while ensuring secure, verifiable transactions. In short, the document described a new form of currency, one that allowed for trustless payments on the web – that is, they require a minimal amount or even no trust between parties. In other words, the system allowed two users who didn’t know or trust each other to exchange money in the same way they could pass cash back and forth. The system also allowed users to confirm messages, transactions and data using a tool called public key encryption, eliminating any need to disclose their identities to transaction partners or third parties. Pseudonymity, in this case, was a byproduct but not a primary feature. In January 2009, the first bitcoin currency transaction occurred between two computers owned by Nakamoto and the late Hal Finney, a developer and an early cryptocurrency enthusiast.  To this day, no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto really is. Even a man named Dorian Nakamoto was erroneously named as Bitcoin’s creator by a Newsweek reporter in 2014.  Dorian Nakamoto wasn't Satoshi. Source: Newsweeklied.com In the end, however, because of the decentralized nature of the platform, it is not considered important to know who Satoshi Nakamoto is. Bitcoin Up Close Bitcoins aren’t printed, like dollars or euros – they’re produced by computers all around the world using free software and held electronically in programs called wallets. The smallest unit of a bitcoin is called a satoshi. It is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin (0.00000001). This enables microtransactions that traditional electronic money cannot perform. Bitcoin, often abbreviated by the ticker symbol BTC, was the first example of what we now call a cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrencies are a growing asset class that shares some characteristics with traditional currencies except they are purely digital, and creation and ownership verification is based on cryptography. Generally the term “bitcoin” has two possible interpretations. There’s bitcoin the token, which refers to the keys to a unit of the digital currency that users own and trade. A bitcoin token is held in a bitcoin wallet that is identified by a string of numbers and letters such as “1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa.” When someone wants to send you bitcoin, that person will send it to your particular, public wallet address, and you will access it via your private keys.  Then there’s Bitcoin the protocol, a distributed ledger that maintains the balances of all token trading. These ledgers are massive files stored on thousands of computers around the world. The network records each transaction onto these ledgers and then propagates them to all of the other ledgers on the network. Once all of the networks agree that they have recorded all of the correct information – including additional data added to a transaction that allows the network to store data immutably – the network permanently confirms the transaction.  Bitcoin can be used to pay for things electronically, if both parties are willing. In that sense it’s like conventional dollars, euros or yen, which can also be traded digitally using ledgers owned by centralized banks. Unlike payment services such as PayPal or credit cards, however, once you send a bitcoin, the transaction is irreversible – it cannot be called back.  That said, bitcoin does not depend on a centralized system of banking. Because each node on the network is owned by a private entity, the entire network is responsible for maintaining the accuracy of the ledger. When you send a bitcoin – or a fraction of a bitcoin – to another person, the entire network takes part. This process is called decentralization, one of the Bitcoin network’s most important characteristics. No single institution controls the bitcoin network. The protocol is maintained by a group of volunteer coders, and run by an open network of dedicated computers around the world.  Since there is no central validator in this network, users do not need to identify themselves when sending bitcoin to others. When a sender initiates a transaction, the protocol checks all previous transactions to confirm the sender has the necessary bitcoin as well as the authority to send them. Put another way, bitcoin users theoretically operate in semi-anonymity and the network is self-policing, ensuring that bad actors cannot be rewarded.  Bitcoin is also pseudo-anonymous. In practice, each user is identified by the address of his or her wallet, which can be used to track transactions. Law enforcement has also developed methods to identify users if necessary. Most exchanges are required by law to perform identity checks on their customers before they are allowed to buy or sell bitcoin. This means an exchange-assigned wallet address is most likely connected to a particular user. However, cryptocurrency wallets are not limited to exchanges or other online services, and a wallet generated by an anonymous user on a single computer is fairly difficult to trace. Further, every transaction on the network is fully transparent, a fact that concerns some privacy advocates. Ultimately, tracing a bitcoin transaction to a specific person is difficult but not impossible, and any statements describing the “anonymity” of bitcoin are inaccurate.  Source: Shutterstock Since the network is transparent, the progress of a particular transaction is visible to all. Once that transaction is confirmed, it cannot be reversed. This means any transaction on the bitcoin network cannot be tampered with, making it immune to hackers. Most bitcoin hacks happen at the wallet level, with hackers stealing the keys to hoards of bitcoins rather than affecting the Bitcoin protocol itself. Another attribute of bitcoin that takes away the need for central banks is that its supply is tightly controlled by the underlying algorithm. With fiat currencies (dollars, euros, yen, etc.), central banks can issue as many currency units as they want and can attempt to manipulate a currency’s value relative to others. Holders of the currency, especially citizens with little alternative, bear the cost. With bitcoin, a small number of new coins trickle out every hour, and will continue to do so at a diminishing rate until a maximum of 21 million has been reached. This makes bitcoin more attractive as an asset: in theory, if demand grows and the supply remains the same, the value will increase. Generally, the value of bitcoin has risen greatly since its inception, peaking in December 2017 at a price of $19,783.06 (in U.S. dollars). On Nov. 30, 2020, the price briefly rose above that mark to $19,850.11. The actual price of a decentralized asset like bitcoin isn’t strictly defined. Different services and exchanges may quote different prices for bitcoin at any given time, accounted for by discrepancies in asset liquidity, slippage and other factors. CoinDesk uses its own Bitcoin Price Index (BPI), which represents an average of bitcoin prices across leading global exchanges. Roughly every four years, the amount of bitcoin that miners can earn in the network will be halved, potentially driving up the asset’s price. Such an event is called bitcoin halving (the most recent one happened in May 2020). By Noelle Acheson, John Biggs and Hoa Nguyen DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 02 How Can I Buy Bitcoin? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jan 7, 2021 at 3:15 p.m. So you’ve learned the basics of bitcoin, now you’re excited about its potential and want to buy some. But how? Bitcoin can be bought on exchanges or directly from other people via marketplaces. You can purchase bitcoin in a variety of ways, using anything from hard cash to credit and debit cards to wire transfers, or even other cryptocurrencies, depending on who you are buying them from and where you live. The first step is to set up a wallet to store your bitcoin – you will need one, whether you’re buying bitcoin online or with cash. This could be an online wallet (either part of an exchange platform, or via an independent provider), a desktop wallet, a mobile wallet or an offline one (such as a hardware device or a paper wallet). You can find more information on some of the wallets out there, as well as tips on how to use them, here and here. The most important part of any wallet is keeping your keys and/or passwords safe. If you lose them, you lose access to the bitcoin stored there. In addition, never invest more than you can afford to lose – cryptocurrencies are volatile and their prices could go down as well as up. If you want to buy bitcoin online, you can open an account at a cryptocurrency exchange that will buy and sell bitcoin on your behalf. There are hundreds currently operating, with varying degrees of liquidity and security, and new ones continue to emerge while others end up closing down due to hacking. As with wallets, it is advisable to do some research before choosing – you may be lucky enough to have several reputable exchanges to choose from, or there might just be one or two based on your geographical area. High-volume exchanges include Coinbase, Bitfinex, Bitstamp and Poloniex. For small amounts, most reputable exchanges should work well.  With the clampdown on know-your-client (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) regulation, many exchanges now require verified identification for account setup. This usually includes a photo of your official ID, and sometimes also a proof of address. Most exchanges accept payments via bank transfers or credit cards, and some are willing to work with Paypal transfers. They typically charge fees for each transaction, which include the cost for using the bitcoin network. A bitcoin transaction takes anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days to process, depending on the traffic in the network as well as the fee attached to that transaction. Once the exchange has received payment, it will purchase the corresponding amount of bitcoin on your behalf, and deposit them in an automatically generated wallet on the exchange. You should then move the funds to your off-exchange wallet.  BATMTwo Bitcoin ATM Source: Bitcoin ATM If you prefer to buy bitcoin with cash, platforms such as LocalBitcoins will help find individuals near you who are willing to exchange bitcoin for cash. Also, LibertyX lists retail outlets across the United States at which you can exchange cash for bitcoin. And WallofCoins, Paxful and BitQuick will direct you to a bank branch near you that will allow you to make a cash deposit and receive bitcoin a few hours later.  Localbitcoin coverage Source: LocalBitcoins.com Bitcoin ATMs are machines that will send bitcoin to your wallet in exchange for cash. They operate in a similar way to bank ATMs – you feed in the bills, hold your wallet’s QR code up to a screen, and the corresponding amount of bitcoin is beamed to your account. Coinatmradar can help you to find a bitcoin ATM near you. (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) By Noelle Acheson, John Biggs and Hoa Nguyen DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 03 Why Use Bitcoin? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Sep 4, 2020 at 1:14 p.m. Satoshi Nakamoto originally created Bitcoin as an alternative, decentralized payment method. Unlike international bank transfers, it was low-cost and almost instantaneous.  An added advantage for merchants (less so for users) was that it was irreversible, removing the threat of expensive charge-backs. In return, consumers benefit from a wider selection of merchants both domestic and international without worrying about exchange fees. Moreover, the details of their transactions are encrypted which protects their personal data.  The improvement in domestic payment methods and the rapid development of alternative (non-cryptocurrency) forms of international transfers, however, has reduced bitcoin’s advantage in this area, especially given its increasing fees and frequent network bottlenecks.  payments Source: Shutterstock Furthermore, the increasing oversight and regulation to prevent money laundering and illegal transactions have restricted the cryptocurrency’s use for privacy reasons. In some parts of the world, bitcoin is still a more efficient and cheaper way to transfer money across borders, and several remittance startups make use of this feature. Last year, Coinbase added cross-border transfers and custody services for high-volume clients in Asia and Europe. A recent partnership between crypto exchange Bitex and Uruguay-based banking service provider Bantotal now facilitates direct bitcoin payments across 60 banks in Latin America.  Bitcoin’s cost and speed advantages, though, are being eroded as traditional channels improve and the network’s fees continue to increase and availability remains a problem in many countries. Also, a number of large and small retailers accept the cryptocurrency as a form of payment, although reports suggest that demand for this function is not high. And many individuals feel more comfortable holding a part of their wealth in securely-stored bitcoin wallets, where a central authority cannot block access or take a cut. Since the coronavirus lockdown began in March, we’ve witnessed a surge in demand for bitcoin wallets as users search for alternative self-custody solutions. The pandemic has also seemed to accelerate the widespread adoption of blockchain technology, as more and more businesses, payments companies and e-commerce marketplaces turn to digital currencies, especially stablecoins.  Recently bitcoin seems to have assumed the role of investment asset, as traders, institutional investors and small savers have woken up to the potential gains from price appreciation. According to some sources, bitcoin is increasingly being used for money laundering. But blockchain analytics startups and crypto tracing firms are rolling out new tools to help exchanges comply with anti-money laundering standards. And anyway, bitcoin is not, as is commonly believed, a good vehicle for money laundering, extorsion or terrorism financing, since it is both traceable and transparent – as a spate of recent arrests can attest. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 04 How to Store Your Bitcoin Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Apr 6, 2021 at 5:43 p.m. Before holding any bitcoin, you need somewhere to store it. Just like in the physical world, you store your bitcoin in a wallet.  Similar to a bank account number, your wallet comes with a wallet address that shows up in a ledger search and is shared with others so you can make transactions. This address, which is a shorter, more usable version of your public key, consists of between 26 and 35 random alphanumeric characters, something like 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa. Keep in mind that every letter and number in that address is important. Before sending any bitcoin to your wallet, double-check the entire address, character by character.   Also tied to your wallet address is one or more private keys, which as the name suggests should not be shared with anyone. Keys are used to verify you own the aforementioned public key, and to sign off on transactions. Some wallets create a secure seed phrase, a set of words that will allow you to unlock your wallet if you lose your keys. Print this phrase out and keep it in a safe place.  Source: Shutterstock The unfortunate truth is your bitcoin wallet is akin to your physical wallet. If you lose the private keys to your wallet, you’re most likely going to lose the currency in it forever.  Your wallet generates a master file where your public and private keys are stored. This file should be backed up in case the original file is lost or damaged. Otherwise, you risk losing access to your funds. You can store your private keys on your computer, mobile device, on a physical storage gadget or even on a piece of paper. It’s crucial that you keep your private keys safe by generating backups both online and offline. Remember: Your wallet does not reside on any single device. The wallet itself resides on the Bitcoin blockchain, just as your banking app doesn’t truly “hold” the cash in your checking account. While wallet apps work well and are relatively safe, the safest option is a hardware wallet you keep offline, in a secure place. The most popular hardware wallets use special layers of security to ensure your keys are not stolen and your bitcoin is safe. But, once again, if you lose the hardware wallet your bitcoins are gone unless you have kept reliable backups of the keys. The least-secure option is an online wallet, i.e. storing your bitcoin in an exchange. This is because the keys are held by a third party. For many, the online exchange wallets are the easiest to set up and use, presenting an all-too-familiar choice: convenience versus safety. Many serious bitcoin investors use a hybrid approach: They hold a core, long-term amount of bitcoin offline in so-called “cold storage,” while keeping a spending balance in a mobile account.  Depending on your bitcoin strategy and willingness to get technical, here are the different types of bitcoin wallets available. Bitcoin.org has a helper that will show you which wallet to choose.  Source: Shutterstock Cloud wallets exist online and the keys are usually stored in a distant server run by a third party. Cloud-based wallets tend to have a more user-friendly interface but you will be trusting a third party with your private keys, which makes your funds more susceptible to theft. Some examples of this wallet type are Coinbase, Blockchain and Lumi Wallet. Most cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, have their own native wallets. Some offer additional security features such as offline storage (Coinbase and Xapo). With your private keys stored on a server, you have to trust the host’s security measures and also trust the host won’t disappear with your money or close down and deny you access. Software wallets can be installed directly on your computer, giving you private control of your keys. Most have relatively easy configuration and are free. The disadvantage is you are in charge of securing your keys. Software wallets also require greater security precautions. If your computer is hacked or stolen, the thief can get a copy of your wallet and your bitcoin. While you can download the original software Bitcoin Core protocol (which stores a ledger of all transactions since 2009 and takes up a lot of space), most wallets in use today are “light” wallets, or SPV (Simplified Payment Verification) wallets, which do not download the entire ledger but sync to it.  Electrum is a well-known SPV desktop bitcoin wallet that also offers “cold storage” (a totally offline option for additional security). Exodus can track multiple assets with a sophisticated user interface. Some (such as Jaxx Liberty) can hold a wide range of digital assets, and some (such as Copay) offer the possibility of shared accounts. Before downloading any app, please confirm you are downloading a legitimate copy of a real wallet. Some shady programmers create clones of various crypto websites and offer downloads for free, leading to the possibility of a hack.  Mobile wallets are available as apps for your smartphone, especially useful if you want to pay for something in bitcoin in a shop or if you want to buy, sell or send while on the move. All of the online wallets and most of the desktop ones mentioned above have mobile versions, while others – such as Abra, Edge and Bread – were created with mobile in mind. Remember, many online wallets will store your keys on the phone itself, leading to the possibility of losing your bitcoin if you lose your phone. Always keep a backup of your keys on a different device and print out your seed phrase. Hardware wallets are small devices that connect to the web only to enact bitcoin transactions. They are more secure because they are generally offline and therefore not hackable. They can be stolen or lost, however, along with the bitcoins that belong to the stored private keys, so it’s recommended that you backup your keys. Some large investors keep their hardware wallets in secure locations such as bank vaults. Trezor, Keepkey and Ledger are notable examples. Paper wallets are perhaps the simplest of all the wallets. Paper wallets are pieces of paper that contain the private and public keys of a bitcoin address. Ideal for the long-term storage of bitcoin (away from fire and water, of course) or for the giving of bitcoin as a gift, these wallets are more secure in that they’re not connected to a network. They are, however, easier to lose. With services such as WalletGenerator, you can easily create a new address and print the wallet on your printer. When you’re ready to top up your paper wallet you simply send some bitcoin to that address and then store it safely. Whatever option you go for, be sure to back up everything and only tell your nearest and dearest where your backups are stored. (WARNING: Using an online paper wallet generator can be a security risk since you are trusting the website with key generation; if you do use one, be sure to verify that the code has no backdoors). For more information on how to buy bitcoin, see here. And for some examples of what you can spend it on, see here. (Note: Specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as an official recommendation. Further, companies could go out of business and be replaced with more nefarious owners. Always protect your keys.) UPDATE (April 6, 2021, 19:35 UTC): Added warning about the security risk of paper wallet generators. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 05 How to Sell Bitcoin Jan 25, 2014 at 6:39 a.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:15 p.m. These days virtually all the methods available to buy bitcoin also offer the option to sell.  The exception is bitcoin ATMs – some do allow you to exchange bitcoin for cash, but not all. Coinatmradar will guide you to bitcoin ATMs in your area. All exchanges allow you to sell as well as buy. What type of exchange you choose to sell your bitcoin will depend on what type of holder you are: small investor, institutional holder or trader? Some platforms such as GDAX and Gemini are aimed more at large orders from institutional investors and traders. Retail clients can sell bitcoin at exchanges such as Coinbase, Kraken, Bitstamp, Poloniex, etc. Each exchange has a different interface, and some offer related services such as secure storage. Some require verified identification for all trades, while others are more relaxed if small amounts are involved. (Of course, don’t forget to declare any profit you make on the sale to your relevant tax authority!) You can, if you wish, exchange your bitcoin for other cryptoassets rather than for cash. Some exchanges such as ShapeShift focus on this service, allowing you to swap between bitcoin and ether, litecoin, XRP, dash and several others. Another alternative is the direct sale. You can register as a seller on platforms such as LocalBitcoins, BitQuick, Bittylicious and BitBargain, and interested parties will contact you if they like your price. Transactions are usually done via deposits or wires to your bank account, after which you are expected to transfer the agreed amount of bitcoin to the specified address. Or, you can sell directly to friends and family once they have a bitcoin wallet set up. Just send the bitcoin, collect the cash or mobile payment, and have a celebratory drink together. (Note: it is generally not a good idea to meet up with strangers to exchange bitcoin for cash in person. Be safe.) (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 06 How Do Bitcoin Transactions Work? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Aug 18, 2020 at 12:34 p.m. Now that you’ve set up your bitcoin wallet and are ready to make your first transaction, let’s take a look at how bitcoin transactions actually work.  There are three key variables in any bitcoin transaction: an amount, an input and an output. An input is the address from which the money is sent, and an output is the address that receives the funds. Since a wallet can contain several input addresses, you can send money from one or more inputs to one or more outputs. There is also a data storage portion on each transaction, a sort of note, that allows you to record data to the blockchain immutably. But the unique thing about bitcoin transactions is that, if you initiate a transaction that’s worth less than the total amount in your input, you get your change back not to your original output, but through a new third address in your control. This means your wallet typically ends up containing multiple addresses, and you can pull funds from these addresses to make future transactions. You’ve learned how to buy and store your bitcoins, so you already know what public and private keys are for, and you’ll need these to issue a transaction. To do that, you put your private key, the amount of bitcoins you want to send and the output address into the bitcoin software on your computer or smartphone.  Then the program generates a signature made from your private key to announce this transaction to the network for validation. The network needs to confirm that you own the bitcoin being transferred and that you haven’t spent it by checking all previous transactions which are public on the ledger. Once the bitcoin program verifies that indeed your private key corresponds to the provided public key (without knowing what your private key is), your transaction is confirmed.  This transaction is now included in a “block” which gets attached to the previous block to be added to the blockchain. Every transaction in the blockchain is tied to a unique identifier called a transaction hash (txid), which looks like a 64-character string of random letters and numbers. You can track a particular transaction by typing this txid in the search bar on the blockchain explorer.  Transactions can’t be undone or tampered with, because it would mean re-doing all the blocks that came after. This process is not instantaneous. Because the bitcoin blockchain is fairly large, it takes a lot of time to process a single transaction among the many on the blockchain.  The amount of time it takes to confirm a transaction varies, ranging anywhere from a few minutes to a couple days, based on traffic on the blockchain and the size of your transaction. Larger transactions with higher fees tend to get validated by miners quicker than smaller ones. That said, once it is confirmed, it is immutably recorded forever. If you want to indulge in some mindless fascination, you can sit at your desk and watch bitcoin transactions float by. Blockchain.info is good for this, but try BitBonkers if you want a hypnotically fun version. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 07 How Bitcoin Mining Works Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 8, 2020 at 10:16 a.m. When you hear about bitcoin “mining,” you envisage coins being dug out of the ground. But bitcoin isn’t physical, so why do we call it mining? Similar to gold mining, bitcoins exist in the protocol’s design just as the gold exists underground, but they haven’t been brought out into the light yet, just as the gold hasn’t yet been dug up.  The bitcoin protocol stipulates that a maximum of 21 million bitcoins will exist at some point. What miners do is bring them out into the light, a few at a time. Once miners finish mining all these coins, there won’t be more coins rolling out unless the bitcoin protocol changes to allow for a larger supply. Miners get paid in transaction fees for creating blocks of validated transactions and including them in the blockchain.  Source: Shutterstock To understand how bitcoin mining works, let’s backtrack a little bit and talk about nodes. A node is a powerful computer that runs the bitcoin software and fully validates transactions and blocks. Since the bitcoin network is decentralized these nodes are collectively responsible for confirming pending transactions.  Anyone can run a node—you just download the free bitcoin software. The drawback is that it consumes energy and storage space – the network at time of writing takes hundreds of gigabytes of data. Nodes spread bitcoin transactions around the network. One node will send information to a few nodes that it knows, who will relay the information to nodes that they know, etc. That way, the pending transaction ends up getting around the whole network pretty quickly. Some nodes are mining nodes,usually referred to as miners. These chunk outstanding transactions into blocks and add them to the blockchain. How do they do this? By solving a complex mathematical puzzle that is part of the bitcoin program, and including the answer in the block.  The puzzle that needs solving is to find a number that, when combined with the data in the block and passed through a hash function (which converts input data of any size into output data of a fixed length, produces a result that is within a certain range.  For trivia lovers, this number is called a “nonce”, which is an abbreviation of “number used once.” In the blockchain, the nonce is an integer between 0 and 4,294,967,296. How do they find this number? By guessing at random. The hash function makes it impossible to predict what the output will be. So, miners guess the mystery number and apply the hash function to the combination of that guessed number and the data in the block. The resulting hash starts with a certain number of zeroes. There’s no way of knowing which number will work, because two consecutive integers will give wildly varying results. What’s more, there may be several nonces that produce the desired result, or there may be none. In that case, the miners keep trying but with a different block configuration. The difficulty of the calculation (the required number of zeros at the beginning of the hash string) is adjusted frequently, so that it takes on average about 10 minutes to process a block. Why 10 minutes? That is the amount of time that the bitcoin developers think is necessary for a steady and diminishing flow of new coins until the maximum number of 21 million is reached (expected some time in 2140). The first miner to get a resulting hash within the desired range announces its victory to the rest of the network. All the other miners immediately stop work on that block and start trying to figure out the mystery number for the next one. As a reward for its work, the victorious miner gets some new bitcoin. At the time of writing, the reward is 6.25 bitcoins per block, which is worth around $56,000 in June 2020. However, it’s not nearly as cushy a deal as it sounds. There are a lot of mining nodes competing for that reward, and the more computing power you have and the more guessing calculations you can perform, the luckier you are. Also, the costs of being a mining node are considerable, not only because of the powerful hardware needed, but also because of the large amounts of electricity consumed by these processors. And, the number of bitcoins awarded as a reward for solving the puzzle will decrease. It’s 6.25 now, but it halves every four years or so (the next one is expected in 2024). The value of bitcoin relative to cost of electricity and hardware could go up over the next few years to partially compensate for this reduction, but it’s not certain. If you’ve made it this far, then congratulations! There is still so much more to explain about the system, but at least now you have an idea of the broad outline of the genius of the programming and the concept. For the first time we have a system that allows for convenient digital transfers in a decentralized, trust-free and tamper-proof way.  DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 08 How to Set Up a Bitcoin Miner Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:21 p.m. By this stage, you will understand how bitcoin works, and what mining means. But we need to get from theory to practice. How can you set up a bitcoin mining hardware and start generating some digital cash? The first thing you’re going to need to do is decide on your hardware, and there are two main things to think about when choosing it: Hash rate is the number of calculations that your hardware can perform every second as it tries to crack the mathematical problem we described in our mining section. Hash rates are measured in megahashes, gigahashes, and terahashes per second (MH/sec, GH/sec, and TH/sec). The higher your hash rate (compared to the current average hash rate), the more likely you are to solve a transaction block. The bitcoin wiki’s mining hardware comparison page is a good place to go for rough information on hash rates for different hardware. When choosing a hardware, it’s worth looking at your device’s energy consumption. All this computing power chews up electricity, and that costs money. You want to make sure that you don’t end up spending all of your money on electricity to mine coins that won’t be worth what you paid. To work out how many hashes you’re getting for every watt of electricity that you use, divide the hash count by the number of watts.  Source: Credit: Anna Baydakova for CoinDesk For example, if you have a 500 GH/sec device, and it’s taking 400 watts of power, then you’re getting 1.25 GH/sec per watt. You can check your power bill or use an electricity price calculator online to find out how much that means in hard cash. However, there’s a caveat here. In some cases, you’ll be using your computer to run the mining hardware. Your computer has its own electricity draw on top of the mining hardware, and you’ll need to factor that into your calculation. There are three main hardware categories for bitcoin miners: GPUs, FPGAs, and ASICs. We’ll explore them in depth below. CPU/GPU Bitcoin Mining The least powerful category of bitcoin mining hardware is your computer itself. Theoretically, you could use your computer’s CPU to mine for bitcoins, but in practice, this is so slow by today’s standards that there isn’t any point. You can enhance your bitcoin hash rate by adding graphics hardware to your desktop computer. Graphics cards feature graphical processing units (GPUs). These are designed for heavy mathematical lifting so they can calculate all the complex polygons needed in high-end video games. This makes them particularly good at the Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA) hashing mathematics necessary to solve transaction blocks. One of the nice things about GPUs is that they also leave your options open. Unlike other options discussed later, these units can be used with cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin. Litecoin, for example, uses a different proof of work algorithm to bitcoin, called Scrypt. This has been optimized to be friendly to CPUs and GPUs, making them a good option for GPU miners who want to switch between different currencies. GPU mining is largely dead these days. Bitcoin mining difficulty has accelerated so much with the release of ASIC mining power that graphics cards can’t compete. FPGA Bitcoin Mining A Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit designed to be configured after being built. This enables a mining hardware manufacturer to buy the chips in volume, and then customize them for bitcoin mining before putting them into their own equipment. Because they are customized for mining, they offer performance improvements over CPUs and GPUs. Single-chip FPGAs have been seen operating at around 750 MH/sec, although that’s at the high end. It is of course possible to put more than one chip in a box. ASIC Bitcoin Miners This is where the action’s really at. Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) are specifically designed to do just one thing: mine bitcoins at mind-crushing speeds, with relatively low power consumption. Because these chips have to be designed specifically for that task and then fabricated, they are expensive and time-consuming to produce – but the speeds are stunning. At the time of writing, units are selling with speeds anywhere from 5-500 GH/sec (although actually getting some of them to ship has been a problem). Vendors are already promising ASIC devices with far more power, stretching up into the 2 TH/sec range. Before making your purchase, calculate the projected profitability of your miner, using mining profitability calculators online like this one. You can input parameters such as equipment cost, hash rate, power consumption, and the current bitcoin price to see how long it will take to pay back your investment. One of the other key parameters here is network difficulty. This metric determines how hard it is to solve transaction blocks, and it varies according to the network hash rate. Difficulty is likely to increase substantially as ASIC devices come on the market, so it might be worth increasing this metric in the calculator to see what your return on investment will be like as more people join the game.  Once you have chosen your hardware, you’ll need to do several other things. Depending on which equipment you choose, you will need to run software to make use of it. Typically when using GPUs and FPGAs, you will need a host computer running two things: the standard bitcoin client, and the mining software. The standard bitcoin client connects your computer to the network and enables it to interact with the bitcoin clients, forwarding transactions and keeping track of the block chain. It will take some time for it to download the entire bitcoin block chain so that it can begin. The bitcoin client effectively relays information between your miner and the bitcoin network. The bitcoin mining software is what instructs the hardware to do the hard work, passing through transaction blocks for it to solve. There are a variety of these available, depending on your operating system. They are available for Windows, Mac OS X, and others. You may well need mining software for your ASIC miner, too, although some newer models promise to ship with everything pre-configured, including a bitcoin address, so that all you need to do is plug it in the wall. One smart developer even produced a mining operating system designed to run on the Raspberry Pi, a low-cost credit card-sized Linux computer designed to consume very small amounts of power. This could be used to power a USB-connected ASIC miner. Now, you’re all set up. Good for you. But you will stand little chance of success mining bitcoins unless you work with other people, by joining a bitcoin mining pool for example.  Nowadays, the bitcoin mining industry primarily operates on a pool level rather than on an individual level. Some of the biggest bitcoin miners in the world are F2Pool, Poolin, Slush Pool and AntPool.    DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 09 Can Bitcoin Scale? Feb 23, 2018 at 1:30 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:54 p.m. You have some bitcoins in your wallet and want to spend them on your daily purchases. But what would that look like in a world where Visa, Mastercard and other financial services still dominate the market?  The ability for bitcoin to compete with other payment systems has long been up for debate in the cryptocurrency community. When Satoshi Nakamoto programmed the blocks to have a size limit of approximately 1MB each to prevent network spam, he also created the problem of bitcoin illiquidity. Since each block takes an average of 10 minutes to process, only a small number of transactions can go through at a time. For a system that many claimed could replace fiat payments, this was a big barrier. While Visa handles around 1,700 transactions a second, bitcoin could process up to 7. An increase in demand would inevitably lead to an increase in fees, and bitcoin’s utility would be limited even further. The scaling debate has unleashed a wave of technological innovation in the search of workarounds. While significant progress has been made, a sustainable solution is still far from clear. A simple solution initially appeared to be an increase in the block size. Yet that idea turned out to be not simple at all. First, there was no clear agreement as to how much it should be increased by. Some proposals advocated for 2MB, another for 8MB, and one wanted to go as high as 32MB. The core development team argued that increasing the block size at all would weaken the protocol’s decentralization by giving more power to miners with bigger blocks. Plus, the race for faster machines could eventually make bitcoin mining unprofitable. Also, the number of nodes able to run a much heavier blockchain could decrease, further centralizing a network that depends on decentralization. Second, not everyone agrees on this method of change. How do you execute a system-wide upgrade when participation is decentralized? Should everyone have to update their bitcoin software? What if some miners, nodes and merchants don’t? And finally, bitcoin is bitcoin, why mess with it? If someone didn’t like it, they were welcome to modify the open-source code and launch their own coin. One of the earliest solutions to this issue was proposed by developer Pieter Wiulle in 2015. It’s called Segregated Witness, or SegWit.  This process would increase the capacity of the bitcoin blocks without changing their size limit, by altering how the transaction data was stored. (For a more detailed account, see our explainer.) SegWit was deployed on the bitcoin network in August 2017 via a soft fork to make it compatible with nodes that did not upgrade. While many wallets and other bitcoin services are gradually adjusting their software, others are reluctant to do so because of the perceived risk and cost. Several industry players argued that SegWit didn’t go far enough – it might help in the short term, but sooner or later bitcoin would again be up against a limit to its growth. In 2017, coinciding with CoinDesk’s Consensus conference in New York, a new approach was revealed: Segwit2X. This idea – backed by several of the sector’s largest exchanges – combined SegWit with an increase in the block size to 2MB, effectively multiplying the pre-SegWit transaction capacity by a factor of 8. Far from solving the problem, the proposal created a further wave of discord. The manner of its unveiling (through a public announcement rather than an upgrade proposal) and its lack of replay protection (transactions could happen on both versions, potentially leading to double spending) rankled many. And the perceived redistribution of power away from developers towards miners and businesses threatened to cause a fundamental split in the community. Other technological approaches are being developed as a potential way to increase capacity. Schnorr signatures offer a way to consolidate signature data, reducing the space it takes up within a bitcoin block (and enhancing privacy). Combined with SegWit, this could allow a much greater number of transactions, without changing the block size limit And work is proceeding on the lightning network, a second layer protocol that runs on top of bitcoin, opening up channels of fast microtransactions that only settle on the bitcoin network when the channel participants are ready. Adoption of the SegWit upgrade is slowly spreading throughout the network, increasing transaction capacity and lowering fees. Progress is accelerating on more advanced solutions such as lightning, with transactions being sent on testnets (as well as some using real bitcoin). And the potential of Schnorr signatures is attracting increasing attention, with several proposals working on detailing functionality and integration. While bitcoin’s use as a payment mechanism seems to have taken a back seat to its value as an investment asset, the need for a greater number of transactions is still pressing as the fees charged by the miners for processing are now more expensive than fiat equivalents. More importantly, the development of new features that enhance functionality is crucial to unlocking the potential of the underlying blockchain technology. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 10 What is Bitcoin's Lightning Network? Feb 23, 2018 at 1:42 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:49 p.m. Tackling bitcoin’s scalability isn’t easy, but developers Thaddeus Dryja and Joseph Poon had an idea. In a 2016 white paper, they proposed the concept of a protocol called “the lightning network” that would enable faster and cheaper transactions while not having to change the block size.  The network creates a second layer on top of the bitcoin blockchain and comprises user-generated channels. You can securely send payments back and forth without the need to trust or even know your counterparty. Say, for instance, that I wanted to pay you for each minute of video that I watched. We would open up a lightning channel, and as the minutes rolled by, periodic payments would be made from my wallet to yours. When I’m done watching, we would close the channel to settle the net amount on the bitcoin blockchain. An error occurred. Try watching this video on www.youtube.com, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser. Because the transactions are just between me and you and don’t need to be broadcast to the whole network, they are almost instantaneous. And because there are no miners that need incentivizing, transaction fees are low or even non-existent. How it works First, two parties who wish to transact with each other set up a multisignature wallet (which requires more than one signature to enact a transaction). This wallet holds some amount of bitcoin. The wallet address is then saved to the bitcoin blockchain. This sets up the payment channel. The two parties can now conduct an unlimited number of transactions without ever touching the information stored on the blockchain. With each transaction, both parties sign an updated balance sheet to always reflect how much of the bitcoin stored in the wallet belongs to each. Once the two parties finish transacting and close out the channel, the resulting balance is registered on the blockchain. In the event of a dispute, both parties can use the most recently signed balance sheet to recover their share of the wallet. It is not necessary to set up a direct channel to transact on lightning – you can send payments to someone via channels with people that you are connected with. The network automatically finds the shortest route. Development of the technology got a significant boost with the adoption of SegWit on the bitcoin and litecoin networks. Without the upgrade’s transaction malleability fix, transactions on the lightning network would have been too risky to be practical. Without the security of the blockchain behind it, the lightning network will not be as secure, which implies that it will largely be used for small or even micro transactions which carry a lower risk. Larger transfers that require decentralized security are more likely to be done on the original layer. Where are we now? In March 2018, California startup Lightning Labs announced the launch of a beta version of its software, making available what investors and project leads say is the first thoroughly tested version of the tech to date. It is still early days, however – transaction sizes are limited, and the release is aimed at developers and “advanced users”.
Recent research on the lightning network shows signs of increased vulnerability due to the centralization of a number of nodes in the network that control a majority of funds. Developers are continuously exploring new possibilities to enhance the privacy and efficiency of the lightning, as well as ways to incorporate other technologies such as Schnorr into the network. There’s no doubt that it’ll be some time before such system-wide updates can successfully take place. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 11 What are Bitcoin Mining Pools? Mar 6, 2014 at 1:32 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 4:57 p.m. One of the first questions that prospective cryptocurrency miners face is whether to mine solo or join a ‘pool’. There are a multitude of reasons both for and against mining pools. Here’s what you need to know. If you’re deciding whether to join a mining pool or not, it can be helpful to think of it like a lottery syndicate – the pros and cons are exactly the same. Going solo means you won’t have to share the reward, but your odds of getting a reward are significantly decreased. Although a pool has a much larger chance of solving a block and winning the reward, that reward will be split between all the pool members.  Source: Shutterstock Therefore, joining a pool creates a steady stream of income, even if each payment is modest compared to the full block reward (which currently stands at 6.25 BTC). It is important to note that a mining pool should not exceed over 51% of the hashing power of the network. If a single entity ends up controlling more than 50% of a cryptocurrency network’s computing power, it could theoretically wreak havoc on the whole network. Difficulty level is another factor to keep in mind when considering solo mining.  It is currently so high that it’s practically impossible for soloists to make a profit mining. Unless, of course, you happen to have a garage full of ASICs sitting in Arctic conditions. If you’re a beginner, joining a mining pool is a great way to reap a small reward over a short period of time. Indeed, pools are a way to encourage small-scale miners to stay involved. One method of mining that bitcoin facilitates is “merged mining”. This is where blocks solved for bitcoin can be used for other currencies that use the same proof of work algorithm (for example, namecoin and devcoin). A useful analogy for merged mining is to think of it like entering the same set of numbers into several lotteries. First-time miners who lack particularly powerful hardware should look at altcoins over bitcoin – especially currencies based on the scrypt algorithm rather than SHA256. This is because the difficulty of bitcoin calculations is far too high for the processors found in regular PCs. When deciding which mining pool to join, you need to weigh up how each pool shares out its payments and what fees (if any) it deducts. Typical deductions range from 1% to 10%. However, some pools do not deduct anything. There are many schemes by which pools can divide payments. Most of which concentrate on the amount of ‘shares’ which a miner has submitted to the pool as ‘proof of work’. Shares are a tricky concept to grasp. Keep two things in mind: firstly, mining is a process of solving cryptographic puzzles; secondly, mining has a difficulty level. When a miner ‘solves a block’ there is a corresponding difficulty level for the solution. Think of it as a measure of quality. If the difficulty rating of the miner’s solution is above the difficulty level of the entire currency, it is added to that currency’s block chain and coins are rewarded. Additionally, a mining pool sets a difficulty level between 1 and the currency’s difficulty. If a miner returns a block which scores a difficulty level between the pool’s difficulty level and the currency’s difficulty level, the block is recorded as a ‘share’. There is no use whatsoever for these share blocks, but they are recorded as proof of work to show that miners are trying to solve blocks. They also indicate how much processing power they are contributing to the pool – the better the hardware, the more shares are generated. The most basic version of dividing payments this way is the ‘pay per share’ (PPS) model. Variations on this puts limits on the rate paid per share; for example, equalised shared maximum pay per share (ESMPPS), or shared maximum pay per share (SMPPS). Pools may or may not prioritise payments for how recently miners have submitted shares: for example, recent shared maximum pay per share (RSMPPS). More examples can be found on the bitcoin wiki. There are many pool options available for mining beside bitcoin. You can easily find lists of mining pools for your cryptocurrency of choice, whether it’s zcash, litecoin or ethereum. Some popular ones are BTC.com, Slush Pool and AntPool. Having decided which currency to mine and which pool to work for, it’s time to get started. You need to create an account on the pool’s website, which is just like signing up for any other web service. Once you have an account, you’ll need to create a ‘worker’. You can create multiple workers for each piece of mining hardware you’ll use. The default settings on most pools are for workers to be assigned a number as their name, and ‘x’ as their password, but you can change these to whatever you like. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 12 What Can You Buy with Bitcoin? Sep 25, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:21 p.m. After an initial flurry of interest among merchants in accepting bitcoin in their retail or online stores, interest has largely died down as increasing bitcoin transaction fees and volatile price movements made it less attractive as a means of exchange. That doesn’t mean that there are no outlets to spend your bitcoin, however, far from it. A 2019 survey done by insurance company HSB finds that more than one-third of U.S. small and mid-sized businesses accept cryptocurrency, and 59% of them purchase digital currencies for their own use.  Among the advantages of conducting business with cryptocurrency are the ease of cross-border transactions, and anonymity (unless you want physical delivery, of course). By accepting bitcoin, merchants get access to a broader market, and don’t have to worry so much about chargebacks since bitcoin transactions are irreversible. In 2019, AT&T became the first major U.S. mobile carrier to accept payments in cryptocurrency via BitPay.  If you want to use bitcoin to buy presents, the most obvious solution is gift cards, via Gyft or eGifter. The recipient will then be able to spend the gift card at one of a wide range of retailers.  gifts, exchange, trade Source: Shutterstock You can pay for flights and hotels with bitcoin, through Expedia, CheapAir and Surf Air. If your ambitions are loftier, you can pay for space travel with some of your vast holdings, through Virgin Galactic. Microsoft accepts bitcoin in its app stores, where you can download movies, games and app-based services. The leading game streaming platform Twitch also accepts payments in bitcoin and bitcoin cash for its subscriptions. Some musicians (Bjork, Imogen Heap, G-Eazy, Dolly Parton) will let you download their music in exchange for cryptocurrency. Need to furnish your house or buy a special present for someone? Overstock was one of the first big retailers to start accepting bitcoin, back in 2014, and its founder – Patrick Byrne – is still one of the technology’s most active proponents. Fancy some gold? Sharps Pixley, APMEX and JM Bullion will take bitcoin off your hands in exchange for bullion. And if you’re hungry and live in the U.S., PizzaforCoins will get a pizza delivered to your door (depending on where you live) in exchange for bitcoin. If it’s knowledge you’re hungry for, several private and public universities as well as a couple of New York preschools accept bitcoin. Some legal and accounting firms also accept payment for their services in cryptocurrency. Of course, you could always donate to one of the bitcoin-accepting charities or crowdfunding sites, such as BitHope, BitGive or Fidelity Charitable. For a list of offline stores near you that accept bitcoin, check an aggregator such as Spendabit or CoinMap. (Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.) DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 13 Is Bitcoin Legal? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Jul 8, 2020 at 10:27 a.m. As the market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market shoots up, through price movements and a surge in new tokens, regulators around the world are stepping up the debate on oversight into the use and trading of digital assets. Very few countries have gone as far as to declare bitcoin illegal. That does not, however, mean that bitcoin is “legal tender” – so far, only Japan has gone as far as to give bitcoin that designation. However, just because something isn’t legal tender, does not mean that it cannot be used for payment – it just means that there are no protections for either the consumer or the merchant, and that its use as payment is completely discretionary. Other jurisdictions are still mulling what steps to take. The approaches vary: some smaller nations such as Zimbabwe have few qualms about making brash pronouncements casting doubts on bitcoin’s legality. Larger institutions, such as the European Commission, recognize the need for dialogue and deliberation, while the European Central Bank (ECB) believes that cryptocurrencies are not yet mature enough for regulation. In the United States, the issue is complicated further by the fractured regulatory map – who would do the legislating, the federal government or individual states?  A related question in other countries, to which there is not yet a clear answer, is: should central banks keep an eye on cryptocurrencies, or financial regulators? In some countries they are one and the same thing, but in most developed nations, they are separate institutions with distinct remits. Another divisive issue is: should bitcoin be regulated on a national or international basis? There needs to be a further distinction between regulation of the cryptocurrency itself (is it a commodity or a currency, is it legal tender?) and cryptocurrency businesses (are they money transmitters, do they need licenses?). In a few countries the considerations are tied together – in most others, they have been dealt with separately. Below is a brief summary of pronouncements made by certain countries. This list was last updated in July 2020. Australia The Australian government has been supportive of cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. In 2017, it declared that cryptocurrencies were legal, and they would be treated as assets subjected to Capital Gains Tax.  In 2018, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre announced new regulations that require exchanges operating in the country to register with AUSTRAC, maintain records and verify users. To combat money laundering and terrorism financing in the future, unregistered exchanges will face charges and monetary penalties in the future. Argentina Under Argentina’s Constitution, bitcoins aren’t considered legal currency because they are not issued by the central bank. In spite of a strong bitcoin ecosystem, Argentina has not yet drawn up regulations for the cryptocurrency, although the central bank has issued official warnings of the risks involved. Bangladesh In 2015, Bangladesh expressly declared that using cryptocurrencies was a “punishable offence.” Authorities have been on the hunt for illegal bitcoin traders in the country.  Bolivia In 2014, the central bank of Bolivia officially banned the use of any currency or tokens not issued by the government. Canada Canada was one of the first countries to draw up what could be considered “bitcoin legislation.” In 2014, the Governor General of Canada passed Bill C-31 in 2014, which designated “virtual currency businesses” as “money service businesses,” compelling them to comply with anti-money laundering and know-your-client requirements. The law is pending issuance of subsidiary regulations. The government has specified that bitcoin is not legal tender, and the country’s tax authority has deemed bitcoin transactions taxable, depending on the type of activity.  China While China has not banned bitcoin (and President Xi Jinping has continued to praise in blockchain developments as critical to technical innovations), financial regulators have cracked down on bitcoin exchanges – all major bitcoin exchanges in the country, including OKCoin, Huobi, BTC China, and ViaBTC, suspended order book trading of digital assets against the yuan in 2017. It also appears to be withdrawing preferential treatment (tax deductions and cheap electricity) for bitcoin miners. Ecuador In 2014, the National Assembly of Ecuador banned bitcoin and decentralized digital currencies while the central bank stated that the online trading of cryptocurrencies is not forbidden. Still, bitcoin is not legal tender and is not an authorized payment method for goods and services.. Egypt In January 2018, the Grand Mufti of Egypt declared that cryptocurrency trading was forbidden under Islamic religious law due to the risk associated with the activity. While this is not legally binding, it does count as a high-level legal opinion. However, that ban was lifted in May 2019, easing restrictions by allowing companies with licenses to operate. Europe The European Union is taking a cautious approach to cryptocurrency regulation, with several initiatives underway to involve sector participants in the drafting of supportive rules. The focus appears to be on learning before regulating, while boosting innovation and taking into account the needs of the ecosystem. In April 2018, the parliament’s members voted by a large majority to support a December 2017 agreement with the European Council for measures aimed, in part, to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies in money laundering and terrorism financing. In early 2020, the EU’s 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive (5AMLD) was signed into law, which inevitably put crypto service providers under more scrutiny.  India The Indian central bank has issued a couple of official warnings on bitcoin, and at the end of 2017 the country’s finance minister clarified in an interview that bitcoin is not legal tender. The government does not yet have any regulations that cover cryptocurrencies, although it is looking at recommendations. The central bank, however, has barred Indian financial institutions from working with cryptocurrency exchanges and other related services (a ban recently upheld by the country’s Supreme Court). In June 2020, there were rumors of a new ban on crypto, which industry experts later said were premature.  Iran In April 2018, Iran’s central bank and one of its principal market regulators said that financial businesses should not deal in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, CoinDesk reported on government censorship of cryptocurrency exchange websites operating in the country. In May 2020, the Iranian parliament proposed to include cryptocurrency in currency smuggling laws.  Japan Japan was the first country to expressly declare bitcoin “legal tender,” passing a law in early 2017 that also brought bitcoin exchanges under anti-money laundering and know-your-customer rules (although license applications have temporarily been suspended as the regulators deal with a hack on the Coincheck exchange in early 2018). Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) has been cracking down on exchanges, suspending two, issuing improvement orders to several and mandating better security measures in five others. It has also established a cryptocurrency exchange industry study group which aims to examine institutional issues regarding bitcoin and other assets. In October 2019, the FSA issued additional guidelines for funds investing in crypto.  Japan, flag Kazakhstan According to 2018 reports, the National Bank of Kazakhstan recently hinted at plans to ban cryptocurrency trading and mining, although as yet no strict regulations have been passed. Kyrgyzstan The central bank of Kyrgyzstan declared in 2014 that using cryptocurrencies for transactions was against the law. In August 2019, the Ministry of Economy drafted a law to impose crypto mining taxation.  Malaysia Malaysia’s Securities Commission is working together with the country’s central bank on a cryptocurrency regulation framework. In early 2019, the country’s Securities Commission began to mandate approvals for ICOs as securities offerings. Malta In June 2018, The European island passed a series of blockchain-friendly laws, including one that details the registration requirements of cryptocurrency exchanges. Earlier in 2020, Malta Financial Services Authority published a document addressing issues related to offerings of security tokens. Mexico In 2014, Mexico’s central bank issued a statement blocking banks from dealing in virtual currencies. The following year, the finance ministry clarified that, although bitcoin was not “legal tender,” it could be used as payment and therefore was subject to the same anti-money laundering restrictions as cash and precious metals. At the end of 2017, Mexico’s national legislature approved a bill that would bring local bitcoin exchanges under the oversight of the central bank. Morocco Towards the end of 2017, Morocco’s foreign exchange authority declared that the use of cryptocurrencies within the country violated foreign exchange regulations and would be met with penalties. Namibia Namibia is one of the few countries to have expressly declared that purchases with bitcoin are “illegal.” Nigeria While Nigerian banks are prohibited from handling virtual currencies, the central bank is working on a white paper which will draft its official stance on use of cryptocurrencies as a payment method. Pakistan In April 2018, Pakistan’s central bank issued a statement barring financial companies in the country from working with cryptocurrency firms. In April 2019, the federal government introduced new regulations and licensing schemes for crypto firms.  Russia While cryptocurrencies are used in Russia for various payments and services, the Russian authorities have continued to propose new legislation that would crack down on crypto development around the country. In November 2019, the central bank said it would support a ban on crypto payments. New regulatory draft bills rolled out in early 2020, which would prohibit the issuance and operations of digital currencies in the country, including distributing crypto news. Singapore Hailed as a crypto haven of the world, Singapore has embraced an innovative approach toward cryptocurrency and blockchain, thanks to the leadership of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). In January 2020, the MAS announced a new regulatory framework to cover all Singapore-based crypto businesses and exchanges under anti-money laundering and counterrorist-financing rules. It later added a six-month grace period of license exemption for a number of crypto companies such as Binance, Coinbase, Gemini and Bitstamp. South Africa In 2017, the South Africa Reserve Bank implemented a “sandbox approach,” testing draft bitcoin and cryptocurrency regulation with a selected handful of startups. In April 2020, the Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group proposed that would increase oversight of crypto activities and mandate business to register with AML watchdog the Financial Intelligence Centre.  Johannesburg, South Africa South Korea In early 2018, South Korea banned anonymous virtual currency accounts. And in an effort to curb cryptocurrency speculation, the authorities are working on increased oversight of exchanges, although the governor of the Financial Supervisory Service has said the government will support “normal” cryptocurrency trading. In an interesting shift in strategy, a recent report in the South Korean press indicated that the country’s financial authorities are in talks with similar agencies in Japan and China over joint oversight of cryptocurrency investment. In April 2018, the Fair Trade Commission ordered 12 of the country’s cryptocurrency exchanges to revise their user agreements. In 2020, lawmakers voted on new requirements for crypto exchanges, which would potentially kick out small players who can’t afford new regulatory burdens. Thailand After allegedly declaring bitcoin illegal, the Bank of Thailand issued a backtracking statement in 2014, clarifying that it is not legal tender (but not technically illegal), and warning of the risks. In March 2018, the government’s executive branch provisionally passed two royal decree drafts, establishing formal rules to protect cryptocurrency investors (as well as setting KYC requirements), and setting a tax on their capital gains. The drafts have yet to receive final cabinet approval. There were plans in August 2019 to include cryptocurrencies in the country’s anti-money laundering regime. United States of America The U.S. is plagued by a fragmented regulatory system, with legislators at both the state and the federal level responsible for layered jurisdictions and a complex separation of powers. Some states are more advanced than others in cryptocurrency oversight. New York, for instance, unveiled the controversial BitLicense in 2015, granting bitcoin businesses the official go-ahead to operate in the state (many startups pulled out of the state altogether rather than comply with the expensive requirements). In mid-2017, Washington passed a bill that applied money transmitter laws to bitcoin exchanges. New Hampshire requires bitcoin sellers to get a money transmitter license and post a $100,000 bond. In Texas, the state securities commission is monitoring (and, on occasion, shutting down) bitcoin-related investment opportunities. And California is in bitcoin regulation limbo after freezing progress on Bill 1326 which – while criticized for issues such as overly broad definitions – was seen as less oppressive than New York’s BitLicense. At the federal level, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s focus has been on the use of blockchain assets as securities, such as whether or not certain bitcoin investment funds should be sold to the public, and whether or not a certain offering is fraud. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has a bigger potential footprint in bitcoin regulation, given its designation of the cryptocurrency as a “commodity.” While it has yet to draw up comprehensive bitcoin regulations, its recent efforts have focused on monitoring the nascent futures market. It has also filed charges in several bitcoin-related schemes, which underlines its intent to exercise jurisdiction over cryptocurrencies whenever it suspects there may be fraud. The Uniform Law Commission, a non-profit association that aims to bring clarity and cohesion to state legislation, has drafted the Uniform Regulation of Virtual Currency Business Act, which several states are contemplating introducing in upcoming legislative sessions. The Act aims to spell out which virtual currency activities are money transmission businesses, and what type of license they would require. Critics fear it too closely resembles the New York BitLicense.  United Kingdom Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sees bitcoin as a “commodity,” and therefore does plan to regulate it. It has hinted, however, that it will step in to oversee bitcoin-related derivatives. This lack of consumer protection has been behind recent FCA warnings on the risks inherent in cryptocurrencies. In July 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority finalized its guidance on crypto assets, clarifying which tokens would fall under its jurisdiction. Ukraine The government of Ukraine has created a working group composed of regulators from various branches to draft cryptocurrency regulation proposals, including the determination of which agencies will have oversight and access. Also, a bill already before the legislature would bring cryptocurrency exchanges under the jurisdiction of the central bank. The Ministry of Digital Information said in February 2020 that it won’t be regulating the crypto mining sector.  Zimbabwe Late in 2017, a senior official from Zimbabwe’s central bank stated that bitcoin was not “actually legal.” While the extent to which it can and cannot be used is not yet clear, the central bank is apparently undertaking research to determine the risks. CoinDesk recently produced a podcast series about the future of bitcoin in Africa, including in Zimbabwe.  DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 14 Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto? Aug 20, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. Nov 23, 2020 at 10:37 p.m.  Mystery man While we may not know who Satoshi Nakamoto was, we know what he (or she) did. Nakamoto was the inventor of the Bitcoin protocol, publishing a paper via the Cryptography Mailing List in November 2008. Nakamoto then released the first version of the Bitcoin software client in 2009, participating with others on the project via mailing lists,until he finally began to fade from the community toward the end of 2010. Nakamoto worked with people on the open-source team but took care never to reveal anything personal about himself, and the last anyone heard from him was in the spring of 2011, when he said that he had “moved on to other things.” Was Satoshi Nakamoto Japanese? Best not to judge a book by its cover. Or in fact, maybe we should. “Satoshi” means “clear thinking, quick witted; wise.” “Naka” can mean “medium, inside, or relationship.” “Moto” can mean “origin” or “foundation.” Those things would all apply to the person who founded a movement by designing a clever algorithm. The problem, of course, is that each word has multiple possible meanings. We can’t know for sure whether Nakamoto was Japanese or not. In fact, it’s presumptuous to assume that he was actually a “he.” Allowing for the fact that “Satoshi Nakamoto” could have been a pseudonym, “he” could have been a “she,” or even a “they.” Does anyone know who Satoshi Nakamoto was? No, but the detective techniques that people use when guessing are sometimes even more intriguing than the answer. The New Yorker’s Joshua Davis believed that Satoshi Nakamoto was Michael Clear, a graduate cryptography student at Dublin’s Trinity College. He arrived at this conclusion by analyzing 80,000 words of Nakamoto’s online writings and searching for linguistic clues. He also suspected Finnish economic sociologist and former games developer Vili Lehdonvirta. Both have denied being bitcoin’s inventor. Michael Clear publicly denied being Satoshi at the 2013 Web Summit.  Adam Penenberg at Fast Company disputed that claim, arguing instead that Nakamoto may actually have been three people: Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry. He figured this out by typing unique phrases from Nakamoto’s bitcoin paper into Google, to see if they were used anywhere else. One of them, “computationally impractical to reverse,” turned up in a patent application made by these three for updating and distributing encryption keys. The bitcoin.org domain name originally used by Satoshi to publish the paper had been registered three days after the patent application was filed. It was registered in Finland, and one of the patent authors had traveled there six months before the domain was registered. All of them deny it. In any case, when bitcoin.org was registered on Aug. 18, 2008, the registrant actually used a Japanese anonymous registration service, and hosted it using a Japanese ISP. The registration for the site was only transferred to Finland on May 18, 2011, which weakens the Finland theory somewhat. Others think Nakamoto was Martii Malmi, a developer living in Finland who has been involved with bitcoin since the beginning and developed its user interface. Another possibility is Jed McCaleb, a lover of Japanese culture and resident of Japan, who created troubled bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox and cofounded decentralized payment systems Ripple and later Stellar. Another theory suggests that computer scientists Donal O’Mahony and Michael Peirce are Satoshi, based on a paper that they authored concerning digital payments, along with Hitesh Tewari, based on a book that they published together. O’Mahony and Tewari also studied at Trinity College, where Michael Clear was a student. Israeli scholars Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir of the Weizmann Institute retracted allegations made in a paper suggesting a link between Satoshi and Silk Road, the black market web site that was taken down by the FBI in October 2013. They had suggested a link between an address allegedly owned by Satoshi, and the site. Security researcher Dustin D. Trammell owned the address, and disputed claims that he was Satoshi. In May 2013, internet pioneer Ted Nelson threw another hat into the ring: Japanese mathematician Professor Shinichi Mochizuki, although he admits that the evidence is circumstantial at best. In February 2014, Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman claimed to have tracked down the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Dorian S. Nakamoto has since denied he knows anything about bitcoin, eventually hiring a lawyer and releasing an official statement to that effect.  No, Satoshi Nakamoto is not Dorian S. Nakamoto, a 64-year-old Japanese man living in California, probably.(Damian Dovarganes/AP) Hal Finney, Michael Weber, Wei Dai and several other developers were among those who are periodically named in media reports and online discussions as potential Satoshis. A group of forensic linguistics experts from Aston University believe the real creator of bitcoin is Nick Szabo, based upon analysis of the Bitcoin White Paper. Dominic Frisby, a comedian and a writer, also suggests that BitGold creator Szabo was the most likely candidate to be Satoshi in his book, “Bitcoin: The Future of Money.” His detailed analysis involved the linguistics of Satoshi’s writing, judging the level of technical skill in C++ and even Satoshi’s likely birthday. In Nathaniel Popper’s book, “Digitial Gold,” released in May 2015, Popper reveals that in a rare encounter at an event Szabo again denied that he was Satoshi. Then in early December 2015, reports by Wired and Gizmodo tentatively claimed to have identified Nakamoto as Australian entrepreneur Craig S Wright. WIRED cited “an anonymous source close to Wright” who provided a cache of emails, transcripts and other documents that point to Wright’s role in the creation of bitcoin. Gizmodo cited a cache of documents sourced from someone claiming to have hacked Wright’s business email account, as well as efforts to interview individuals close to him. While most other individuals speculated to be Nakamoto have insisted they are not the inventor of Bitcoin, Wright is the exception, claiming to be Nakamoto. However, many believe the evidence so far presented to be insufficient to confirm this claim, and some even think the reports that made the initial connection were misled by Wright himself in an elaborate hoax. So what do we know about Satoshi Nakamoto? One thing we know, based on interviews with people that were involved with him at an early stage in the development of bitcoin, is that he thought the system out very thoroughly. His coding wasn’t conventional, according to core developer Jeff Garzik, in that he didn’t apply the same rigorous testing that you would expect from a classic software engineer. How rich is Satoshi Nakamoto? An analysis by Sergio Lerner, an authority on bitcoin and cryptography, suggests Nakamoto mined many of the early blocks in the bitcoin network, and that he had built up a fortune of around 1 million unspent bitcoins. That hoard would be worth $18.4 billion U.S. dollars as of Nov. 23, 2020. What is Satoshi Nakamoto doing now? No one knows what Nakamoto is up to, but one of the last emails he sent to a software developer, dated Apr. 23, 2011, said, “I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin and everyone.” Did Satoshi Nakamoto work for the government? There are rumors, of course. People have interpreted his name as meaning “central intelligence,” but people will see whatever they want to see. Such is the nature of conspiracy theories. The obvious question would be why one of the three-letter agencies would be interested in creating a cryptocurrency that would subsequently be used as an anonymous trading mechanism, causing senators and the FBI alike to wring their hands about potential terrorism and other criminal endeavors. No doubt conspiracy theorists will have their views on that, too. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. Core developer Jeff Garzik puts it succinctly, “Satoshi published an open-source system for the purpose that you didn’t have to know who he was, and trust who he was, or care about his knowledge,” he points out. Open-source code makes it impossible to hide secrets. “The source code spoke for itself.” Moreover, it was smart to use a pseudonym, he argues, because it forced people to focus on the technology itself rather than on the personality behind it. At the end of the day, bitcoin is now far bigger than Satoshi Nakamoto. Having said that, if the real Satoshi Nakamoto is out there – get in touch! DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 15 What is the Difference Between Litecoin and Bitcoin? Feb 16, 2014 at 2:23 p.m. Jul 7, 2020 at 5:13 p.m. In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto launched bitcoin as the world’s first cryptocurrency. The code is open source, which means it can be modified by anyone and freely used for other projects. Many cryptocurrencies have launched with modified versions of this code, with varying levels of success.  Litecoin Logo Source: Flickr Litecoin was announced in 2011 with the goal of being the ‘silver’ to bitcoin’s ‘gold’. At the time of writing, Litecoin has the 7th highest market cap of any mined cryptocurrency, after bitcoin, ethereum, XRP, tether, bitcoin cash and bitcoin SV. Here’s our guide to show you the crucial difference between bitcoin and litecoin. At-a-glance differences bitcoin litecoin Coin limit 21 Million 84 Million Algorithm SHA-256 Scrypt Mean block time 10 minutes 2.5 minutes Difficulty retarget 2016 block 2016 blocks Block reward details Halved every 210,000 blocks. Halved every 840,000 blocks Initial reward 50 BTC 50 LTC Current block reward 6.25 BTC 12.5 LTC Block explorer blockchain.info block-explorer.com Created by Satoshi Nakamoto Charles Lee Creation date January 3rd, 2009 October 7th, 2011 Market cap $167.28B $2.68B Bitcoin Statistics Litecoin Statistics Mining differences Just like bitcoin, litecoin is a cryptocurrency that is generated by mining. Litecoin was created in October 2011 by former Google engineer Charles Lee. The motivation behind its creation was to improve upon bitcoin. The key difference for end-users being the 2.5 minute time to generate a block, as opposed to bitcoin’s 10 minutes. Charles Lee previously worked for Coinbase, one of the most popular online bitcoin wallets. He now dedicates his time to the Litecoin Foundation.  ASIC Mining Source: Shutterstock For miners and enthusiasts though, litecoin holds a much more important difference to bitcoin, and that is its different proof of work algorithm. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm, which involves calculations that can be greatly accelerated in parallel processing. It is this characteristic that has given rise to the intense race in ASIC technology, and has caused an exponential increase in bitcoin’s difficulty level. Litecoin, however, uses the scrypt algorithm – originally named as s-crypt, but pronounced as ‘script’. This algorithm incorporates the SHA-256 algorithm, but its calculations are much more serialised than those of SHA-256 in bitcoin. Scrypt favours large amounts of high-speed RAM, rather than raw processing power alone. As a result, scrypt is known as a ‘memory hard problem‘. The consequences of using scrypt mean that there has not been as much of an ‘arms race’ in litecoin (and other scrypt currencies), because there is (so far) no ASIC technology available for this algorithm. However, this is soon to change, thanks to companies like Alpha Technologies, which is now taking preorders.  GPU mining Source: Wikipedia To highlight the difference in hashing power, at the time of writing, the total hashing rate of the bitcoin network is over 20,000 Terra Hashes per second, while litecoin is just 95,642 Mega Hashes per second. For the time being, ‘state of the art’ litecoin mining rigs come in the form of custom PCs fitted with multiple graphics cards (ie: GPUs). These devices can handle the calculations needed for scrypt and have access to blisteringly fast memory built into their own circuit boards. There was a time when people could use GPU mining for bitcoin, but ASICs have made this method not worth the effort. Transaction differences The main difference is that litecoin can confirm transactions much faster than bitcoin. The implications of that are as follows: * Litecoin can handle a higher volume of transactions thanks to its faster block generation. If bitcoin were to try to match this, it would require significant updates to the code that everyone on the bitcoin network is currently running. * The disadvantage of this higher volume of blocks is that the litecoin blockchain will be proportionately larger than bitcoin's, with more orphaned blocks. * The faster block time of litecoin reduces the risk of double spending attacks – this is theoretical in the case of both networks having the same hashing power. * A merchant who waited for a minimum of two confirmations would only need to wait five minutes, whereas they would have to wait 10 minutes for just one confirmation with bitcoin. Transaction speed (or faster block time) and confirmation speed are often touted as moot points by many involved in bitcoin, as most merchants would allow zero-confirmation transactions for most purchases. It is necessary to bear in mind that a transaction is instant, it is just confirmed by the network as it propagates. DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. Chapter 16 How to Accept Bitcoin Payments for Your Store Apr 27, 2014 at 6:16 a.m. Nov 16, 2020 at 12:43 p.m. One issue holding bitcoin back from wider adoption is the lack of businesses that accept the digital currency as payment. This is a chicken-and-egg problem. If more businesses had the ability to accept bitcoin, it might encourage consumers to start obtaining and spending it, and vice versa. With this in mind, here is our guide to accepting bitcoin in a physical store. Person-to-person payments The easiest way to accept bitcoin payments is in-person, simply by getting your customer to send the correct amount of bitcoin (BTC) to your digital wallet. This is similar to thinking of it as a cash-in-hand payment.  A simple QR code system to accept bitcoin payment. This can be done via many smartphone apps, such as the Bitcoin Wallet app by Andreas Schildbach, on Android. There are also options available on the Windows Phone app store for users of that OS. Some months ago, Apple removed all bitcoin wallet apps from its App Store. However, on 2nd June, the company rescinded this policy, once again paving the way for wallet apps on iOS devices. These are already starting to appear, with Blockchain, Coinbase and others apps now available. We can expect many more to arrive in coming months too. Read More: How Do Bitcoin Transactions Work? Another alternative is CoinBox which is specifically designed for merchants wanting a straightforward option to receive payments. In these scenarios, the merchant enters the price of an item or service into the phone, which then presents a QR code containing the amount to be paid and the address the funds are sent to. The customer scans the QR code with their bitcoin wallet app and the payment is sent. All of these simple systems are ideal for small businesses testing bitcoin acceptance or for those doing odd-jobs for small amounts. Businesses which are larger in scale will likely look into a dedicated solution that fits in with their existing POS systems. Merchant bitcoin point-of-sale (POS) solutions There is also a growing number of commerce-specific options that aim to streamline the process of taking bitcoin payments. The following services offer a variety of POS solutions for merchants, both online and off. Coinify Coinify, a Danish firm that acquired BIPS and Coinzone, offers POS solutions for both brick-and-mortar and online stores. Merchants can get paid in bitcoin or fiat currency – or a mixture of the two – and its mobile app, Coinify POS, works with both Android and iOS devices.  POS promo For online sellers, Coinify offers various integration tools, such as payment buttons, shopping cart plugins or hosted invoicing. CoinKite CoinKite is a new startup that offers a bitcoin payment terminal looking exactly like the over-the-counter chip-and-PIN terminals we are so used to using in stores today. This handset reads a bitcoin-based debit card, also offered by CoinKite. The handsets can also serve as a bitcoin and litecoin ATM, as well as offer the option to print QR codes for customers to scan with their smartphone apps. CoinBase Coinbase is another payment processor that provides a point of sale app (Android) for bricks-and-mortar retailers. While it currently only supports US bank accounts as a funding source, it offers extensive e-commerce support. Not only does it offer an HTML code segment for easily inserting payment buttons into your website, it also provides plugins for WordPress, WooCommerce, Megento, and ZenCart. BitPay BitPay is an international payments processor for businesses and charities. It is integrated into the SoftTouch POS system for bricks-and-mortar retail stores. However, BitPay has an API which could be implemented into any other POS system with some coding work. BitPay has various tariffs that merchants can subscribe to, enabling features such as using the service on a custom domain (for online stores), exporting transactions to QuickBooks, etc. Blockchain Merchant Blockchain have also produced a merchant app for Android devices. Blockchain Merchant promises instant transactions, 0% fees on payments and it has multiple linguistic versions for use around the world. Revel As mentioned in our recent report: “Revel Systems offers a range of POS solutions for quick-service restaurants, self-service kiosks, grocery stores and retail outlets, among other merchants. POS packages start at $3,000 plus a monthly fee for an iPad, cash drawer and scanner.” It was recently announced that Revel will also include bitcoin as a method of payment in its POS software. BitXATM Germany-based startup BitXatm has announced the arrival of its Sumo Pro – a cryptocurrency ATM with a POS (point of sale) function that will appeal to merchants seeking to easily accept payments from customers in digital currencies. Costing €2,900 (around $3,993), the stand-alone machine offers a generous 17-inch touchscreen and has the ability to accept any fiat currency. Additionally, it can accept or dispense any digital currency, according to the company’s website. Paystand California-based online payment processor PayStand provides US-based websites and mobile applications another way to accept payments such e-checks, credit cards and bitcoin. Paystand have recieved $1m in investment as part of its initial seed-funding round. Founded in 2009, PayStand aims to be a multi-payment gateway that eliminates merchant transaction fees, in part by supporting digital currency acceptance. Coin of Sale A new bitcoin POS system, Coin of Sale, is trying to make it easier for merchants to accept bitcoin payments for their goods and services. Created by Singapore-based expat Thomas Forgac, Coin of Sale works with both Android and iOS devices. When users sign up for an account, they are automatically set up with an Electrum wallet. The merchant must simply enter the amount of money that needs to be charged and the app will automatically generate a QR code for it. The customer then scans this QR code to complete the payment. XBTerminal XBTerminal  provides a bitcoin POS device that allows the merchant’s customers to pay from any mobile bitcoin wallet by NFC or QR code. Payment from offline mobile devices is supported by bluetooth. Payments take place through the company’s platform and, if desired, bitcoin can be converted instantly to fiat currency at the time of sale. The company also provides web apps and an online interface for its payments solution for those that wish to invest in third-party hardware. DIY With bitcoin, it is possible to forego the fees of using a payment processor or provider, and simply integrate payments into your own custom system. Those with a technical background have achieved this, such as Stephen Early, who integrated bitcoin payments into the POS system of his UK pubs single-handedly. Get noticed Whether you have an online or a bricks-and-mortar store, if you accept bitcoin, you need to publicize the fact. You can find a ‘bitcoin accepted here’ sign at the bitcoin wiki.  We Accept Bitcoin A sign with more impact may alert customers to the fact you accept bitcoin. Cryptocables produces a range of neon and LED signage. Additionally, Coco Mats ’n More offersitcoin-logoed doormats and ‘Bitcoin Accepted Here’ mats for merchants wanting to advertise the cryptocurrency as a payment option.   bitcoin-is-accepted-here-doormat Last updated 14th October 2015 DISCLOSURE The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. TECHNICAL ANALYSIS Bitcoin Holds Short-Term Support; Faces Resistance at $40K Damanick Dantes1 hour ago BTC struggled over the weekend amid headline risk from China. Price recoveries limited to $40K.  COINSHARES CoinShares First-Quarter Earnings More Than Quadruple Jamie Crawley2 hours ago The Nasdaq-listed digital asset manager reported a year-on-year increase in comprehensive income of $34.9 million.  BITCOIN Bitcoin, Ether Bounce After Disastrous Week for Crypto Market Omkar Godbole2 hours ago The battered crypto market is showing signs of life amid bargain hunting by wealthy investors.  CBDC South Korea’s Central Bank to Choose Supplier for Digital Currency Pilot Jamie Crawley3 hours ago The Bank of Korea is looking for a technology supplier to explore a digital currency in a test environment.  PWC Crypto Hedge Funds Show Growing Appetite for DeFi: PwC Ian AllisonYesterday at 8:00 p.m. Crypto hedge funds had $3.8 billion in assets under management in 2020. Chainlink, Polkadot and Aave tokens proved popular.  BITCOIN Bitcoin, Ether Now Down 50% From Last Month’s ATHs as Rout Resumes Kevin ReynoldsBradley KeounMuyao ShenOmkar GodboleYesterday at 1:38 p.m. Even if Huobi is the specific catalyst for today's plunge, it's just the latest negative news in the sector that has been battered in the last few weeks.  CHINA Huobi Scales Back Due to China Crackdown; Bitcoin Falls Below $32K, Ether Past $2K David PanYesterday at 9:59 a.m. The exchange made the move on the heels of a series of crackdown notices from Bejing in recent weeks.  DEFI People Behind Crypto Protocol DeFi100 May Have Absconded With $32M in Investor Funds Kevin ReynoldsMay 22, 2021 A not-so-classy message on the DeFi100.org website told investors they'd been fooled and "you can't do [the slightest thing] about it."  GOLDMAN SACHS Goldman’s Crypto Chief Worries About Fraud, but Not Cryptocurrency’s Future James RubinMay 22, 2021 The investment banking giant’s Mathew McDermott said the company would continue to expand its offerings in the cryptocurrency space to meet surging demand.  Bitcoin From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search "₿" redirects here. It is not to be confused with "฿" for Thai baht. Bitcoin Prevailing bitcoin logo Denominations Plural bitcoins Symbol ₿ (Unicode: U+20BF ₿ BITCOIN SIGN (HTML ₿))[a] Ticker symbol BTC, XBT[b] Precision 10−8 Subunits 1⁄1000 millibitcoin 1⁄100000000 satoshi[2] Development Original author(s) Satoshi Nakamoto White paper "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System"[4] Implementation(s) Bitcoin Core Initial release 0.1.0 / 9 January 2009 (12 years ago) Latest release 0.21.1 / 2 May 2021 (20 days ago)[3] Code repository https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin Development status Active Website bitcoin.org Ledger Ledger start 3 January 2009 (12 years ago) Timestamping scheme Proof-of-work (partial hash inversion) Hash function SHA-256 Issuance schedule Decentralized (block reward) Initially ₿50 per block, halved every 210,000 blocks[7] Block reward ₿6.25[c] Block time 10 minutes Block explorer Many implementations Circulating supply ₿18,660,000 (as of 20 March 2021) Supply limit ₿21,000,000[5][d] a. ^ The symbol was encoded in Unicode version 10.0 at position U+20BF ₿ BITCOIN SIGN in the Currency Symbols block in June 2017.[1] b. ^ Compatible with ISO 4217. c. ^ May 2020 to approximately 2024, halved approximately every four years d. ^ The supply will approach, but never reach, ₿21 million. Issuance will permanently halt c. 2140 at ₿20,999,999.9769.[6]:ch. 8 This article contains special characters. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols. Bitcoin (₿) is a cryptocurrency invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.[8] The currency began use in 2009[9] when its implementation was released as open-source software.[6]:ch. 1 Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, without a central bank or single administrator, that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.[7] Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services,[10] but the real-world value of the coins is extremely volatile.[11] Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimated that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.[12] Users choose to participate in the digital currency for a number of reasons: ideologies such as commitment to anarchism, decentralization and libertarianism, convenience, using the currency as an investment and pseudonymity of transactions. Increased use has led to a desire among governments for regulation in order to tax, facilitate legal use in trade and for other reasons (such as investigations for money laundering and price manipulation). Bitcoin has been criticized for its use in illegal transactions, the large amount of electricity (and thus carbon footprint) used by mining, price volatility, and thefts from exchanges. Some economists and commentators have characterized it as a speculative bubble at various times. Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, although several regulatory agencies have issued investor alerts about bitcoin.[11][13][14] The word bitcoin was defined in a white paper published on 31 October 2008.[4][15] It is a compound of the words bit and coin.[16] No uniform convention for bitcoin capitalization exists; some sources use Bitcoin, capitalized, to refer to the technology and network and bitcoin, lowercase, for the unit of account.[17] The Wall Street Journal,[18] The Chronicle of Higher Education,[19] and the Oxford English Dictionary[16] advocate use of lowercase bitcoin in all cases. Contents 1 History 1.1 Creation 1.2 2011–2012 1.3 2013–2016 1.4 2017–2019 1.5 2020–present 2 Design 2.1 Units and divisibility 2.2 Blockchain 2.3 Supply 2.4 Transactions 2.5 Ownership 2.6 Mining 2.7 Wallets 2.8 Decentralization 2.9 Privacy & Fungibility 3 Ideology 3.1 Austrian economics roots 3.2 Anarchism and libertarianism 4 Economics 4.1 Acceptance by merchants 4.2 Financial institutions 4.3 As an investment 4.4 Venture capital 4.5 Price and volatility 5 Legal status, tax and regulation 5.1 Regulatory warnings 5.2 Price manipulation investigation 6 Analysis 6.1 Economic concerns 6.2 Energy consumption and carbon footprint 6.3 Use in illegal transactions 7 Software implementation 8 In popular culture 8.1 Term "HODL" 8.2 Literature 8.3 Film 8.4 Academia 9 See also 10 Notes 11 References 12 External links History Main article: History of bitcoin Creation The domain name bitcoin.org was registered on 18 August 2008.[20] On 31 October 2008, a link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System[4] was posted to a cryptography mailing list.[21] Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin software as open-source code and released it in January 2009.[22][23][9] Nakamoto's identity remains unknown.[8] On 3 January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the starting block of the chain, known as the genesis block.[24][25] Embedded in the coinbase of this block was the text "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks".[9] This note references a headline published by The Times and has been interpreted as both a timestamp and a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.[26]:18 The receiver of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who had created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPoW) in 2004.[27] Finney downloaded the bitcoin software on its release date, and on 12 January 2009 received ten bitcoins from Nakamoto.[28][29] Other early cypherpunk supporters were creators of bitcoin predecessors: Wei Dai, creator of b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of bit gold.[24] In 2010, the first known commercial transaction using bitcoin occurred when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John's pizzas for ₿10,000.[30] Blockchain analysts estimate that Nakamoto had mined about one million bitcoins[31] before disappearing in 2010 when he handed the network alert key and control of the code repository over to Gavin Andresen. Andresen later became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation.[32][33] Andresen then sought to decentralize control. This left opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development path of bitcoin, in contrast to the perceived authority of Nakamoto's contributions.[34][33] 2011–2012 After early "proof-of-concept" transactions, the first major users of bitcoin were black markets, such as Silk Road. During its 30 months of existence, beginning in February 2011, Silk Road exclusively accepted bitcoins as payment, transacting 9.9 million in bitcoins, worth about $214 million.[35]:222 In 2011, the price started at $0.30 per bitcoin, growing to $5.27 for the year. The price rose to $31.50 on 8 June. Within a month, the price fell to $11.00. The next month it fell to $7.80, and in another month to $4.77.[36] In 2012, bitcoin prices started at $5.27, growing to $13.30 for the year.[36] By 9 January the price had risen to $7.38, but then crashed by 49% to $3.80 over the next 16 days. The price then rose to $16.41 on 17 August, but fell by 57% to $7.10 over the next three days.[37] The Bitcoin Foundation was founded in September 2012 to promote bitcoin's development and uptake.[38] On 1 November 2011, the reference implementation Bitcoin-Qt version 0.5.0 was released. It introduced a front end that used the Qt user interface toolkit.[39] The software previously used Berkeley DB for database management. Developers switched to LevelDB in release 0.8 in order to reduce blockchain synchronization time.[citation needed] The update to this release resulted in a minor blockchain fork on 11 March 2013. The fork was resolved shortly afterwards.[citation needed] Seeding nodes through IRC was discontinued in version 0.8.2. From version 0.9.0 the software was renamed to Bitcoin Core. Transaction fees were reduced again by a factor of ten as a means to encourage microtransactions.[citation needed] Although Bitcoin Core does not use OpenSSL for the operation of the network, the software did use OpenSSL for remote procedure calls. Version 0.9.1 was released to remove the network's vulnerability to the Heartbleed bug.[citation needed] 2013–2016 In 2013, prices started at $13.30 rising to $770 by 1 January 2014.[36] In March 2013 the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with different rules due to a bug in version 0.8 of the bitcoin software. The two blockchains operated simultaneously for six hours, each with its own version of the transaction history from the moment of the split. Normal operation was restored when the majority of the network downgraded to version 0.7 of the bitcoin software, selecting the backwards-compatible version of the blockchain. As a result, this blockchain became the longest chain and could be accepted by all participants, regardless of their bitcoin software version.[40] During the split, the Mt. Gox exchange briefly halted bitcoin deposits and the price dropped by 23% to $37[40][41] before recovering to the previous level of approximately $48 in the following hours.[42] The US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) established regulatory guidelines for "decentralized virtual currencies" such as bitcoin, classifying American bitcoin miners who sell their generated bitcoins as Money Service Businesses (MSBs), that are subject to registration or other legal obligations.[43][44][45] In April, exchanges BitInstant and Mt. Gox experienced processing delays due to insufficient capacity[46] resulting in the bitcoin price dropping from $266 to $76 before returning to $160 within six hours.[47] The bitcoin price rose to $259 on 10 April, but then crashed by 83% to $45 over the next three days.[37] On 15 May 2013, US authorities seized accounts associated with Mt. Gox after discovering it had not registered as a money transmitter with FinCEN in the US.[48][49] On 23 June 2013, the US Drug Enforcement Administration listed ₿11.02 as a seized asset in a United States Department of Justice seizure notice pursuant to 21 U.S.C. § 881. This marked the first time a government agency had seized bitcoin.[50] The FBI seized about ₿30,000[51] in October 2013 from the dark web website Silk Road, following the arrest of Ross William Ulbricht.[52][53][54] These bitcoins were sold at blind auction by the United States Marshals Service to venture capital investor Tim Draper.[51] Bitcoin's price rose to $755 on 19 November and crashed by 50% to $378 the same day. On 30 November 2013, the price reached $1,163 before starting a long-term crash, declining by 87% to $152 in January 2015.[37] On 5 December 2013, the People's Bank of China prohibited Chinese financial institutions from using bitcoins.[55] After the announcement, the value of bitcoins dropped,[56] and Baidu no longer accepted bitcoins for certain services.[57] Buying real-world goods with any virtual currency had been illegal in China since at least 2009.[58] In 2014, prices started at $770 and fell to $314 for the year.[36] On 30 July 2014, the Wikimedia Foundation started accepting donations of bitcoin.[59] In 2015, prices started at $314 and rose to $434 for the year. In 2016, prices rose and climbed up to $998 by 1 January 2017.[36] Release 0.10 of the software was made public on 16 February 2015. It introduced a consensus library which gave programmers easy access to the rules governing consensus on the network. In version 0.11.2 developers added a new feature which allowed transactions to be made unspendable until a specific time in the future.[60] Bitcoin Core 0.12.1 was released on 15 April 2016, and enabled multiple soft forks to occur concurrently.[61] Around 100 contributors worked on Bitcoin Core 0.13.0 which was released on 23 August 2016. In July 2016, the CheckSequenceVerify soft fork activated.[62] In October 2016, Bitcoin Core's 0.13.1 release featured the "Segwit" soft fork that included a scaling improvement aiming to optimize the bitcoin blocksize.[citation needed] The patch which was originally finalised in April, and 35 developers were engaged to deploy it.[citation needed] This release featured Segregated Witness (SegWit) which aimed to place downward pressure on transaction fees as well as increase the maximum transaction capacity of the network.[63][non-primary source needed] The 0.13.1 release endured extensive testing and research leading to some delays in its release date.[citation needed] SegWit prevents various forms of transaction malleability.[64][non-primary source needed] 2017–2019 On 15 July 2017, the controversial Segregated Witness [SegWit] software upgrade was approved ("locked-in"). Segwit was intended to support the Lightning Network as well as improve scalability.[65] SegWit was subsequently activated on the network on 24 August 2017. The bitcoin price rose almost 50% in the week following SegWit's approval.[65] On 21 July 2017, bitcoin was trading at $2,748, up 52% from 14 July 2017's $1,835.[65] Supporters of large blocks who were dissatisfied with the activation of SegWit forked the software on 1 August 2017 to create Bitcoin Cash, becoming one of many forks of bitcoin such as Bitcoin Gold.[66] Prices started at $998 in 2017 and rose to $13,412.44 on 1 January 2018,[36] after reaching its all-time high of $19,783.06 on 17 December 2017.[67] China banned trading in bitcoin, with first steps taken in September 2017, and a complete ban that started on 1 February 2018. Bitcoin prices then fell from $9,052 to $6,914 on 5 February 2018.[37] The percentage of bitcoin trading in the Chinese renminbi fell from over 90% in September 2017 to less than 1% in June 2018.[68] Throughout the rest of the first half of 2018, bitcoin's price fluctuated between $11,480 and $5,848. On 1 July 2018, bitcoin's price was $6,343.[69][70] The price on 1 January 2019 was $3,747, down 72% for 2018 and down 81% since the all-time high.[69][71] In September 2018, an anonymous party discovered and reported an invalid-block denial-of-server vulnerability to developers of Bitcoin Core, Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin Unlimited. Further analysis by bitcoin developers showed the issue could also allow the creation of blocks violating the 21 million coin limit and CVE-2018-17144 was assigned and the issue resolved.[72][non-primary source needed] Bitcoin prices were negatively affected by several hacks or thefts from cryptocurrency exchanges, including thefts from Coincheck in January 2018, Bithumb in June, and Bancor in July. For the first six months of 2018, $761 million worth of cryptocurrencies was reported stolen from exchanges.[73] Bitcoin's price was affected even though other cryptocurrencies were stolen at Coinrail and Bancor as investors worried about the security of cryptocurrency exchanges.[74][75][76] In September 2019 the Intercontinental Exchange (the owner of the NYSE) began trading of bitcoin futures on its exchange called Bakkt.[77] Bakkt also announced that it would launch options on bitcoin in December 2019.[78] In December 2019, YouTube removed bitcoin and cryptocurrency videos, but later restored the content after judging they had "made the wrong call."[79] In February 2019, Canadian cryptocurrency exchange Quadriga Fintech Solutions failed with approximately $200 million missing.[80] By June 2019 the price had recovered to $13,000.[81] 2020–present According to CoinMetrics and Forbes, on 11 March 281,000 bitcoins were sold by owners who held them for only thirty days. This compared to ₿4,131 that had laid dormant for a year or more, indicating that the vast majority of the bitcoin volatility on that day was from recent buyers.[81] During the week of 11 March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken experienced an 83% increase in the number of account signups over the week of bitcoin's price collapse, a result of buyers looking to capitalize on the low price.[81] On 13 March 2020, bitcoin fell below $4000 during a broad COVID-19 pandemic related market selloff, after trading above $10,000 in February 2020.[82] In August 2020, MicroStrategy invested $250 million in bitcoin as a treasury reserve asset.[83] In October 2020, Square, Inc. put approximately 1% of their total assets ($50 million) in bitcoin.[84] In November 2020, PayPal announced that all users in the US could buy, hold, or sell bitcoin using PayPal.[85] On 30 November 2020, bitcoin hit a new all-time high of $19,860 topping the previous high from December 2017.[86] Alexander Vinnik, founder of BTC-e, was convicted and sentenced to 5 years in prison for money laundering in France while refusing to testify during his trial.[87] In December 2020 Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company announced it has purchased $100 million in bitcoin, or roughly 0.04% of its general investment account.[88] On 19 January 2021, Elon Musk placed #Bitcoin in his Twitter profile tweeting "In retrospect, it was inevitable", which caused the price to briefly rise about $5000 in an hour to $37,299.[89] On 25 January 2021 Microstrategy announced it continued to buy bitcoin and as of the same date it had holdings of ₿70,784 worth $2.38 billion.[90] On 8 February 2021 Tesla's announcement that it had purchased $1.5 billion in bitcoin and planned to start accepting bitcoin as payment for vehicles pushed the bitcoin price to an all-time high of $44,141.[91] On 18 February 2021, Elon Musk said that "owning bitcoin was only a little better than holding conventional cash, but that the slight difference made it a better asset to hold".[92] It was announced in September 2020, that the Canton of Zug (in Switzerland) will start to accept tax payments in bitcoin from February 2021.[93][94] Design  Graph of the elliptic curve named secp256k1 over the algebraic number field of real numbers,   2 Bitcoin is based on an elliptic curve called secp256k1 and encrypted with the ECDSA algorithm.[95][better source needed] The equation for the Bitcoin secp256k1 curve is   2=  3+7.[96][better source needed] Bitcoin has a proposed Bitcoin Improvement Proposal (BIP) that would add support for Schnorr signatures.[97]:101 Units and divisibility The unit of account of the bitcoin system is a bitcoin. Ticker symbols used to represent bitcoin are BTC[a] and XBT.[b][101]:2 Its Unicode character is ₿.[1] Small amounts of bitcoin used as alternative units are millibitcoin (mBTC), and satoshi (sat). Named in homage to bitcoin's creator, a satoshi is the smallest amount within bitcoin representing 1⁄100000000 bitcoins, one hundred millionth of a bitcoin.[2] A millibitcoin equals 1⁄1000 bitcoins; one thousandth of a bitcoin or 100,000 satoshis.[102] Blockchain  Data structure of blocks in the ledger.  Number of bitcoin transactions per month, semilogarithmic plot[103]  Number of unspent transaction outputs[104] For broader coverage of this topic, see Blockchain. The bitcoin blockchain is a public ledger that records bitcoin transactions.[105] It is implemented as a chain of blocks, each block containing a hash of the previous block up to the genesis block[c] of the chain. A network of communicating nodes running bitcoin software maintains the blockchain.[35]:215–219 Transactions of the form payer X sends Y bitcoins to payee Z are broadcast to this network using readily available software applications. Network nodes can validate transactions, add them to their copy of the ledger, and then broadcast these ledger additions to other nodes. To achieve independent verification of the chain of ownership each network node stores its own copy of the blockchain.[106] At varying intervals of time averaging to every 10 minutes, a new group of accepted transactions, called a block, is created, added to the blockchain, and quickly published to all nodes, without requiring central oversight. This allows bitcoin software to determine when a particular bitcoin was spent, which is needed to prevent double-spending. A conventional ledger records the transfers of actual bills or promissory notes that exist apart from it, but the blockchain is the only place that bitcoins can be said to exist in the form of unspent outputs of transactions.[6]:ch. 5 Individual blocks, public addresses and transactions within blocks can be examined using a blockchain explorer.[citation needed] Supply This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2021) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)  Total bitcoins in circulation.[104] The successful miner finding the new block is allowed by the rest of the network to reward themselves with newly created bitcoins and transaction fees.[107] As of 11 May 2020,[citation needed] the reward amounted to 6.25 newly created bitcoins per block added to the blockchain,[citation needed] plus any transaction fees from payments processed by the block. To mine half of the supply of bitcoins took four years but the remainder will take another 120 years, because of an artificial process called "bitcoin halving" according to which miners are compensated by fewer BTC as time goes on.[citation needed] To claim the reward, a special transaction called a coinbase is included with the processed payments.[6]:ch. 8 All bitcoins in existence have been created in such coinbase transactions. The bitcoin protocol specifies that the reward for adding a block will be halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every four years). Eventually, the reward will decrease to zero, and the limit of 21 million bitcoins[d] will be reached c. 2140; the record keeping will then be rewarded solely by transaction fees.[108] In other words, Nakamoto set a monetary policy based on artificial scarcity at bitcoin's inception that the total number of bitcoins could never exceed 21 million. New bitcoins are created roughly every ten minutes and the rate at which they are generated drops by half about every four years until all will be in circulation.[109] Transactions See also: Bitcoin network Transactions are defined using a Forth-like scripting language.[6]:ch. 5 Transactions consist of one or more inputs and one or more outputs. When a user sends bitcoins, the user designates each address and the amount of bitcoin being sent to that address in an output. To prevent double spending, each input must refer to a previous unspent output in the blockchain.[110] The use of multiple inputs corresponds to the use of multiple coins in a cash transaction. Since transactions can have multiple outputs, users can send bitcoins to multiple recipients in one transaction. As in a cash transaction, the sum of inputs (coins used to pay) can exceed the intended sum of payments. In such a case, an additional output is used, returning the change back to the payer.[110] Any input satoshis not accounted for in the transaction outputs become the transaction fee.[110] Though transaction fees are optional, miners can choose which transactions to process and prioritize those that pay higher fees.[110] Miners may choose transactions based on the fee paid relative to their storage size, not the absolute amount of money paid as a fee. These fees are generally measured in satoshis per byte (sat/b). The size of transactions is dependent on the number of inputs used to create the transaction, and the number of outputs.[6]:ch. 8 The blocks in the blockchain were originally limited to 32 megabytes in size. The block size limit of one megabyte was introduced by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2010. Eventually the block size limit of one megabyte created problems for transaction processing, such as increasing transaction fees and delayed processing of transactions.[111] Andreas Antonopoulos has stated Lightning Network is a potential scaling solution and referred to lightning as a second layer routing network.[6]:ch. 8 Ownership  Simplified chain of ownership as illustrated in the bitcoin whitepaper.[4] In practice, a transaction can have more than one input and more than one output.[110] In the blockchain, bitcoins are registered to bitcoin addresses. Creating a bitcoin address requires nothing more than picking a random valid private key and computing the corresponding bitcoin address. This computation can be done in a split second. But the reverse, computing the private key of a given bitcoin address, is practically unfeasible.[6]:ch. 4 Users can tell others or make public a bitcoin address without compromising its corresponding private key. Moreover, the number of valid private keys is so vast that it is extremely unlikely someone will compute a key-pair that is already in use and has funds. The vast number of valid private keys makes it unfeasible that brute force could be used to compromise a private key. To be able to spend their bitcoins, the owner must know the corresponding private key and digitally sign the transaction. The network verifies the signature using the public key; the private key is never revealed.[6]:ch. 5 If the private key is lost, the bitcoin network will not recognize any other evidence of ownership;[35] the coins are then unusable, and effectively lost. For example, in 2013 one user claimed to have lost 7,500 bitcoins, worth $7.5 million at the time, when he accidentally discarded a hard drive containing his private key.[112] About 20% of all bitcoins are believed to be lost -they would have had a market value of about $20 billion at July 2018 prices.[113] To ensure the security of bitcoins, the private key must be kept secret.[6]:ch. 10 If the private key is revealed to a third party, e.g. through a data breach, the third party can use it to steal any associated bitcoins.[114] As of December 2017, around 980,000 bitcoins have been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges.[115] Regarding ownership distribution, as of 16 March 2018, 0.5% of bitcoin wallets own 87% of all bitcoins ever mined.[116] Mining See also: Bitcoin network § Mining  Early bitcoin miners used GPUs for mining, as they were better suited to the proof-of-work algorithm than CPUs.[117]  Later amateurs mined bitcoins with specialized FPGA and ASIC chips. The chips pictured have become obsolete due to increasing difficulty.  Today, bitcoin mining companies dedicate facilities to housing and operating large amounts of high-performance mining hardware.[118]  Semi-log plot of relative mining difficulty[e][104] Mining is a record-keeping service done through the use of computer processing power.[f] Miners keep the blockchain consistent, complete, and unalterable by repeatedly grouping newly broadcast transactions into a block, which is then broadcast to the network and verified by recipient nodes.[105] Each block contains a SHA-256 cryptographic hash of the previous block,[105] thus linking it to the previous block and giving the blockchain its name.[6]:ch. 7[105] To be accepted by the rest of the network, a new block must contain a proof-of-work (PoW).[105] The system used is based on Adam Back's 1997 anti-spam scheme, Hashcash.[120][failed verification][4] The PoW requires miners to find a number called a nonce, such that when the block content is hashed along with the nonce, the result is numerically smaller than the network's difficulty target.[6]:ch. 8 This proof is easy for any node in the network to verify, but extremely time-consuming to generate, as for a secure cryptographic hash, miners must try many different nonce values (usually the sequence of tested values is the ascending natural numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3, ...[6]:ch. 8) before meeting the difficulty target. Every 2,016 blocks (approximately 14 days at roughly 10 min per block), the difficulty target is adjusted based on the network's recent performance, with the aim of keeping the average time between new blocks at ten minutes. In this way the system automatically adapts to the total amount of mining power on the network.[6]:ch. 8 Between 1 March 2014 and 1 March 2015, the average number of nonces miners had to try before creating a new block increased from 16.4 quintillion to 200.5 quintillion.[121] The proof-of-work system, alongside the chaining of blocks, makes modifications of the blockchain extremely hard, as an attacker must modify all subsequent blocks in order for the modifications of one block to be accepted.[122] As new blocks are mined all the time, the difficulty of modifying a block increases as time passes and the number of subsequent blocks (also called confirmations of the given block) increases.[105] Computing power is often bundled together by a Mining pool to reduce variance in miner income. Individual mining rigs often have to wait for long periods to confirm a block of transactions and receive payment. In a pool, all participating miners get paid every time a participating server solves a block. This payment depends on the amount of work an individual miner contributed to help find that block.[123] Wallets For broader coverage of this topic, see Cryptocurrency wallet.  Bitcoin Core, a full client  Electrum, a lightweight client The first wallet program, simply named Bitcoin, and sometimes referred to as the Satoshi client, was released in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto as open-source software.[9] In version 0.5 the client moved from the wxWidgets user interface toolkit to Qt, and the whole bundle was referred to as Bitcoin-Qt.[124] After the release of version 0.9, the software bundle was renamed Bitcoin Core to distinguish itself from the underlying network.[125][126] Bitcoin Core is, perhaps, the best known implementation or client. Alternative clients (forks of Bitcoin Core) exist, such as Bitcoin XT, Bitcoin Unlimited,[34] and Parity Bitcoin.[127] List of bitcoin forks A wallet stores the information necessary to transact bitcoins. While wallets are often described as a place to hold[128] or store bitcoins, due to the nature of the system, bitcoins are inseparable from the blockchain transaction ledger. A wallet is more correctly defined as something that "stores the digital credentials for your bitcoin holdings" and allows one to access (and spend) them.[6]:ch. 1, glossary Bitcoin uses public-key cryptography, in which two cryptographic keys, one public and one private, are generated.[129] At its most basic, a wallet is a collection of these keys. There are several modes which wallets can operate in. They have an inverse relationship with regards to trustlessness and computational requirements. * Full clients verify transactions directly by downloading a full copy of the blockchain (over 150 GB as of January 2018).[130] They are the most secure and reliable way of using the network, as trust in external parties is not required. Full clients check the validity of mined blocks, preventing them from transacting on a chain that breaks or alters network rules.[6]:ch. 1 Because of its size and complexity, downloading and verifying the entire blockchain is not suitable for all computing devices. * Lightweight clients consult full nodes to send and receive transactions without requiring a local copy of the entire blockchain (see simplified payment verification – SPV). This makes lightweight clients much faster to set up and allows them to be used on low-power, low-bandwidth devices such as smartphones. When using a lightweight wallet, however, the user must trust full nodes, as it can report faulty values back to the user. Lightweight clients follow the longest blockchain and do not ensure it is valid, requiring trust in full nodes.[131] Third-party internet services called online wallets offer similar functionality but may be easier to use. In this case, credentials to access funds are stored with the online wallet provider rather than on the user's hardware.[132] As a result, the user must have complete trust in the online wallet provider. A malicious provider or a breach in server security may cause entrusted bitcoins to be stolen. An example of such a security breach occurred with Mt. Gox in 2011.[133]  A paper wallet with a banknote-like design. Both the private key and the address are visible in text form and as 2D barcodes.  A paper wallet with the address visible for adding or checking stored funds. The part of the page containing the private key is folded over and sealed.  A brass token with a private key hidden beneath a tamper-evident security hologram. A part of the address is visible through a transparent part of the hologram.  A hardware wallet peripheral which processes bitcoin payments without exposing any credentials to the computer. Physical wallets store the credentials necessary to spend bitcoins offline and can be as simple as a paper printout of the private key:[6]:ch. 10 a paper wallet or more advanced such as a hardware wallet. A paper wallet is created with a keypair generated on a computer with no internet connection; the private key is written or printed onto the paper[g] and then erased from the computer. The paper wallet can then be stored in a safe physical location for later retrieval. Bitcoins stored using a paper wallet are said to be in cold storage.[134]:39 Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the founders of the Gemini Trust Co. exchange, reported that they had cut their paper wallets into pieces and stored them in envelopes distributed to safe deposit boxes across the United States.[135] Through this system, the theft of one envelope would neither allow the thief to steal any bitcoins nor deprive the rightful owners of their access to them.[136] Physical wallets can also take the form of metal token coins[137] with a private key accessible under a security hologram in a recess struck on the reverse side.[138]:38 The security hologram self-destructs when removed from the token, showing that the private key has been accessed.[139] Originally, these tokens were struck in brass and other base metals, but later used precious metals as bitcoin grew in value and popularity.[138]:80 Coins with stored face value as high as ₿1000 have been struck in gold.[138]:102–104 The British Museum's coin collection includes four specimens from the earliest series[138]:83 of funded bitcoin tokens; one is currently on display in the museum's money gallery.[140] In 2013, a Utahn manufacturer of these tokens was ordered by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to register as a money services business before producing any more funded bitcoin tokens.[137][138]:80 Another type of physical wallet called a hardware wallet keeps credentials offline while facilitating transactions.[141] The hardware wallet acts as a computer peripheral and signs transactions as requested by the user, who must press a button on the wallet to confirm that they intended to make the transaction. Hardware wallets never expose their private keys, keeping bitcoins in cold storage even when used with computers that may be compromised by malware.[134]:42–45 Decentralization Bitcoin is decentralized thus:[7] * Bitcoin does not have a central authority.[7] * There is no central server; the bitcoin network is peer-to-peer.[9] * There is no central storage; the bitcoin ledger is distributed.[142] * The ledger is public; anybody can store it on their computer.[6]:ch. 1 * There is no single administrator;[7] the ledger is maintained by a network of equally privileged miners.[6]:ch. 1 * Anybody can become a miner.[6]:ch. 1 * The additions to the ledger are maintained through competition. Until a new block is added to the ledger, it is not known which miner will create the block.[6]:ch. 1 * The issuance of bitcoins is decentralized. They are issued as a reward for the creation of a new block.[107] * Anybody can create a new bitcoin address (a bitcoin counterpart of a bank account) without needing any approval.[6]:ch. 1 * Anybody can send a transaction to the network without needing any approval; the network merely confirms that the transaction is legitimate.[143]:32 Conversely, researchers have pointed out at a "trend towards centralization". Although bitcoin can be sent directly from user to user, in practice intermediaries are widely used.[35]:220–222 Bitcoin miners join large mining pools to minimize the variance of their income.[35]:215, 219–222[144]:3[145] Because transactions on the network are confirmed by miners, decentralization of the network requires that no single miner or mining pool obtains 51% of the hashing power, which would allow them to double-spend coins, prevent certain transactions from being verified and prevent other miners from earning income.[146] As of 2013 just six mining pools controlled 75% of overall bitcoin hashing power.[146] In 2014 mining pool Ghash.io obtained 51% hashing power which raised significant controversies about the safety of the network. The pool has voluntarily capped their hashing power at 39.99% and requested other pools to act responsibly for the benefit of the whole network.[147] Around the year 2017, over 70% of the hashing power and 90% of transactions were operating from China.[148] According to researchers, other parts of the ecosystem are also "controlled by a small set of entities", notably the maintenance of the client software, online wallets and simplified payment verification (SPV) clients.[146] Privacy & Fungibility Bitcoin is pseudonymous, meaning that funds are not tied to real-world entities but rather bitcoin addresses. Owners of bitcoin addresses are not explicitly identified, but all transactions on the blockchain are public. In addition, transactions can be linked to individuals and companies through "idioms of use" (e.g., transactions that spend coins from multiple inputs indicate that the inputs may have a common owner) and corroborating public transaction data with known information on owners of certain addresses.[149] Additionally, bitcoin exchanges, where bitcoins are traded for traditional currencies, may be required by law to collect personal information.[150] To heighten financial privacy, a new bitcoin address can be generated for each transaction.[151] Wallets and similar software technically handle all bitcoins as equivalent, establishing the basic level of fungibility. Researchers have pointed out that the history of each bitcoin is registered and publicly available in the blockchain ledger, and that some users may refuse to accept bitcoins coming from controversial transactions, which would harm bitcoin's fungibility.[152] For example, in 2012, Mt. Gox froze accounts of users who deposited bitcoins that were known to have just been stolen.[153] Ideology Satoshi Nakamoto stated in his white paper that: "The root problem with conventional currencies is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust."[154] Austrian economics roots According to the European Central Bank, the decentralization of money offered by bitcoin has its theoretical roots in the Austrian school of economics, especially with Friedrich von Hayek in his book Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined,[155] in which Hayek advocates a complete free market in the production, distribution and management of money to end the monopoly of central banks.[156]:22 Anarchism and libertarianism Further information: Crypto-anarchism According to The New York Times, libertarians and anarchists were attracted to the philosophical idea behind bitcoin. Early bitcoin supporter Roger Ver said: "At first, almost everyone who got involved did so for philosophical reasons. We saw bitcoin as a great idea, as a way to separate money from the state."[154] The Economist describes bitcoin as "a techno-anarchist project to create an online version of cash, a way for people to transact without the possibility of interference from malicious governments or banks".[157] Economist Paul Krugman argues that cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are "something of a cult" based in "paranoid fantasies" of government power.[158] External video  The Declaration Of Bitcoin's Independence, BraveTheWorld, 4:38[159] Nigel Dodd argues in The Social Life of Bitcoin that the essence of the bitcoin ideology is to remove money from social, as well as governmental, control.[160] Dodd quotes a YouTube video, with Roger Ver, Jeff Berwick, Charlie Shrem, Andreas Antonopoulos, Gavin Wood, Trace Meyer and other proponents of bitcoin reading The Declaration of Bitcoin's Independence. The declaration includes a message of crypto-anarchism with the words: "Bitcoin is inherently anti-establishment, anti-system, and anti-state. Bitcoin undermines governments and disrupts institutions because bitcoin is fundamentally humanitarian."[160][159] David Golumbia says that the ideas influencing bitcoin advocates emerge from right-wing extremist movements such as the Liberty Lobby and the John Birch Society and their anti-Central Bank rhetoric, or, more recently, Ron Paul and Tea Party-style libertarianism.[161] Steve Bannon, who owns a "good stake" in bitcoin, considers it to be "disruptive populism. It takes control back from central authorities. It's revolutionary."[162] A 2014 study of Google Trends data found correlations between bitcoin-related searches and ones related to computer programming and illegal activity, but not libertarianism or investment topics.[163] Economics Main article: Economics of bitcoin  Liquidity,[h] semilogarithmic plot.[104] Bitcoin is a digital asset designed to work in peer-to-peer transactions as a currency.[4][164] Bitcoins have three qualities useful in a currency, according to The Economist in January 2015: they are "hard to earn, limited in supply and easy to verify."[165] Per some researchers, as of 2015, bitcoin functions more as a payment system than as a currency.[35] Economists define money as serving the following three purposes: a store of value, a medium of exchange, and a unit of account.[166] According to The Economist in 2014, bitcoin functions best as a medium of exchange.[166] However, this is debated, and a 2018 assessment by The Economist stated that cryptocurrencies met none of these three criteria.[157] Yale economist Robert J. Shiller writes that bitcoin has potential as a unit of account for measuring the relative value of goods, as with Chile's Unidad de Fomento, but that "Bitcoin in its present form [...] doesn't really solve any sensible economic problem".[167] According to research by Cambridge University, between 2.9 million and 5.8 million unique users used a cryptocurrency wallet in 2017, most of them for bitcoin. The number of users has grown significantly since 2013, when there were 300,000–1.3 million users.[12] Acceptance by merchants The overwhelming majority of bitcoin transactions take place on a cryptocurrency exchange, rather than being used in transactions with merchants.[168] Delays processing payments through the blockchain of about ten minutes make bitcoin use very difficult in a retail setting. Prices are not usually quoted in units of bitcoin and many trades involve one, or sometimes two, conversions into conventional currencies.[35] Merchants that do accept bitcoin payments may use payment service providers to perform the conversions.[169] In 2017 and 2018 bitcoin's acceptance among major online retailers included only three of the top 500 U.S. online merchants, down from five in 2016.[168] Reasons for this decline include high transaction fees due to bitcoin's scalability issues and long transaction times.[170] Bloomberg reported that the largest 17 crypto merchant-processing services handled $69 million in June 2018, down from $411 million in September 2017. Bitcoin is "not actually usable" for retail transactions because of high costs and the inability to process chargebacks, according to Nicholas Weaver, a researcher quoted by Bloomberg. High price volatility and transaction fees make paying for small retail purchases with bitcoin impractical, according to economist Kim Grauer. However, bitcoin continues to be used for large-item purchases on sites such as Overstock.com, and for cross-border payments to freelancers and other vendors.[171] Financial institutions Bitcoins can be bought on digital currency exchanges. Per researchers, "there is little sign of bitcoin use" in international remittances despite high fees charged by banks and Western Union who compete in this market.[35] The South China Morning Post, however, mentions the use of bitcoin by Hong Kong workers to transfer money home.[172] In 2014, the National Australia Bank closed accounts of businesses with ties to bitcoin,[173] and HSBC refused to serve a hedge fund with links to bitcoin.[174] Australian banks in general have been reported as closing down bank accounts of operators of businesses involving the currency.[175] On 10 December 2017, the Chicago Board Options Exchange started trading bitcoin futures,[176] followed by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which started trading bitcoin futures on 17 December 2017.[177] In September 2019 the Central Bank of Venezuela, at the request of PDVSA, ran tests to determine if bitcoin and ether could be held in central bank's reserves. The request was motivated by oil company's goal to pay its suppliers.[178] As an investment The Winklevoss twins have purchased bitcoin. In 2013, The Washington Post reported a claim that they owned 1% of all the bitcoins in existence at the time.[179] Other methods of investment are bitcoin funds. The first regulated bitcoin fund was established in Jersey in July 2014 and approved by the Jersey Financial Services Commission.[180] Forbes named bitcoin the best investment of 2013.[181] In 2014, Bloomberg named bitcoin one of its worst investments of the year.[182] In 2015, bitcoin topped Bloomberg's currency tables.[183] According to bitinfocharts.com, in 2017 there are 9,272 bitcoin wallets with more than $1 million worth of bitcoins.[184] The exact number of bitcoin millionaires is uncertain as a single person can have more than one bitcoin wallet. In August 2020, MicroStrategy invested in Bitcoin.[185][186] In May 2021, the Bitcoin's market share on exchanges dropped from 70% to 45% as investors pursued altcoins.[187] Venture capital Peter Thiel's Founders Fund invested US$3 million in BitPay.[188] In 2012, an incubator for bitcoin-focused start-ups was founded by Adam Draper, with financing help from his father, venture capitalist Tim Draper, one of the largest bitcoin holders after winning an auction of 30,000 bitcoins,[189] at the time called "mystery buyer".[190] The company's goal is to fund 100 bitcoin businesses within 2–3 years with $10,000 to $20,000 for a 6% stake.[189] Investors also invest in bitcoin mining.[191] According to a 2015 study by Paolo Tasca, bitcoin startups raised almost $1 billion in three years (Q1 2012 – Q1 2015).[192] Price and volatility  Price in US$, semilogarithmic plot.[104]  Annual volatility[103] The price of bitcoins has gone through cycles of appreciation and depreciation referred to by some as bubbles and busts.[193] In 2011, the value of one bitcoin rapidly rose from about US$0.30 to US$32 before returning to US$2.[194] In the latter half of 2012 and during the 2012–13 Cypriot financial crisis, the bitcoin price began to rise,[195] reaching a high of US$266 on 10 April 2013, before crashing to around US$50. On 29 November 2013, the cost of one bitcoin rose to a peak of US$1,242.[196] In 2014, the price fell sharply, and as of April remained depressed at little more than half 2013 prices. As of August 2014 it was under US$600.[197] According to Mark T. Williams, as of 30 September 2014, bitcoin has volatility seven times greater than gold, eight times greater than the S&P 500, and 18 times greater than the US dollar.[198] Hodl is a meme created in reference to holding (as opposed to selling) during periods of volatility. Unusual for an asset, bitcoin weekend trading during December 2020 was higher than for weekdays.[199] Hedge funds (using high leverage and derivates)[200] have attempted to use the volatility to profit from downward price movements. At the end of January 2021, such positions were over $1 billion, their highest of all time.[201][202] As of 8 February 2021, the closing price of bitcoin equals US$44,797.[203] Legal status, tax and regulation Further information: Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Because of bitcoin's decentralized nature and its trading on online exchanges located in many countries, regulation of bitcoin has been difficult. However, the use of bitcoin can be criminalized, and shutting down exchanges and the peer-to-peer economy in a given country would constitute a de facto ban.[204] The legal status of bitcoin varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems.[192] According to the Library of Congress, an "absolute ban" on trading or using cryptocurrencies applies in nine countries: Algeria, Bolivia, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates. An "implicit ban" applies in another 15 countries, which include Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lesotho, Lithuania, Macau, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.[205] In October 2020, the Islamic Republic News Agency announced pending regulations that would require bitcoin miners in Iran to sell bitcoin to the Central Bank of Iran, and the central bank would use it for imports.[206] Iran, as of October 2020, had issued over 1,000 bitcoin mining licenses.[206] The Iranian government initially took a stance against cryptocurrency, but later changed it after seeing that digital currency could be used to circumvent sanctions.[207] The US Office of Foreign Assets Control listed two Iranians and their bitcoin addresses as part of its Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List for their role in the 2018 Atlanta cyberattack whose ransom was paid in bitcoin.[208] Regulatory warnings The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has issued four "Customer Advisories" for bitcoin and related investments.[13] A July 2018 warning emphasized that trading in any cryptocurrency is often speculative, and there is a risk of theft from hacking, and fraud.[209] In May 2014 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission warned that investments involving bitcoin might have high rates of fraud, and that investors might be solicited on social media sites.[210] An earlier "Investor Alert" warned about the use of bitcoin in Ponzi schemes.[211] The European Banking Authority issued a warning in 2013 focusing on the lack of regulation of bitcoin, the chance that exchanges would be hacked, the volatility of bitcoin's price, and general fraud.[212] FINRA and the North American Securities Administrators Association have both issued investor alerts about bitcoin.[213][214] Price manipulation investigation An official investigation into bitcoin traders was reported in May 2018.[215] The U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation into possible price manipulation, including the techniques of spoofing and wash trades.[216][217][218] The U.S. federal investigation was prompted by concerns of possible manipulation during futures settlement dates. The final settlement price of CME bitcoin futures is determined by prices on four exchanges, Bitstamp, Coinbase, itBit and Kraken. Following the first delivery date in January 2018, the CME requested extensive detailed trading information but several of the exchanges refused to provide it and later provided only limited data. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission then subpoenaed the data from the exchanges.[219][220] State and provincial securities regulators, coordinated through the North American Securities Administrators Association, are investigating "bitcoin scams" and ICOs in 40 jurisdictions.[221] Academic research published in the Journal of Monetary Economics concluded that price manipulation occurred during the Mt Gox bitcoin theft and that the market remains vulnerable to manipulation.[222] The history of hacks, fraud and theft involving bitcoin dates back to at least 2011.[223] Research by John M. Griffin and Amin Shams in 2018 suggests that trading associated with increases in the amount of the Tether cryptocurrency and associated trading at the Bitfinex exchange account for about half of the price increase in bitcoin in late 2017.[224][225] J.L. van der Velde, CEO of both Bitfinex and Tether, denied the claims of price manipulation: "Bitfinex nor Tether is, or has ever, engaged in any sort of market or price manipulation. Tether issuances cannot be used to prop up the price of bitcoin or any other coin/token on Bitfinex."[226] Analysis External video  Cryptocurrencies: looking beyond the hype, Hyun Song Shin, Bank for International Settlements, 2:48[227] The Bank for International Settlements summarized several criticisms of bitcoin in Chapter V of their 2018 annual report. The criticisms include the lack of stability in bitcoin's price, the high energy consumption, high and variable transactions costs, the poor security and fraud at cryptocurrency exchanges, vulnerability to debasement (from forking), and the influence of miners.[227][228][229] François R. Velde, Senior Economist at the Chicago Fed, described bitcoin as "an elegant solution to the problem of creating a digital currency".[230] David Andolfatto, Vice President at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, stated that bitcoin is a threat to the establishment, which he argues is a good thing for the Federal Reserve System and other central banks, because it prompts these institutions to operate sound policies.[119]:33[231][232] Economic concerns Further information: Cryptocurrency bubble and Economics of bitcoin  Bitcoin price bubbles in 2011, 2013 and 2017 Bitcoin, along with other cryptocurrencies, has been described as an economic bubble by at least eight Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences laureates at various times, including Robert Shiller on 1 March 2014,[167] Joseph Stiglitz on 29 November 2017,[233] and Richard Thaler on 21 December 2017.[234][235] On 29 January 2018, a noted Keynesian economist Paul Krugman has described bitcoin as "a bubble wrapped in techno-mysticism inside a cocoon of libertarian ideology",[158] on 2 February 2018, professor Nouriel Roubini of New York University has called bitcoin the "mother of all bubbles",[236] and on 27 April 2018, a University of Chicago economist James Heckman has compared it to the 17th-century tulip mania.[235] Journalists, economists, investors, and the central bank of Estonia have voiced concerns that bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme.[237][238][239][240] In April 2013, Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, stated that "a real Ponzi scheme takes fraud; bitcoin, by contrast, seems more like a collective delusion."[241] A July 2014 report by the World Bank concluded that bitcoin was not a deliberate Ponzi scheme.[242]:7 In June 2014, the Swiss Federal Council examined concerns that bitcoin might be a pyramid scheme, and concluded that "since in the case of bitcoin the typical promises of profits are lacking, it cannot be assumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme."[243]:21 Energy consumption and carbon footprint  Electricity consumption of the bitcoin network since 2016 (annualized) and comparison with the electricity consumption of various countries in 2019. The upper and lower bounds (grey traces) are based on worst-case and best-case scenario assumptions, respectively. The red trace indicates an intermediate best-guess estimate. (data sources: Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, US Energy Information Administration; for details, see methodology) Bitcoin has been criticized for the amount of electricity consumed by mining. As of 2015, estimated combined electricity consumption attributed to mining was 166.7 megawatts and by 2017, was estimated to be between one and four gigawatts of electricity.[244][165] In 2018, bitcoin was estimated by to use 2.55 to 3.572 GW, or around 6% of the total power consumed by the global banking sector.[245][246][247] In July 2019 BBC reported bitcoin consumes about 7 gigawatts, 0.2% of the global total, or equivalent to that of Switzerland.[248] A 2021 estimate from the University of Cambridge suggests bitcoin consumes more than 178 (TWh) annually, ranking it in the top 30 energy consumers if it were a country.[249] Bitcoin is mined in places like Iceland where geothermal energy is cheap and cooling Arctic air is free.[250] Bitcoin miners are known to use hydroelectric power in Tibet, Quebec, Washington (state), and Austria to reduce electricity costs.[245][251] Miners are attracted to suppliers such as Hydro Quebec that have energy surpluses.[252] According to a University of Cambridge study, much of bitcoin mining is done in China, where electricity is subsidized by the government.[253][254] A significant part of Bitcoin mining is powered by cheap electricity in Xinjiang, which mostly comes from coal power.[255][256] In April 2021 a coal mine explosion in the province coincided with a 35% drop in hashing power and a flash crash in price.[257][255] In other provinces, such as Hunan and Sichuan, mining farms use more hydropower, however these account for at most 4% of hash power. According to Alex de Vries, renewable energy is not a good match for Bitcoin mining as 24/7 operations are best for ROI on mining devices.[257] In 2021, a US company purchased the Greenidge coal power plant and converted it to burn natural gas for the sole purpose of mining bitcoin, which has proven to be highly profitable, in spite of protests of local residents against air pollution and thermal pollution.[258] Concerns about bitcoin's environmental impact relate bitcoin's energy consumption to carbon emissions.[259][260] The difficulty of translating the energy consumption into carbon emissions lies in the decentralized nature of bitcoin impeding the localization of miners to examine the electricity mix used. The results of recent studies analyzing bitcoin's carbon footprint vary.[261][262][263][264] A study published in Nature Climate Change in 2018 claims that bitcoin "could alone produce enough CO
2 emissions to push warming above 2 °C within less than three decades."[263] However, other researchers criticized this analysis, arguing the underlying scenarios were inadequate, leading to overestimations.[265][266][267] According to studies published in Joule and American Chemical Society in 2019, bitcoin's annual energy consumption results in annual carbon emission ranging from 17[247] to 22.9 MtCO
2 which is comparable to the level of emissions of countries as Jordan and Sri Lanka or Kansas City.[264] George Kamiya, writing for the International Energy Agency, says that "predictions about bitcoin consuming the entire world's electricity" are sensational, but that the area "requires careful monitoring and rigorous analysis".[268] Use in illegal transactions Further information: Cryptocurrency and crime and Bitcoin network § Alleged criminal activity Bitcoin held at exchanges are vulnerable to theft through phishing, scamming, and hacking. As of December 2017, around 980,000 bitcoins have been stolen from cryptocurrency exchanges.[115] The use of bitcoin by criminals has attracted the attention of financial regulators, legislative bodies, law enforcement, and the media.[269] Bitcoin gained early notoriety for its use on the Silk Road. The U.S. Senate held a hearing on virtual currencies in November 2013.[270] The U.S. government claimed that bitcoin was used to facilitate payments related to Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections.[271] However, a 2021 study led by former CIA director Michael Morell showed that broad generalizations about the use of bitcoin in illicit finance are significantly overstated and that blockchain analysis is an effective crime fighting and intelligence gathering tool.[272] Several news outlets have asserted that the popularity of bitcoins hinges on the ability to use them to purchase illegal goods.[164][273] Nobel-prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says that bitcoin's anonymity encourages money laundering and other crimes.[274][275] In 2014, researchers at the University of Kentucky found "robust evidence that computer programming enthusiasts and illegal activity drive interest in bitcoin, and find limited or no support for political and investment motives".[163] Australian researchers have estimated that 25% of all bitcoin users and 44% of all bitcoin transactions are associated with illegal activity as of April 2017. There were an estimated 24 million bitcoin users primarily using bitcoin for illegal activity. They held $8 billion worth of bitcoin, and made 36 million transactions valued at $72 billion.[276][277] Software implementation Bitcoin Core The start screen under Fedora Original author(s) Satoshi Nakamoto Initial release 2009 Stable release 0.20.1 (2 August 2020; 9 months ago) [±] Repository github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin Written in C++ Operating system Linux, Windows, macOS Type Cryptocurrency License MIT License Website bitcoincore.org Bitcoin Core is free and open-source software that serves as a bitcoin node (the set of which form the bitcoin network) and provides a bitcoin wallet which fully verifies payments. It is considered to be bitcoin's reference implementation.[278] Initially, the software was published by Satoshi Nakamoto under the name "Bitcoin", and later renamed to "Bitcoin Core" to distinguish it from the network.[279] It is also known as the Satoshi client.[280] The MIT Digital Currency Initiative funds some of the development of Bitcoin Core.[281] The project also maintains the cryptography library libsecp256k1.[282] Bitcoin Core includes a transaction verification engine and connects to the bitcoin network as a full node.[280] Moreover, a cryptocurrency wallet, which can be used to transfer funds, is included by default.[282] The wallet allows for the sending and receiving of bitcoins. It does not facilitate the buying or selling of bitcoin. It allows users to generate QR codes to receive payment. The software validates the entire blockchain, which includes all bitcoin transactions ever. This distributed ledger which has reached more than 235 gigabytes in size as of Jan 2019, must be downloaded or synchronized before full participation of the client may occur.[280] Although the complete blockchain is not needed all at once since it is possible to run in pruning mode. A command line-based daemon with a JSON-RPC interface, bitcoind, is bundled with Bitcoin Core. It also provides access to testnet, a global testing environment that imitates the bitcoin main network using an alternative blockchain where valueless "test bitcoins" are used. Regtest or Regression Test Mode creates a private blockchain which is used as a local testing environment.[283] Finally, bitcoin-cli, a simple program which allows users to send RPC commands to bitcoind, is also included. Checkpoints which have been hard coded into the client are used only to prevent Denial of Service attacks against nodes which are initially syncing the chain. For this reason the checkpoints included are only as of several years ago.[284][285][failed verification] A one megabyte block size limit was added in 2010 by Satoshi Nakamoto. This limited the maximum network capacity to about three transactions per second.[286] Since then, network capacity has been improved incrementally both through block size increases and improved wallet behavior. A network alert system was included by Satoshi Nakamoto as a way of informing users of important news regarding bitcoin.[287] In November 2016 it was retired. It had become obsolete as news on bitcoin is now widely disseminated. Bitcoin Core includes a scripting language inspired by Forth that can define transactions and specify parameters.[288] ScriptPubKey is used to "lock" transactions based on a set of future conditions. scriptSig is used to meet these conditions or "unlock" a transaction. Operations on the data are performed by various OP_Codes. Two stacks are used - main and alt. Looping is forbidden. Bitcoin Core uses OpenTimestamps to timestamp merge commits.[289] The original creator of the bitcoin client has described their approach to the software's authorship as it being written first to prove to themselves that the concept of purely peer-to-peer electronic cash was valid and that a paper with solutions could be written. The lead developer is Wladimir J. van der Laan, who took over the role on 8 April 2014.[290] Gavin Andresen was the former lead maintainer for the software client. Andresen left the role of lead developer for bitcoin to work on the strategic development of its technology.[290] Bitcoin Core in 2015 was central to a dispute with Bitcoin XT, a competing client that sought to increase the blocksize.[291] Over a dozen different companies and industry groups fund the development of Bitcoin Core. In popular culture Term "HODL" Hodl (/ˈhɒdəl/ HOD-əl; often written HODL) is slang in the cryptocurrency community for holding a cryptocurrency rather than selling it.[292] A person who does this is known as a Hodler. It originated in a December 2013 post on the Bitcoin Forum message board by an apparently inebriated user who posted with a typo in the subject, "I AM HODLING."[293] It is often humorously suggested to be a backronym to "hold on for dear life".[294] In 2017, Quartz listed it as one of the essential slang terms in Bitcoin culture, and described it as a stance, "to stay invested in bitcoin and not to capitulate in the face of plunging prices."[295] TheStreet.com referred to it as the "favorite mantra" of Bitcoin holders.[296] Bloomberg News referred to it as a "mantra" for holders during market routs.[297] Literature In Charles Stross' 2013 science fiction novel, Neptune's Brood, the universal interstellar payment system is known as "bitcoin" and operates using cryptography.[298] Stross later blogged that the reference was intentional, saying "I wrote Neptune's Brood in 2011. Bitcoin was obscure back then, and I figured had just enough name recognition to be a useful term for an interstellar currency: it'd clue people in that it was a networked digital currency."[299] Film The 2014 documentary The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin portrays the diversity of motives behind the use of bitcoin by interviewing people who use it. These include a computer programmer and a drug dealer.[300] The 2016 documentary Banking on Bitcoin is an introduction to the beginnings of bitcoin and the ideas behind cryptocurrency today.[301] Academia In September 2015, the establishment of the peer-reviewed academic journal Ledger (ISSN 2379-5980) was announced. It covers studies of cryptocurrencies and related technologies, and is published by the University of Pittsburgh.[302] The journal encourages authors to digitally sign a file hash of submitted papers, which will then be timestamped into the bitcoin blockchain. Authors are also asked to include a personal bitcoin address in the first page of their papers.[303][304] See also * Alternative currency * Base58 * Crypto-anarchism * List of bitcoin companies * List of bitcoin organizations * SHA-256 crypto currencies * Virtual currency law in the United States * Business and economics portalFree and open-source software portalInternet portalNumismatics portalMoney portal Notes * ^ As of 2014, BTC is a commonly used code. It does not conform to ISO 4217 as BT is the country code of Bhutan, and ISO 4217 requires the first letter used in global commodities to be 'X'. * ^ As of 2014, XBT, a code that conforms to ISO 4217 though is not officially part of it, is used by Bloomberg L.P.,[98] CNNMoney,[99] and xe.com.[100] * ^ The genesis block is the block number 0. The timestamp of the block is 2009-01-03 18:15:05. This block is unlike all other blocks in that it does not have a previous block to reference. * ^ The exact number is 20,999,999.9769 bitcoins.[6]:ch. 8 * ^ Relative mining difficulty is defined as the ratio of the difficulty target on 9 January 2009 to the current difficulty target. * ^ It is misleading to think that there is an analogy between gold mining and bitcoin mining. The fact is that gold miners are rewarded for producing gold, while bitcoin miners are not rewarded for producing bitcoins; they are rewarded for their record-keeping services.[119] * ^ The private key can be printed as a series of letters and numbers, a seed phrase, or a 2D barcode. Usually, the public key or bitcoin address is also printed, so that a holder of a paper wallet can check or add funds without exposing the private key to a device. * ^ Liquidity is estimated by a 365-day running sum of transaction outputs in USD. References 1. ^ Jump up to:
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Bitcoin was obscure back then, and I figured had just enough name recognition to be a useful term for an interstellar currency: it'd clue people in that it was a networked digital currency.” 300. ^ Kenigsberg, Ben (2 October 2014). "Financial Wild West". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 301. ^ Michel, Lincoln (16 December 2017). "What the Hell Is Bitcoin? Let This Documentary on Netflix Explain". GQ. Archived from the original on 18 November 2018. Retrieved 10 October 2018. 302. ^ "Introducing Ledger, the First Bitcoin-Only Academic Journal". Motherboard. Archived from the original on 10 January 2017. 303. ^ "Editorial Policies". ledgerjournal.org. Archived from the original on 23 December 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2017. 304. ^ "How to Write and Format an Article for Ledger" (PDF). Ledger. 2015. doi:10.5195/LEDGER.2015.1 (inactive 19 January 2021). Archived (PDF) from the original on 22 September 2015. External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bitcoin. * • Bitcoin.org website * Bitcoin at Curlie hide • vte Bitcoin • HistoryEconomicsLegal status People • Gavin AndresenAndreas AntonopoulosBrian ArmstrongAdam BackWences CasaresTim DraperHal FinneyMark KarpelèsSatoshi NakamotoCharlie ShremNick SzaboAmir TaakiRoss UlbrichtRoger VerCody WilsonCameron WinklevossTyler WinklevossCraig WrightJihan Wu Lists • List of bitcoin companiesList of bitcoin forksList of bitcoin organizationsList of people in blockchain technology Technologies • Bitcoin networkBlockchainCryptocurrencyCryptocurrency walletBitcoin ATMECDSALightning NetworkP2PProof of workSegWitSHA-2 Forks Client • Bitcoin Unlimited Currency • Bitcoin CashBitcoin Gold Exchanges • BinanceBitfinexbitFlyerBithumbBitMEXBitsoBitstampBTCCCoinbaseCoincheckGeminiHuobiKrakenLocalBitcoinsOKExShapeShiftUpbit Defunct • BTC-eMt. 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GoxQuadrigaCX show • vte Cryptocurrencies show • vte Currency symbols (¤) Authority control  • BNE: XX5395494BNF: cb16732034m (data)GND: 1041888279LCCN: sh2015000075SUDOC: 175289379 * Categories: Bitcoin2009 softwareApplication layer protocolsComputer-related introductions in 2009CryptocurrenciesCurrencies introduced in 2009Digital currenciesPrivate currenciesCurrency symbolsElliptic curve cryptography MLS® Listings for Sale (15,285) 1 2 3 4 Next                                                   Newest First                     Price Low                     Price High                                           Displaying 1-20 out of 15,285 listings   FEATURED PROPERTY 880 Grandview Way 1001 $869,000 CAD 2 baths 3 beds Toronto Willowdale East Grandview Way Luxurious Tridel Parkside On Grandview, Gated Community In Heart Of North York Area In The Prestigious Willowdale Area, Open Concept, Practical Layout Living & Dining Area With A Dedicated Family Room, Kitchen Features Breakfast Area With Center Island. 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Get Started Latest Living Room Posts Today Banff, Alberta: Canada’s Base Camp for Adventure May 20, 2021 A Deep Dive into Saltwater Pools: What are They and Should You Get One? May 19, 2021 5 Backyard Projects to Tackle Over the Victoria Day Long Weekend More Posts Popular Cities Toronto Real EstateCalgary Real EstateOttawa Real EstateLondon Real EstateHamilton Real EstateEdmonton Real EstateVancouver Real EstateMississauga Real EstateVictoria Real EstateWinnipeg Real EstateKelowna Real EstateBurlington Real EstateOakville Real EstateKitchener Real EstateGuelph Real EstateBarrie Real EstateKingston Real EstateWindsor Real EstateMontreal Real EstateBrampton Real EstateWaterloo Real EstateCambridge Real EstatePeterborough Real EstateOshawa Real EstateSarnia Real EstateMilton Real EstateMarkham Real EstateEtobicoke Real EstateBrantford Real EstateSurrey Real Estate 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 5. Your Home Buying MVPs Buying or selling the biggest asset of your life is stressful. A REALTOR® can help keep your emotions in check throughout the complex and time-consuming process. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 1. Paper Pros If only buying a home was as simple as signing on the dotted line. A REALTOR® can bring you peace of mind by navigating the complex legal terminology, paperwork, mortgage rules and more. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 2. Marketing Experts Not only are they experts at finding you the right home, a REALTOR® can get your house discovered and sold faster — so you can move forward with your life. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 3. Pricing Advisors When it comes to making the most significant purchase of your life, don’t guess on price, rely on an expert in pricing and market trends. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 4. Negotiator Extraordinaires Negotiating a property sale can be intimidating; a REALTOR® has the experience to get you the best deal so you don’t leave any money on the table. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 5. Your Home Buying MVPs Buying or selling the biggest asset of your life is stressful. A REALTOR® can help keep your emotions in check throughout the complex and time-consuming process. Meet a REALTOR® 5 Key Roles Your REALTOR® Plays 1. Paper Pros If only buying a home was as simple as signing on the dotted line. A REALTOR® can bring you peace of mind by navigating the complex legal terminology, paperwork, mortgage rules and more. 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Log In  list·​ing | \ ˈli-stiŋ  \ Definition of listing 1 : an act or instance of making or including in a list 2 : something that is listed Synonyms Example Sentences Learn More about listing Synonyms for listing Synonyms * canon, catalog (or catalogue), checklist, list, menu, register, registry, roll, roll call, roster, schedule, table Visit the Thesaurus for More  Examples of listing in a Sentence  an alphabetical listing of all of the students currently enrolled in the school Recent Examples on the Web Per the listing on American's career website, the positions start at $14.74 an hour and include eligibility for travel privileges and discounts as well as traditional benefits such as a 401(k) account, health benefits and two weeks' vacation. — Melissa Yeager, The Arizona Republic, "Want to work at the Phoenix airport? Here's how to apply for all the jobs available," 21 May 2021 The listing comes after a series of initial public offerings in Europe got a lukewarm reception from equity investors in a rollercoaster week for global stock markets. — Swetha Gopinath, Fortune, "Snoop Dogg-backed Oxford Cannabinoid has volatile debut," 21 May 2021 These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'listing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback. See More First Known Use of listing 1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1 Learn More about listing Share listing Post the Definition of listing to Facebook Share the Definition of listing on Twitter Time Traveler for listing The first known use of listing was in 1659 See more words from the same year Dictionary Entries near listing lister ridge listful listicle listing listless list price LISTSERV See More Nearby Entries  Statistics for listing Last Updated 23 May 2021 Look-up Popularity Top 4% of words Cite this Entry “Listing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/listing. Accessed 24 May. 2021. Style: MLA  More Definitions for listing listing noun English Language Learners Definition of listing : a printed list : a printed list of things that includes detailed information about them : something included in a list See the full definition for listing in the English Language Learners Dictionary listing noun list·​ing Legal Definition of listing 1 : an arrangement, agreement, or contract for the marketing of real property through one or more real estate agents usually for a specific period — called also listing agreement — exclusive agency listing : a listing under which only one agent may sell the property but without the right to a commission if the owner sells it directly NOTE: An agent is usually still entitled to a commission if the owner sells directly to a buyer found by the agent, even if the sale occurs after the agreement expires. — exclusive right to sell listing : a listing under which only one agent may sell the property and is entitled to a commission if the owner sells it directly to any party — multiple listing : an agreement or arrangement under which real property is marketed through a service or association composed of several agents with a commission from the sale of a property shared between the selling agent and the agent that initiates the listing of it — net listing : a listing under which the agent that sells a property retains as compensation the amount of the selling price that exceeds a specified sum — open listing : a listing that does not preclude the use of multiple agents or a direct sale by the owner with no commission paid to an agent — called also nonexclusive listing 2 a : a record of a property or properties available through a real estate agent b : a property listed in such a record More from Merriam-Webster on listing Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for listing Nglish: Translation of listing for Spanish Speakers Britannica English: Translation of listing for Arabic Speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about listing Comments on listing What made you want to look up listing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible). Show Comments  WORD OF THE DAY chouse See Definitions and Examples » Get Word of the Day daily email! TEST YOUR VOCABULARY Spring Words Quiz *  * 

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OTHER MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARIES * LEARNER'S ESL DICTIONARY * VISUAL DICTIONARY * SCRABBLE® WORD FINDER * MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S UNABRIDGED DICTIONARY * BRITANNICA ENGLISH - ARABIC TRANSLATION * NGLISH - SPANISH-ENGLISH TRANSLATION Listing From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search Listing may refer to: * Enumeration of a set of items in the form of a list * Johann Benedict Listing (1808–1882), German mathematician * Listing (computer), a computer code listing * Listing (finance), the placing of a company's shares on the list of stocks traded on a stock exchange * Navigation listing, tilting of vessels in a nautical context * Listings magazine, a type of magazine displaying a schedule of programmed content * Designation as a listed building in the United Kingdom * A term in US real estate brokerage, referring to the obtaining of a written contract to represent the seller of a property or business Talk:Listing From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Jump to navigation Jump to search This page is within the scope of WikiProject Disambiguation, an attempt to structure and organize all disambiguation pages on Wikipedia. If you wish to help, you can edit the page attached to this talk page, or visit the project page, where you can join the project or contribute to the discussion. Untitled[edit] OK to put in Wiktionary if linking to "Type-in program" is preserved. Removing the "WikiProject Business & Economics" template and putting it on the talk page of Listing (finance), since this is now a disambiguation page and Listing (finance) seems to be the article for which it was intended. Bassington 20:24, 10 November 2007 (UTC) Listings of television programmes[edit] I wonder whether we would need an entry for listings of television programme listings? In the United Kingdom, it is quite common to refer to lists of television programmes, as in the Radio Times, as listings? ACEOREVIVED (talk) 19:54, 20 September 2010 (UTC) * Categories: WikiProject Disambiguation pages Real estate agent From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   (Redirected from Real estate broker) Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the North American practice. For other definitions and practices in other countries, see Real estate. For real property, see Real property. "Realtor" redirects here. For the trade associations that refer to its members as "Realtors", see National Association of Realtors and Canadian Real Estate Association. hide This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs attention from an expert in Business. (July 2014) This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (July 2014) This article possibly contains original research. (July 2014) The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (July 2014) This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (August 2020) It has been suggested that Estate agent be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2021. It has been suggested that Real estate business be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since April 2021. A real estate broker, real estate agent or realtor is a person who represents sellers or buyers of real estate or real property. While a broker may work independently, an agent usually works under a licensed broker to represent clients.[1] Brokers and agents are licensed by the state to negotiate sales agreements and manage the documentation required for closing real estate transactions. Buyers and sellers are generally advised to consult a licensed real estate professional for a written definition of an individual state's laws of agency, and many states require written disclosures to be signed by all parties outlining the duties and obligations. Generally, real estate brokers/ agents fall into four categories of representation: * Seller's agents, commonly called "listing brokers" or "listing agents", are contracted by owners to assist with marketing property for sale or lease. * Buyer's agents are brokers or salespersons who assist buyers by helping them purchase property. * Dual agents help both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. To protect their license to practice, a real estate broker owes both parties fair and honest dealing and must request that both parties (seller and buyer) sign a dual agency agreement. Special laws/rules often apply to dual agents, especially in negotiating price. In dual agency situations, a conflict of interest is more likely to occur, typically resulting in the loss of advocacy for both parties. Individual state laws vary and interpret dual agency rather differently, with some no longer allowing it. In some states, Dual Agency can be practiced in situations where the same brokerage (but not agent) represent both the buyer and the seller. If one agent from the brokerage has a home listed and another agent from that brokerage has a buyer-brokerage agreement with a buyer who wishes to buy the listed property, dual agency occurs by allowing each agent to be designated as an "intra-company" agent. Only the broker himself is the Dual Agent. * Transaction brokers provide the buyer and seller with a limited form of representation but without any fiduciary obligations. Having no more than a facilitator relationship, transaction brokers assist buyers, sellers, or both during the transaction without representing the interests of either party who may then be regarded as customers. The assistance provided are the legal documents for an agreement between the buyer and seller on how a particular transfer of property will happen. A real estate broker typically receives a real estate commission for successfully completing a sale. Across the U.S. this commission can generally range between 5-6% of the property's sale price for a full service broker but this percentage varies by state and even region.[2] This commission can be divided up with other participating real estate brokers or agents. Flat-fee brokers and Fee-for-Service brokers can charge significantly less depending on the type of services offered. Contents 1 Licensing 2 Specific States Representation Laws 3 Written agreement 3.1 Real estate education 4 The difference between salespersons and brokers 4.1 Real estate salesperson (or, in some states, real estate broker) 4.2 Real estate broker (or, in some states, qualifying broker) 5 Agency relationships with clients versus non-agency relationships with customers 5.1 Designated agency 6 Types of services that a broker can provide 7 Real estate brokers and sellers 7.1 Services provided to seller as client 7.2 The listing contract 7.3 Brokerage commissions 7.3.1 RESPA 7.3.2 Lock-box 7.4 Shared commissions with co-op brokers 8 Real estate brokers and buyers 8.1 Services provided to buyers 8.1.1 Buyers as clients 8.1.2 Buyers as customers 9 Education 10 Organizations 11 See also 12 References Licensing[edit] In the United States, real estate brokers and salespersons are licensed by each state, not by the federal government. Each state has a real estate “commission” who monitors and licenses real estate brokers and agents. For example, some states only allow lawyers to create documentation to transfer real property, while other states also allow the licensed real estate agent. There are state laws defining the types of relationships that can exist between clients and real estate licensees, and the lawful duties of real estate licensees to represent clients and members of the public. Rules vary substantially as defined by the law from state to state, for example, on subjects that include what legal language is necessary to transfer real property, agency relationships, inspections, disclosures, continuing education, and other subjects. In most jurisdictions in the United States, a person must have a license to perform licensed activities, and these activities are defined within the statutes of each state. The main feature of the requirement for having a license to perform those activities is the work done "for compensation". Hence, hypothetically, if a person wants to help a friend out in either selling or buying a property, and no compensation of any kind is expected in return, then a license is not needed to perform all the work. However, since most people would expect to be compensated for their efforts and skills, a license would be required by law before a person they may receive remuneration for services rendered as a real estate broker or agent. Unlicensed activity is illegal and the state real estate commission has the authority to fine people who are acting as real estate licensees, but buyers and sellers acting as principals in the sale or purchase of real estate are usually not required to be licensed. It is important to note that in some states, lawyers handle real estate sales for compensation without being licensed as brokers or agents. However, even lawyers can only perform real estate activities that are incidental to their original work as a lawyer. It cannot be the case that a lawyer can become a seller's selling agent if that is all the service that is being requested by the client. Lawyers would still need to be licensed as a broker if they wish to perform licensed activities. Lawyers do however get a break in the minimum education requirements (for example, 90 hours in Illinois).[3] Specific States Representation Laws[edit] Some state Real Estate Commissions - notably Florida's[4] after 1992 (and extended in 2003) and Colorado's[5] after 1994 (with changes in 2003) created the option of having no agency or fiduciary relationship between brokers and sellers or buyers. As noted by the South Broward Board of Realtors, Inc. in a letter to State of Florida legislative committees: "The Transaction Broker crafts a transaction by bringing a willing buyer and a willing seller together and provides the legal documentation of the details of the legal agreement between the same. The Transaction Broker is not a fiduciary of any party, but must abide by the law as well as professional and ethical standards." (such as NAR Code of Ethics). The result was that in 2003, Florida created a system where the default brokerage relationship had "all licensees ... operating as transaction brokers, unless a single agent or no brokerage relationship is established, in writing, with the customer"[6][7] and the statute required written disclosure of the transaction brokerage relationship to the buyer or seller customer only through July 1, 2008. In the case of both Florida[7] and Colorado,[5] dual agency and sub-agency (where both listing and selling agents represent the seller) no longer exist. Other brokers and agents may focus on representing buyers or tenants in a real estate transaction. However, licensing as a broker or salesperson authorizes the licensee to legally represent parties on either side of a transaction and providing the necessary documentation for the legal transfer of real property. This business decision is for the licensee to decide. They are fines for people acting as real estate agents when not licensed by the state. In the United Kingdom, an estate agent is a person or business entity whose business is to market real estate on behalf of clients. There are significant differences between the actions, powers, obligations, and liabilities of brokers and estate agents in each country, as different countries take markedly different approaches to the marketing and selling of real property. Written agreement[edit] It is important to have a clear written legal documentation for an agreement between the broker and the client, for the protection of both of them. If the parties only have an oral agreement, it is more likely for a dispute to arise concerning the agreement to represent clients and for how real property being sold. Legal documentation is required to define whether the broker can enforce the parties' compensation agreement, the duration of the relationship, whether the relationship is "exclusive", and other issues. Enforceability of oral agreements, what kinds of legal agreements are required to be in writing, and other important issues vary from state to state. Real estate education[edit] To become licensed, most states require that an applicant take a minimum number of classroom hours to study real estate law before taking the state licensing exam. Such education is often provided by real estate firms or by education companies, either of which is typically licensed to teach such courses within their respective states. The courses are designed to prepare the new licensee primarily for the legal aspects of the practice of transferring real estate and to pass the state licensing exam. Once licensed, the licensee in most states is initially designated a salesperson and must work under a broker's license. Some other states have recently eliminated the salesperson's license and instead, all licensees in those states automatically earn their broker's license. A real estate agent must place their license under a managing broker. Typically there may be multiple licensees holding broker's licenses within a firm but only one broker or the firm itself, is the managing or principal broker and that individual or firm is then legally responsible for all licensees held under their license. The term agent is not to be confused with salesperson or broker. An agent is simply a licensee that has entered into an agency relationship with a client. A broker can also be an agent for a client. It is commonly the firm that has the actual legal relationship with the client through one of their sales staff, be they salespersons or brokers. In all states, the real estate licensee must disclose to prospective buyers and sellers the nature of their relationship [8] within the transaction and with the parties. See below for a broker/licensee relationship to sellers and their relationship with buyers. In the United States, there are commonly two levels of real estate professionals licensed by the individual states but not by the federal government: The difference between salespersons and brokers[edit] Before the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) was introduced in 1967, when brokers (and their licensees) only represented sellers by providing a service to provide legal documentation on the transfer real property, the term "real estate salesperson" may have been more appropriate than it is today, given the various ways that brokers and licensees now help buyers through the legal process of transferring real property. Legally, however, the term "salesperson" is still used in many states to describe a real estate licensee. Real estate salesperson (or, in some states, real estate broker)[edit] When a person first becomes licensed to become a real estate agent, they obtain a real estate salesperson's license (some states use the term "broker") from the state in which they will practice. To obtain a real estate license, the candidate must take specific coursework (between 40 and 120 hours) and pass a state exam on real estate law and practice. To work, salespersons must be associated with (and act under the authority of) a real estate broker. In Delaware, for example, the licensing course requires the candidate to take 99 classroom hours in order to qualify to sit for the state and national examination. In Ohio, a license candidate must complete 120 hours of classroom education. Each successive year thereafter, the license holder must participate in continuing education in order to remain abreast of state and national changes. Many states also have reciprocal agreements with other states, allowing a licensed individual from a qualified state to take the second state's exam without completing the course requirements or, in some cases, take only a state law exam. Real estate broker (or, in some states, qualifying broker)[edit] After gaining some years of experience in real estate sales, a salesperson may decide to become licensed as a real estate broker (or Principal/qualifying broker) in order to own, manage, or operate their own brokerage. In addition, some states allow college graduates to apply for a broker's license without years of experience. College graduates fall into this category once they have completed the state-required courses as well. California allows licensed attorneys to become brokers upon passing the broker exam without having to take the requisite courses required of an agent. Commonly more coursework and a broker's state exam on real estate law must be passed. Upon obtaining a broker's license, a real estate agent may continue to work for another broker in a similar capacity as before (often referred to as a broker associate or associate broker) or take charge of their own brokerage and hire other salespersons (or broker), licensees. Becoming a branch office manager may or may not require a broker's license. Some states allow licensed attorneys to become real estate brokers without taking any exam. In some states, there are no "salespeople" as all licensees are brokers.[9] Agency relationships with clients versus non-agency relationships with customers[edit] * Relationship: Conventionally, the broker provides a conventional full-service, commission-based brokerage relationship under a signed listing agreement with a seller or a "buyer representation" agreement with a buyer, thus creating under common law in most states an agency relationship with fiduciary obligations. The seller or buyer is then a client of the broker. Some states also have statutes that define and control the nature of the representation. Agency relationships in residential real estate transactions involve the legal representation by a real estate broker (on behalf of a real estate company) of the principal, whether that person(s) is a buyer or a seller. The broker and his licensed real estate salespersons (salesmen or brokers) then become the agents of the principal. * Non-agency relationship: where no written agreement or fiduciary relationship exists, a real estate broker and his sales staff work with a principal who is known as the broker's customer. When a buyer who has not entered into a Buyer Agency agreement with the broker buys a property, that broker functions as the sub-agent of the seller's broker. When a seller chooses to work with a transaction broker, there is no agency relationship created. Designated agency[edit] The most recent development in the practice of real estate is "designated agency" which was created to permit individual licensees within the same firm, designated by the principal broker, to act as agents for individual buyers and sellers within the same transaction. In theory, therefore, two agents within the same firm act in strict fiduciary roles for their respective clients. Some states have adopted this practice into their state laws and others have decided this function is inherently problematic, just as was a dual agency. The practice was invented and promoted by larger firms to make it possible in theory to handle the entire transaction in the house without creating a conflict of interest within the firm Types of services that a broker can provide[edit] Real Estate Services are also called trading services [10] by some jurisdictions. Since each province's and state's laws may differ, it is generally advised that prospective sellers or buyers consult a licensed real estate professional. Some examples: * Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) — an estimate of a property's value compared with others. This differs from an appraisal in that property currently for sale may be taken into consideration. (competition for the subject property) * Total Market Overview — an objective method for determining a property's value, where a CMA is subjective. * Broker's Price Opinion — estimate of a property's value or potential selling price * Real estate appraisal — in most states, only if the broker is also licensed as an appraiser. * Exposure — Marketing the real property to prospective buyers. * Facilitating a Purchase — guiding a buyer through the process. * Facilitating a Sale — guiding a seller through the selling process. * FSBO document preparation — preparing the necessary paperwork for "For Sale By Owner" sellers. * Home Selling Kits — guides advising how to market and sell a property. * Hourly Consulting for a fee, based on the client's needs. * Leasing for a fee or percentage of the gross lease value. * Property Management * Exchanging property. * Auctioning property. (In most states, only if the broker is also licensed as an auctioneer.) * Preparing contracts and leases. (not in all states) These services are also changing as a variety of real estate trends transform the industry. Real estate brokers and sellers[edit] Services provided to seller as client[edit] Upon signing a listing contract with the seller wishing to sell the real estate, the brokerage attempts to earn a commission by finding a buyer and writing an offer, a legal document, for the sellers' property for the highest possible price on the best terms for the seller. In Canada and the United States, most laws require the real estate agent to forward all written offers to the seller for consideration or review. To help accomplish the goal of finding buyers, a real estate agency commonly does the following:[citation needed] * Lists the property for sale to the public, often on an MLS, in addition to any other methods. * Provides the seller with a real property condition disclosure (if required by law) and other necessary forms. * Keeps the client abreast of the rapid changes in the real estate industry, swings in market conditions, and the availability and demand for property inventory in the area. * Prepares paperwork describing the property for advertising, pamphlets, open houses, etc. * Places a "For Sale" sign on the property indicating how to contact the real estate office and agent. * advertises the property, which may include social media and digital marketing in addition to paper advertising. * Holds an open house to show the property. * Serves as a contact available to answer any questions about the property and schedule showing appointments. * Ensures that buyers are pre-screened and financially qualified to buy the property. (Sellers should be aware that the underwriter for any real estate mortgage loan is the final say.) * Negotiates price on behalf of the sellers. * Prepares legal documentation or a “purchase and sale agreement” on how the transaction will proceed. * Acts as a fiduciary for the seller, which may include preparing a standard real estate purchase contract. * Holds an earnest payment cheque in escrow from the buyer(s) until the closing if necessary. In many states, the closing is the meeting between the buyer and seller where the property is transferred and the title is conveyed by a deed. In other states, especially those in the West, closings take place during a defined escrow period when buyers and sellers each sign the appropriate papers transferring title, but do not meet each other. * Negotiates on their client's behalf when a property inspection is complete. Often having to get estimates for repairs. * Guards the client's legal interests (along with the attorney) when facing tough negotiations or confusing contracts. The listing contract[edit] Main article: Listing contract Several types of listing contracts exist between broker and seller. These may be defined as: * Exclusive right to sell The broker is given the exclusive right to market the property and represents the seller exclusively. This is referred to as seller agency. However, the brokerage also offers to cooperate with other brokers and agrees to allow them to show the property to prospective buyers and offers a share of the total real estate commission. * Exclusive agency Exclusive agency allows only the broker the right to sell the property, and no offer of compensation is ever made to another broker. In this case, the property will never be entered into an MLS. Naturally, this limits the exposure of the property to only one agency. * Open listing The property is available for sale by any real estate professional who can advertise, show, or negotiate the sale. The broker/agent who first brings an acceptable offer would receive compensation. Real estate companies will typically require that a written agreement for an open listing be signed by the seller to ensure payment of a commission if a sale takes place. Although there can be other ways of doing business, a real estate brokerage usually earns its commission after the real estate broker and a seller enter into a listing contract and fulfill agreed-upon terms specified within that contract. The seller's real estate is then listed for sale. In most of North America, a listing agreement or contract between broker and seller must include the following: * starting and ending dates of the agreement; * the price at which the property will be offered for sale; * the amount of compensation due to the broker; * how much, if any, of the compensation, will be offered to a cooperating broker who may bring a buyer (required for MLS listings). Net listings: Property listings at an agreed-upon net price that the seller wishes to receive with any excess going to the broker as commission. In many states including Georgia, New Jersey and Virginia [18 VAC §135-20-280(5)] net listings are illegal, other states such as California and Texas state authorities discourage the practice and have laws to try and avoid manipulation and unfair transactions [22 TAC §535(b)] and (c). Brokerage commissions[edit] In consideration of the brokerage successfully finding a buyer for the property, a broker anticipates receiving a commission for the services the brokerage has provided. Usually, the payment of a commission to the brokerage is contingent upon finding a buyer for the real estate, the successful negotiation of a purchase contract between the buyer and seller, or the settlement of the transaction and the exchange of money between buyer and seller. Under common law, a real estate broker is eligible to receive their commission, regardless of whether the sale actually takes place, once they secure a buyer who is ready, willing, and able to purchase the dwelling.[11] The median real estate commission charged to the seller by the listing (seller's) agent is 6% of the purchase price. Typically, this commission is split evenly between the seller's and buyer's agents, with the buyer's agent generally receiving a commission of 3% of the purchase price of the home sold. In North America, commissions on real estate transactions are negotiable and new services in real estate trends have created ways to negotiate rates. Local real estate sales activity usually dictates the amount of agreed commission. Real estate commission is typically paid by the seller at the closing of the transaction as detailed in the listing agreement. Economist Steven D. Levitt famously argued in his 2005 book Freakonomics that real estate brokers have an inherent conflict of interest with the sellers they represent because their commission gives them more motivation to sell quickly than to sell at a higher price. Levitt supported his argument with a study finding brokers tend to put their own houses on the market for longer and receive higher prices for them compared to when working for their clients. He concluded that broker commissions will reduce in future.[12] A 2008 study by other economists found that when comparing brokerage without listing services, brokerage significantly reduced the average sale price.[13] RESPA[edit] Real estate brokers who work with lenders can not receive any compensation from the lender for referring a residential client to a specific lender. To do so would be a violation of a United States federal law known as the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). Commercial transactions are exempt from RESPA. All lender compensation to a broker must be disclosed to all parties. A commission may also be paid during negotiation of contract base on seller and agent. Lock-box[edit] With the seller's permission, a lock-box is placed on homes that are occupied, and after arranging an appointment with the homeowner, agents can show the home to prospective buyers. When a property is vacant, a lock-box will generally be placed on the front door. The listing broker helps arrange showings of the property by various real estate agents from all companies associated with the MLS. The lock-box contains the key to the door of the property, and the box can only be opened by licensed real estate agents. Shared commissions with co-op brokers[edit] If any buyer's broker or his agents brings the buyer for the property, the buyer's broker would typically be compensated with a co-op commission coming from the total offered to the listing broker, often about half of the full commission from the seller. If an agent or salesperson working for the buyer's broker brings the buyer for the property, then the buyer's broker would commonly compensate his agent with a fraction of the co-op commission, again as determined in a separate agreement. A discount brokerage may offer a reduced commission if no other brokerage firm is involved and no co-op commission paid out. If there is no co-commission to pay to another brokerage, the listing brokerage receives the full amount of the commission minus any other types of expenses. Real estate brokers and buyers[edit] This section possibly contains original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding inline citations. Statements consisting only of original research should be removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (September 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Services provided to buyers[edit] Buyers as clients[edit] With the increase in the practice of buyer brokerages in the United States, agents (acting under their brokers) have been able to represent buyers in the transaction with a written "Buyer Agency Agreement" not unlike the "Listing Agreement" for sellers referred to above. In this case, buyers are clients of the brokerage. Some brokerages represent buyers only and are known as exclusive buyer agents (EBAs). Consumer Reports states, "You can find a true buyer's agent only at a firm that does not accept listings."[14] The advantages of using an Exclusive Buyer Agent is that they avoid conflicts of interest by working in the best interests of the buyer and not the seller, avoid homes and neighborhoods likely to fare poorly in the marketplace, ensure the buyer does not unknowingly overpay for a property, fully inform the buyer of adverse conditions, encourage the buyer to make offers based on true value instead of list price, and work to save the buyer money. A buyer agency firm commissioned a study that found EBA purchased homes were 17 times less likely to go into foreclosure.[citation needed] A real estate brokerage attempts to do the following for the buyers of real estate only when they represent the buyers with some form of written buyer-brokerage agreement: * Find real estate in accordance with the buyers needs, specifications, and cost. * Take buyers to and shows them properties available for sale. * Pre-screen buyers to ensure they are financially qualified to buy the properties shown (or use a mortgage professional, such a bank's mortgage specialist or alternatively a Mortgage broker, to do that task). * Negotiate price and terms on behalf of the buyers. * Prepare standard real estate purchase contract. * Act as a fiduciary for the buyer. * Assist the buyer in making an offer for the property. Buyers as customers[edit] In most states until the 1990s, buyers who worked with an agent of a real estate broker in finding a house were customers of the brokerage since the broker represented only sellers. Today, state laws differ. Buyers or sellers may be represented. Typically, a written "Buyer Brokerage" agreement is required for the buyer to have representation (regardless of which party is paying the commission), although by his/her actions, an agent can create representation. Education[edit] To become a real estate agent, a prospective salesperson candidate must attend a pre-license course. Some states, like Massachusetts, require as little as 40-hours classroom time to get licensed. Others, like California, mandate over 100 hours.[15] Many states allow candidates to take the pre-licensing class virtually.[16] Candidates must subsequently pass the state exam for a real estate agent's license. Upon passing, the new licensee must place their license with an established real estate firm, managed by a broker. Requirements vary by state but after some period of time working as an agent, one may return to the classroom and test to become a broker. For example, California and Florida require you to have a minimum experience of two years as a full-time licensed agent within the prior 5 years. Where as Indiana only requires one year experience as a real estate salesperson and Arizona requires three out of the prior five years.[17][18] Brokers may manage or own firms. Each branch office of a larger real estate firm must be managed by a broker. States issue licenses for a multi year period and require real estate agents and brokers to complete continuing education prior to renewing their licenses. For example, California licensees must complete 45 hours of continuing education every 4 years in topics such as agency, trust fund handling, consumer protection, fair housing, ethics, and risk management. Many states recognize licenses from other states and issue licenses to existing agents and firms upon request without additional education or testing however the license must be granted before real estate service is provided in the state. California does not have license reciprocity with other states. An applicant for licensure is not, however, required to be a resident of California to obtain a license. In Illinois, the salesperson license was replaced by a broker license in 2011. the new license requires 90 hours of pre-license education, 15 of which must be interactive, and 30 hours of post-license education. The pre-license education requirement includes a 75-hour topics course and a 15-hour applied real estate principles course.[3] Organizations[edit] This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2019) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Several notable groups exist to promote the real estate industry and to assist members who are in it. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the largest real estate organization and one of the largest trade groups anywhere. Their membership exceeds one million. NAR also has state chapters as well as thousands of local chapters. Upon joining a local chapter, a new member is automatically enrolled in the state and national organizations. When the principals of a firm join, all licensed agents in that firm must also belong. A Realtor is a real estate broker or salesperson who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors, which is an industry trade association. The word "Realtor" is a registered trademark, protected under the US and international law. The Realtor Political Action Committee (RPAC) is a separate entity, and also the lobbying arm of NAR. In 2005, they were considered the largest PAC in the United States. According to realtor.org, RPAC is the largest contributor to direct contributions to federal candidates. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) was founded in 1947 as an alternative for African Americans who were excluded from the dominant NAR. Both groups allow members to join without regard to race. However, NAREB has historically been an African American-centric group with a focus on developing housing resources for intercity populations. The Real Estate Institute of Canada (REIC) was established in 1955 and is a not-for-profit membership organization offering continuing education courses and designation programs for Canadian real estate professionals across multiple sectors.[19][20] See also[edit] • Buyer brokerage • Estate agent • Flat fee MLS • Independent contractor • Estate (house) • List of real estate topics • Real estate • Real estate trends • Exclusive buyer agent References[edit] 1. ^ "Real Estate Professionals Explained: Agent, Broker, REALTOR®". Real Estate News and Advice | Realtor.com®. 2014-03-10. Retrieved 2018