|Total paid to users||421 512 548 satoshi|
Bitcoin is virtual money present in the Internet that you can use to pay with, pass along to others or exchange for physical money. BitCoin is also the name of the computer network through which all bitcoin operations are performed, the cryptocurrency system that operates currency with the same name. A bitcoin transaction is in essence a process of exchanging encrypted data. The main feature of BitCoin is its lack of single administrative engine, the pros and cons of which will be inspected closer further on. The unit that stores bitcoin information is called a wallet.
Maximum total emission of bitcoin is not going to expand beyond the number of 21 million. By the beginning of the year 2014 there have been 14 million bitcoins already in circulation. There is an official graph created which established, based on the statistics of bitcoin increase, the epochal date of creation of the last, 21-million-th bitcoin.
Interestingly, the exchange rate of bitcoin to real currency grows simultaneously to bitcoin increase. For instance, in early 2013 one bitcoin amounted to 13 dollars, but by the end of the same year it was already worth more than a thousand. Even at that comparatively early point in bitcoin development history there were people lucky enough to successfully capitalize on such a significant rate growth.
Public interest in bitcoin grows steadily, as evidenced by equally steady growth in actual bitcoin transactions. Bitcoin is often compared to “virtual gold”, i.e. to something that becomes valuable mostly due to being in high demand. The difference is that actual gold has a physical form that can be interacted with while bitcoin remains completely virtual. It’s only a matter of convention, though; actual coins can be easily pressed if necessary.
Bitcoin is sometimes called currency of the future, but that is true only to an extent. While technologically this sort of assumption makes total sense, it remains to be seen when all countries of the world are ready to grant bitcoin the status of legally recognized currency. In Germany bitcoin is a recognized unit of account, the US Treasury recently classified bitcoin as a commodity, and Canada installed bitcoin ATMs. Yet in other countries, such as Russia and Thailand, bitcoin is outlawed completely. Rickard Falkwinge, Swedish IT entrepreneur, recently predicted a surge of bitcoin popularity by 2019, citing several examples of an average 10-year period separating introduction of a technology from mass acceptance of its use, like file sharing (from 1989 to 1999), blogging (1994 to 2004) and video streaming (2004 to 2014).
If you want to know more then check out the full Bitcoin Wikipedia article