Bitcoin is a form of digital currency, created and held
electronically. No one controls it. Bitcoins aren't printed, like
dollars or euros they're produced by people, and increasingly
businesses, running computers all around the world, using software that
solves mathematical problems. It's the first example of a growing
category of money known as cryptocurrency. Bitcoin can be used to buy
things electronically. In that sense, it's like conventional dollars,
euros, or yen, which are also traded digitally.
You can send money anywhere and it will arrive minutes later, as soon as
the bitcoin network processes the payment.
However, bitcoin's most important characteristic, and the thing that
makes it different to conventional money, is that it is decentralized.
No single institution controls the bitcoin network. This puts some
people at ease, because it means that a large bank can't control their