In past few days, you must have heard of WannaCry ransomware. Lakhs of computers were in the wilderness. The ransomware holds victims’ hostage by encrypting their data, and in return, they do not demand the dollars or euros but bitcoins to regain access to their computers. So many of you might be wondering Bitcoins, what’s that?
Bitcoin is the first example of a growing category of money known as the cryptocurrency. It is a digital payment system invented under the name Satoshi Nakamoto. It was released as open-source software in 2009. The basic idea behind Bitcoin was to produce a currency independent of any central authority which can be transferred instantly with very low/no transaction fees.
Unlike nation’s currency, Bitcoin is a form of digital currency which is created and held electronically. They are not printed like any other currency as they are lines of computer code. They are digitally signed each time they travel from one owner to the next. Also, transactions can be made anonymously as no one controls it. Bitcoins are mined, using computing power in a distributed network. This network also processes transactions made with the virtual currency, making bitcoin its own payment network.
The most important thing about Bitcoins is that they’re produced by people. People are using software programs that follow a mathematical formula to produce bitcoins around the world. The mathematical formula is freely available. Anyone can make sure that it does what it is supposed to do.
Bitcoin has some features that separate it from government-backed currency:
Though bitcoin is not the real money however its value in the international market is worth more than any other nation’s currency. It is the result of its gaining popularity that now even ransomware is asked in the form of bitcoins.