What is bitcoin, the cryptocurrency?
A bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency first introduced to the world on January 3, 2009. Its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, developed the Bitcoin peer-to-peer network as an alternative monetary system through which people can make and receive payments. Transfer of value on Bitcoin is done by acquiring or spending bitcoins.
Satoshi limited the total number of bitcoins that will ever be in circulation to 21 million. New bitcoins are issued by adding blocks through the process of mining via proof-of-work. Every time a new block is added to the chain of blocks, transactions included in the new block are confirmed on the network. Miners earn bitcoins and can then sell them on exchanges. All 21 million bitcoins are expected to be in circulation somewhere around 2140.
Bitcoins can also be bought with fiat or other cryptocurrencies. They can be converted back into fiat or other cryptos as well. Bitcoins can also be used to buy goods and pay bills. A person who owns bitcoins owns the private keys that allows him/her to send/spend those bitcoins.