Bitcoin is an invention that, for the first time in history, enabled a group of software users to create and manage a digital money supply outside the control of any government or bank. A revolutionary idea when introduced in 2009, Bitcoin continues to have implications that are just beginning to be understood and explored by technologists and economists today. The Bitcoin protocol enables computers running its software to manage a data set (the blockchain) and enforce a set of rules that make this data (bitcoins) scarce and valuable.
The Bitcoin blockchain is a full record of the network’s history validated by individuals running the Bitcoin software (nodes). This ensures that unlike most digital data, which can be freely copied and modified, bitcoins cannot be. Because bitcoins are scarce, divisible and transferable, bitcoins are used as money.