8 BITS ABOUT BIT­COIN

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Only a fi­nite num­ber of bit­coins can be gen­er­ated by the net­work. By the year 2140, all 21 mil­lion bit­coins would have been mined and be in cir­cu­la­tion (save those that have been lost for­ever) and the value will con­tinue to de­flate if the crypto-cur­rency con­tin­ues to go main­stream.

To­day, if we were to use a Macbook Air to mine bit­coins, it would have to run 24/7 for 63 months to ob­tain one bit­coin. Glob­ally the net­work of bit­coin min­ing com­put­ers is over 250 times more pow­er­ful that the world's top 500 su­per­com­put­ers com­bined.

Brit James How­ells threw away a hard drive con­tain­ing 7,500 bit­coins which he had bought and mined a cou­ple of years ago. When he even­tu­ally re­mem­bered that he had binned the ir­re­triev­able wal­let, the bit­coins were worth up­wards of $7.5 mil­lion.

Pizza, a ticket to space, ho­tel rooms, Snoop Dogg's mu­sic, an on­line dat­ing pro­file, Lam­borgh­ini, lin­gerie, a col­lege de­gree and fur­ni­ture are some of the pur­chases you can cur­rently make with bit­coins.

Over the years sev­eral spec­u­la­tions have been floated, and none con­firmed, over the iden­tity of Satoshi Nakamoto, the most re­cent one by Newsweek in March this year. Some the­o­ries sug­gest that Bit­coin was de­vel­oped by a group of multi-na­tional cor­po­ra­tions and the pseu­do­nym is a com­bi­na­tion of the names Sam­sung, Toshiba, Nakamichi and Mo­torola. The small­est unit of bit­coin is called a satoshi.

There are sev­eral crypto-cur­ren­cies cur­rently in cir­cu­la­tion in­clud­ing Lite­coin, Do­ge­coin, Dark­coin, Ripple and Auro­ra­coin, though none have yet quite reached the pop­u­lar­ity of the first one – Bit­coin.

Google Fi­nance has launched a bit­coin price tracker, of­fer­ing mar­ket in­for­ma­tion across sev­eral ma­jor fiat cur­ren­cies as well as ac­cess to break­ing news in the dig­i­tal cur­rency world. Ear­lier this year Ya­hoo! Fi­nance and Bloomberg also added bit­coin prices to their ter­mi­nals.

U.S. Mar­shals pre­pare to auc­tion off close to 30,000 bit­coins, a frac­tion of what was seized af­ter the ar­rest of Silk Road owner Ross Ul­bricht. Bids for the auc­tion will be sub­mit­ted, re­viewed and awarded by the end of June and the bit­coins will come un­der the ham­mer in blocks of 3,000, worth close to $1.7 mil­lion a pop. The an­nounce­ment has caused a sig­nif­i­cant dip in the value of bit­coin and this is likely to hap­pen again if more of the bit­coins are auc­tioned off.

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