8 BITS ABOUT BITCOIN
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.