Bitcoin is a decentralized cryptocurrency originally described in a 2008 whitepaper by a person, or group of people, using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. It was launched soon after, in January 2009.
Bitcoin, according to Nakamoto, allows “online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.” Bitcoin was the very first cryptocurrency to appear on the market. It created a global community and opened the door to an entirely new industry of millions of creators and investors who trade, and use Bitcoin in their everyday lives.
While Nakamoto was the original inventor he handed over the network alert key and control of the code repository to Gavin Andresen, who is now the lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation. A large number of people have contributed to improving the cryptocurrency’s software by patching vulnerabilities and adding new features over the past several years. Bitcoin’s source code repository on GitHub lists more than 750 contributors, with some of the key ones being Wladimir J. van der Laan, Marco Falke, Pieter Wuille, Gavin Andresen, Jonas Schnelli and others.