average Americans radar. Much like gold, it can have monetary value while also being a commodity, but its still its own currency. It is also decentralized and not managed by a single entity, but rather a group of people who process transactions, called miners. In the summer of 2016, that was halved again.5 bitcoin. These rules prevent previous blocks from being modified because doing so would invalidate all the subsequent blocks.
Simply put, they do this by grouping every new bitcoin transaction made during a set time frame into a block. In recent weeks, the headlines of business journals and finance sections have covered everything from the importance of investing in bitcoin to how the bubble is about to burst (within days of bitcoin futures hitting the stock exchange). Whether the topic is popcorn or particle physics, you can count on the HowStuffWorks team to explore - and explain - the everyday science in the world around us on BrainStuff. So, should I invest? Once a block is made, it is added to the chain, which is linked together with a complex cryptography. The value started out insanely cheap and hit a bump in 2013 that took it to about 250 per bitcoin. Once bitcoin futures hit the CME Group, the price of bitcoin skyrocketed to nearly 20,000. But for now, it's quite literally an investment. The first time bitcoin was mined, the founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, released 50 bitcoin, which he kept. Currently, unless you're spending thousands of dollars to buy it in bulk, bitcoin is nothing more than a stock, though the inventors would hate to have it explained that way. Mining is a distributed consensus system that is used to confirm pending transactions by including them in the block chain.