The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent distrust in traditional finance prompted an anonymous individual who used the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto to publish the Bitcoin whitepaper. He eventually released the Bitcoin software and launched Bitcoin (BTC) by mining the Genesis Block (the very first block) on January 3, 2009.
Bitcoin is a fully decentralized peer to peer cryptocurrency and blockchain that does without the need for trust in a third party or a centralized authority. This is done thru its novel Proof of Work system where “miners” compete to solve a “puzzle” and the one who gets the puzzle right gets to create a new block and is rewarded with Bitcoin for his efforts
Bitcoin’s value is partly derived from the fact that there will only be 21 million Bitcoin in existence and as of now around 17 million have already been mined, after which no new Bitcoin will ever be created. The Bitcoin protocol includes a mechanism that halves the rewards every 210,000 blocks or roughly every 4 years, this halving reduces the rewards per block mined and makes inflation lower as the years go by. This is in stark contrast to fiat currency which central banks can print at will which devalues the currency thru inflation.
Bitcoin can be subdivided up to 8 decimal places with the smallest unit of Bitcoin being called a Satoshi or Sat which is 0.00000001 BTC.