Bitcoin is a decentralized network for direct value transfer (peer-to-peer). The concept was designed in 2008 under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. It remains unclear who is actually behind the pseudonym.
The Bitcoin white paper, which was published in October 2008 and spread in software development circles, contained a description of how to implement a digital currency based on blockchain technology. It describes a payment system in which its participants can transfer values on an equal and direct basis (P2P) without the help of an intermediary.
The technological basis was a complex combination of several previously developed components, which were necessary for the creation of a payment system. The combination of these components solved a previously fundamental IT problem that had so far prevented a software-based payment system (see: double spending). A cryptographic puzzle called Proof of Work made it possible to check and process payments without a central instance. All transactions are kept on independent computers in a distributed ledger system.
As the oldest and, measured by market capitalization, the most important crypto currency, Bitcoin is a censorship-resistant, decentralised peer-to-peer payment processing network with a limited supply.