Bitcoin refers to two things at the same time.
* The Bitcoin digital asset (BTC). These are the actual digital coins. There will only ever be a total of 21 million Bitcoin in existence.
* The Bitcoin network. This is the blockchain that powers Bitcoin and is what gives the digital asset its value and practical applications.
The Bitcoin digital asset is very simple. Bitcoin is just a digital coin, often abbreviated to BTC. It’s like any other coin except it’s purely digital. These coins are gradually created over time, up to a maximum of 21 million.
Each of these coins can be collected, traded and spent like money.
The amount of new coins created will slow down over time and it will eventually take decades to produce just a few coins at the end. When someone talks about buying, selling or trading Bitcoin, they’re talking about these coins. Everything else that makes Bitcoin special is down to the Bitcoin network.The Bitcoin network has two main jobs:
1. It carries Bitcoin transactions. When you spend Bitcoin, it’s being carried to the recipient through the Bitcoin network.
2. It keeps a record of all Bitcoin transactions ever made and records them in a digital ledger.
What makes the Bitcoin network special is that no one’s in charge of it and no one can control it. No one can stop it from carrying transactions or creating more Bitcoin and no one can stop it from meticulously recording all Bitcoin transactions in its digital ledger.