Because of bitcoin's decentralized nature and its trading on online exchanges located in many countries, regulation of bitcoin has been difficult. However, the use of bitcoin can be criminalized, and shutting down exchanges and the peer-to-peer economy in a given country would constitute a de facto ban.[167] The legal status of bitcoin varies substantially from country to country and is still undefined or changing in many of them. Regulations and bans that apply to bitcoin probably extend to similar cryptocurrency systems.[168]
Vitalik Buterin picked the name Ethereum after browsing Wikipedia articles about elements and science fiction, when he found the name, noting, "I immediately realized that I liked it better than all of the other alternatives that I had seen; I suppose it was the fact that sounded nice and it had the word 'ether', referring to the hypothetical invisible medium that permeates the universe and allows light to travel."[9]
Bitcoin is a digital asset designed to work in peer-to-peer transactions as a currency.[4][135] Bitcoins have three qualities useful in a currency, according to The Economist in January 2015: they are "hard to earn, limited in supply and easy to verify."[136] Per some researchers, as of 2015, bitcoin functions more as a payment system than as a currency.[32]
Transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded in a public distributed ledger called a blockchain. Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto[10] and was released as open-source software in 2009.[11] Bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as mining. They can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services.[12] Research produced by University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.[13]
Mining is a record-keeping service done through the use of computer processing power.[e] Miners keep the blockchain consistent, complete, and unalterable by repeatedly grouping newly broadcast transactions into a block, which is then broadcast to the network and verified by recipient nodes.[75] Each block contains a SHA-256 cryptographic hash of the previous block,[75] thus linking it to the previous block and giving the blockchain its name.[7]:ch. 7[75]

Various journalists,[205][210] economists,[211][212] and the central bank of Estonia[213] have voiced concerns that bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme. In April 2013, Eric Posner, a law professor at the University of Chicago, stated that "a real Ponzi scheme takes fraud; bitcoin, by contrast, seems more like a collective delusion."[214] A July 2014 report by the World Bank concluded that bitcoin was not a deliberate Ponzi scheme.[215]:7 In June 2014, the Swiss Federal Council[216]:21 examined the concerns that bitcoin might be a pyramid scheme; it concluded that, "Since in the case of bitcoin the typical promises of profits are lacking, it cannot be assumed that bitcoin is a pyramid scheme." In July 2017, billionaire Howard Marks referred to bitcoin as a pyramid scheme.[217]
Ethereum has recently created a new standard called the ERC721 token for tracking unique digital assets. One of the biggest use cases currently for such tokens is digital collectibles, as the infrastructure allows for people to prove ownership of scarce digital goods. Many games are currently being built using this technology, such as the overnight hit CryptoKitties, a game where you can collect and breed digital cats.
• إستثمار البيتكوين يُعتبر مُقامرة: طبقاُ إلى رأى أستاذ الفقه د/جلوى الجميعة أن البيتكوين ما هى إلا عُملات يتم إستخدامها للمقامرة. حيث أن عملة البيتكوين هى عملة إفتراضية إلكترونية ليس لها أى سند أو غطاء من الذهب أو الفضة وبالتالى هى في حُكم الدين تُعتبر سلعة مجهولة المصدر. وبالتالى تتيح حدوث الكثير من عمليات النصب والإحتيال نتيجة لعدم وجود أى جهات رقابية تراقب سير عملية التداول والإستثمار الخاصة بالعملات. كما نهى الرسول تماماً عن مثل هذا النوع من الإستثمار عندما قال ”  صلى الله عليه وسلم عن شراء ما في بطون الانعام حتى تضع، وعما في ضروعها إلا بكيل أو وزن، ونهى عن شراء العبد وهو آبق، وعن شراء المغانم حتى تقسم، وعن شراء الصدقات حتى تقبض، وعن ضربة الغائص”.
طرح شخص أطلق على نفسه الاسم الرمزي ساتوشي ناكاموتو فكرة بيتكوين للمرة الأولى في ورقة بحثية في عام 2008،[2] ووصفها بأنها نظام نقدي إلكتروني يعتمد في التعاملات المالية على مبدأ الند للند (بالإنجليزية: Peer-to-Peer) ، وهو مصطلح تقني يعني التعامل المباشر بين مستخدم وآخر دون وجود وسيط (كالتورنت). يقول القائمون على بيتكوين إن الهدف من هذه العملة التي طرحت للتداول للمرة الأولى سنة 2009 [3] هو تغيير الاقتصاد العالمي بنفس الطريقة التي غيرت بها الويب أساليب النشر.[4] وفي عام 2016 أعلن رجل الأعمال الأسترالي كريغ رايت أنه هو ساتوشي ناكاموتو مقدما دليلا تقنيا على ذلك ولكن تم كشف زيف أدلّته بسهولة.[5]
الجدير بالذكر بأن بعض المواقع كانت تنشر سابقا تقديرا لمقدار الخسارة/ الربح الذي يُسجله المنقبون لكن يبدو بأنهم توقفوا عن القيام بذلك لأسباب نجهلها. قد يعتقد البعض بأنه لم يكن بالإمكان إعطاء تقدير دقيق لمقدار الخسارة أو الربح الذي يُسجله المنقبون، ولذلك تم التخلص من ذلك. إلا أنه من المُمكن جدا أنه تم التخلص من ذلك لكيلا يتم تنفير المُنقبين من عمليات التنقيب.
Another type of physical wallet called a hardware wallet keeps credentials offline while facilitating transactions.[106] The hardware wallet acts as a computer peripheral and signs transactions as requested by the user, who must press a button on the wallet to confirm that they intended to make the transaction. Hardware wallets never expose their private keys, keeping bitcoins in cold storage even when used with computers that may be compromised by malware.[99]:42–45
Bitcoin is a digital asset designed to work in peer-to-peer transactions as a currency.[4][135] Bitcoins have three qualities useful in a currency, according to The Economist in January 2015: they are "hard to earn, limited in supply and easy to verify."[136] Per some researchers, as of 2015, bitcoin functions more as a payment system than as a currency.[32]
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