On 3 January 2009, the bitcoin network was created when Nakamoto mined the first block of the chain, known as the genesis block. Embedded in the coinbase of this block was the text "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks". This note references a headline published by The Times and has been interpreted as both a timestamp and a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.:18
بيتكوين (بالإنجليزية: Bitcoin) هي عملة معماة ونظام دفع عالمي يمكن مقارنتها بالعملات الأخرى مثل الدولار أو اليورو، لكن مع عدة فوارق أساسية، من أبرزها أن هذه العملة هي عملة إلكترونية بشكل كامل تتداول عبر الإنترنت فقط من دون وجود فيزيائي لها. وهي أول عملة رقمية لامركزية - فهي نظام يعمل دون مستودع مركزي أو مدير واحد، أي أنها تختلف عن العملات التقليدية بعدم وجود هيئة تنظيمية مركزية تقف خلفها. وتتم المعاملات بشبكة الند للند بين المستخدمين مباشرة دون وسيط من خلال استخدام التشفير. يتم التحقق من هذه المعاملات عن طريق عُقد الشبكة وتسجيلها في دفتر حسابات موزع وعام يسمى سلسلة الكتل. اخترع البيتكوين شخص غير معروف أو مجموعة من الناس عرف باسم ساتوشي ناكاموتو وأُصدِر كبرنامج مفتوح المصدر في عام 2009.
Lightweight clients consult full clients to send and receive transactions without requiring a local copy of the entire blockchain (see simplified payment verification – SPV). This makes lightweight clients much faster to set up and allows them to be used on low-power, low-bandwidth devices such as smartphones. When using a lightweight wallet, however, the user must trust the server to a certain degree, as it can report faulty values back to the user. Lightweight clients follow the longest blockchain and do not ensure it is valid, requiring trust in miners.
It takes a (global) village to raise a blockchain. The live network and the community of open source developers contribute significantly to this effort. They continuously refine and harden the Ethereum platform, helping it get faster at responding to industry demands for the value propositions it offers. These investments of time and resources speak to their faith in Ethereum governance and the value that businesses and developers see in its capabilities. – Joseph Lubin, CEO of Consensys
In the end, the majority of the Ethereum community voted to perform a hard fork, and retrieve The DAO investors money. But not everyone agreed with this course of action. This resulted in a split where two parallel blockchains now exist. For those members who strongly disagree with any changes to the blockchain even when hacking occurs there is Ethereum classic. For the majority who agreed to rewrite a small part of the blockchain and return the stolen money to their owners, there is Ethereum.
As the industry continues to investigate blockchain platforms, it’s apparent that Ethereum is becoming a de facto leader. For example, a few days ago JPMorgan publicly open-sourced its Quorum platform, architected and developed around the Go Ethereum client by Jeff Wilcke and his team. Several other major banks are using Ethereum, and Microsoft is anchoring its Bletchley platform on it as the foundational blockchain element. Industry, both publicly and confidentially, continues to contribute to Ethereum and work with us and others to help our promising, toddler-age codebase reach maturity. Stay tuned for news on this front.
Researchers have pointed out at a "trend towards centralization". Although bitcoin can be sent directly from user to user, in practice intermediaries are widely used.:220–222 Bitcoin miners join large mining pools to minimize the variance of their income.:215, 219–222:3 Because transactions on the network are confirmed by miners, decentralization of the network requires that no single miner or mining pool obtains 51% of the hashing power, which would allow them to double-spend coins, prevent certain transactions from being verified and prevent other miners from earning income. As of 2013 just six mining pools controlled 75% of overall bitcoin hashing power. In 2014 mining pool Ghash.io obtained 51% hashing power which raised significant controversies about the safety of the network. The pool has voluntarily capped their hashing power at 39.99% and requested other pools to act responsibly for the benefit of the whole network. Between 2017 and 2019 over 70% of the hashing power and 90% of transactions were operating from China.