Official webpage https://www.bitcoin.org/
The first cryptocurrency to see the light of day. In late 2008, an unknown person or organization with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto created a new type of digital currency. For the first time, a distributed database was created that could not be manipulated afterwards and where transactions could not just be copied. The problem of double spending were finally solved.
Since the author is unknown and there is no organization behind Bitcoin, it can be considered an unstoppable currency. There are tens of thousands of Bitcoin nodes, and although many are controlled by a handful of organizations and stakeholders, no one has such a large influence that the network can be shut down or manipulated.
Bitcoin uses Proof of Work (PoW), and has been criticized for being an environmentally unfriendly. This is because it is the largest cryptocurrency, and therefore there are also most miners who dedicate their hardware to validate other people's transactions and get a reward for their efforts. This is a job that requires a lot of energy and is therefore costly for the environment. But as a counter-argument has been given that in comparison with the gold industry and the financial industry, it is still having a small footprint.
There will never be more than 21 million BTC, which creates a system with very limited inflation. The only thing that increases the available amounts of Bitcoin is the reward that miners receive as a reward for validating transactions. This reward is halved approximately every four years. It is estimated that four million of all Bitcoin has been lost forever, through lost keys.
- Proof of Work is the consensus method that has been around the longest and has proven its security time and time again. Since 2009, the system has been up and running, and so far no one has been able to hack it.
- The network value is greatest because they came first. It inspires the greatest confidence of all digital currencies.
- More stable value than other cryptocurrencies as it has the highest market value.
- Proof of Work is slow, and Bitcoin is among the slowest cryptocurrencies with its 3-5 transactions per second. Therefore, layer 2 solutions such as Lightning Network and Bitcoin have been implemented over other networks (renBTC and WBTC).
- Bitcoin is considered to move extremely fast in the value, in comparison with the stock market. In comparison with other cryptocurrencies it is relatively stable though.
- Of course, the oldest is not technically the best anymore. Most currencies today are more technologically advanced than Bitcoin. Since the platform is the largest and oldest, it is even more important that no interruptions or losses occur. One mistake and people would lose confidence for good. This means that technical advances must be tested for years before they can be implemented.
- No support for anonymous / secret transactions.
- No support for smart contracts or distributed apps.
Bitcoin is not updated very often. The latest major update was SegWit (Segregated Witness) in 2017. But now there are two major updates that might come to reality already in 2021, namely Taproot and Schnorr signatures.
In short, Taproot means increased integrity and anonymity by making transactions from multi-signatures and regular users look similar on the blockchain, so that it is more difficult to distinguish between sender and recipient. Schnorr signatures have been around since 1989 but have been a patented technology. Now that the patet has expired, they want to implement the technology and through it be able to combine signatures, which simplifies and reduces the transaction sizes.