Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.
Bitcoin is the first implementation of a concept called "cryptocurrency", which was first described in 1998 by Wei Dai on the cypherpunks mailing list, suggesting the idea of a new form of money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions, rather than a central authority. The first Bitcoin specification and proof of concept was published in 2009 in a cryptography mailing list by Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi left the project in late 2010 without revealing much about himself. The community has since grown exponentially with many developers working on Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin protocol and software are published openly and any developer around the world can review the code or make their own modified version of the Bitcoin software. Just like current developers, Satoshi's influence was limited to the changes he made being adopted by others and therefore he did not control Bitcoin. As such, the identity of Bitcoin's inventor is probably as relevant today as the identity of the person who invented paper.
Jeff Garzik is a futurist, entrepreneur and software engineer. Garzik is co-founder and CEO of Bloq. Garzik serves on the board of Coin Center, and the advisory board of BitFury, BitPay, Chain.com, Netki and WayPaver Labs. Garzik has delivered presentations on bitcoin and blockchain at TEDx, State of Digital Money, many bitcoin conferences, as well as private briefings to corporations, governments, central banks, and hedge funds.
Garzik has a long history of early technology adoption. After helping to inaugurate CNN.com on the Internet in the early 1990s, he worked for a succession of Internet startups and service providers. At the same time, he worked continuously on open source software engineering projects for over two decades.
Involvement in one of the best known open source projects - the Linux kernel - led to an extended tenure at Linux leader Red Hat during open source's most formative years. Garzik's work is found in every Android phone and data center Linux installation today.
In July 2010, Garzik stumbled across a post describing bitcoin. Immediately recognizing the potential of a concept previously thought impossible -- decentralized digital money, he did what came naturally: developed bitcoin open source software. That gave rise to the start of micro-businesses with bitcoin at their foundation. Almost by accident, Garzik found himself at the heart of the global, revolutionary, technology phenomenon known as bitcoin.
Bitcoin and blockchain served as a springboard for many new ideas and ventures, including sending objects into outer space.