Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer digital currency with no central authority. It was created in Jan. 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions are managed entirely by the network. Please ask only programming questions about Bitcoin. For other types of questions, please consider Bitcoin Stack Exchange.

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It turns out that the SHA-256 algorithm used for mining is pretty simple and can in fact be done by hand. Not surprisingly, the process is extremely slow compared to hardware mining and is entirely impractical. But performing the algorithm manually is a good way to understand exactly how it works.

Bitcoin is digital cash - a monetary system that melds the self-sufficiency and anonymity of cash with the convenience and power of the internet, allowing you to send and receive funds around the world without relying on a central authority such as a bank.