Funny Money? Making Sense of Bitcoin

The virtual currency has its share of critics, but retailers are beginning to embrace its freewheeling philosophyWith so much of our life (communications, music, media, and more) residing in cyberspace, it seems fitting that money would eventually go digital. Bitcoin, rolled out in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (his actual identity is unknown), is a cyber currency that uses “bitcoins” in lieu of dollars to pay for goods and services; users send and receive them from a virtual wallet.In mid-2010, Nakamoto, a shadowy Internet legend who’s reportedly in possession of millions of dollars worth of bitcoins, passed the torch to Web developer Gavin Andersen.Since there isn’t a bank that creates physical currency, bitcoins are created through mining, which involves mathematical algorithms that were resolved by hundreds of computers scattered around the world and then published. Roughly every

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