Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency, a digital monetary system that allows for fast and cheap payments anywhere around the globe. It differs significantly from government-issued cash, however, due to a number of factors.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, the Bitcoin ecosystem is decentralised – no single party has the ability to modify its code or to bring the network to a halt. This is achieved by having participants run software that allows them to stay up to date with a database viewable to anyone. This database (better known as the blockchain or ledger) is updated roughly every ten minutes and provides information on the movement of bitcoins between addresses.