The Bitcoin system was launched in 2009. It uses peer-to-peer software to transfer bitcoins, which are a essentially a secret number that can be transferred to other computers using a cryptographic process that verifies transactions are legitimate.
The system has been described as brilliant in concept, but like any new technology suffers from scalability and usability problems, which were among the many issues discussed over the weekend at the Bitcoin 2013 conference in Silicon Valley.
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