Who Really Controls Bitcoin?
As a decentralized form of currency, Bitcoin prides itself on having no governing body. It is completely run by the people who use it. However, many people wonder who actually has control of Bitcoin. There are some systems that are vital to keeping Bitcoin running properly. Its blockchain technology isn’t automated, as some people believe, instead it relies on the hard work of miners to keep it going.
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A computer engineer, using the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto, first developed the concept of Bitcoin in 2008. He or she put the system into practice in 2009, when the first blockchain software was released. They then worked with an open source team via the internet to continue improving the technology. Although Nakamoto created the Bitcoin system, they never had full control of it. Nakamoto intended for it to become something bigger than any individual, including the very founder. In 2011, Nakamoto left the Bitcoin community altogether to move on to other projects.
The software continues to be maintained and improved by a group of developers on the open source team. This team is lead by Gavin Andreson, who worked very closely, via the internet, with Nakamoto in the early days of Bitcoin. The software team frequently releases new updates to the main Bitcoin software client.
They also act as leaders in the Bitcoin community. The group often releases important information about the currency and are somewhat in charge of how the Bitcoin system runs.
Who Controls The Software?
However, the software itself remains open source. This means that anyone can take it and modify it. Although this is more for personal use, rather than for making changes to the software publicly, it does mean that changes can happen within the Bitcoin system that are beyond the developer’s control.
If someone were to make changes to the software, which were subsequently implemented by other people in the community, the open source team would not be able to do anything about it. The open source team also cannot change any transactions that are made in the Bitcoin system.
Bitcoin miners also have a certain level of control over the way the system is run. Without them, Bitcoin would be completely ineffective. The job of Bitcoin miners is to encrypt (called hashing) and verify each transaction in the Bitcoin system. As a reward for doing this, they earn Bitcoins.
This process is highly competitive, and to actually earn any reward for doing this, miners must be the first in the entire world to hash a block. To make this process more profitable, most miners work in groups, often called pools. They combine their computing power, to hash more quickly, and then split the rewards amongst themselves. Some of these pools are responsible for hashing huge amounts of the Bitcoin network. AntPool, a Chinese cloud mining pool, accounts for nearly 18 percent of all Bitcoin block hashes.
Although the miners are crucial for keeping Bitcoin running, they can’t actually change any transactions. They also wouldn’t be able to change the way the system is run unless they all worked together to do so, something that’s highly unlikely to happen. That’s the beauty of Bitcoin - although it relies on certain people to keep it running, there’s no one entity with absolute power.
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