The Bitcoin is arguably the world’s first successful decentralized “crypto”currency. Transferred directly from person to person and free from financial or legal regulation, Bitcoins represent a modern, networked approach to finance. The underlying technical implementation, backed by military-grade key access and cryptography, ensures that transactions are secure and verified.
While it is still too early to estimate the long-term success of internet-based currency systems it is clear that there exists demand for them, especially in scenarios where it might be more cost effective or more efficient to make transactions without the costs associated with using an intermediary. Various online retailers currently recognize and accept the Bitcoin as a valid currency, and services such as web hosting and monthly internet service can currently be purchased in Bitcoins . With over 6.2 million Bitcoins in existence today, the total market capitalization of Bitcoin, measured as the nominal value of all existing Bitcoins, was over $49,000,000 USD as of May 2011 .