Bitcoin is a digital currency first described in 2008 by an anonymous developer with the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin was created as a way of transferring funds internationally without having to pay bank charges or currency conversion fees. Independent of a central bank, the currency relies on peer-to-peer file sharing and is released into circulation by any computer running an application known as a bitcoin miner. Bitcoins are traded by an increasing number of online merchants around the world and, as of 2013, the value of the total number of bitcoins in circulation exceeds £655 million ($1 billion).
Answered by Rik Sargent