La monnaie du Web invisible

Bitcoin, de l’anglais « bit » : unité d’information binaire et « coin » : pièce de monnaie) est une monnaie cryptographique et un système de paiement peer-to-peer (est un modèle de réseau informatique proche du modèle client-serveur mais où chaque client est aussi un serveur) inventé par Satoshi Nakamoto, qui annonce l’invention en 2008 et publie le logiciel open-source en 2009.

Son unité de compte est le bitcoin, limitée à 21 millions d’unités et divisible jusqu’à la huitième décimale. Toutes les transactions sont vérifiées par les nœuds du réseau et enregistrées dans un registre public infalsifiable appelé « blockchain ». Le système fonctionne sans autorité centrale, ni administrateur unique, mais de manière décentralisée grâce au consensus de l’ensemble des nœuds du réseau. Bitcoin est la plus importante monnaie cryptographique décentralisée avec une capitalisation proche de 10 milliards d’euros en 2016.

Symbole du Bitcoin

Les bitcoins sont créés conformément au code source du logiciel, en rétribution du traitement des transactions. Certains utilisateurs mettent à contribution leur puissance de calcul informatique afin de vérifier, d’enregistrer et de sécuriser les transactions dans la chaîne de blocs. Cette activité, appelée minage, permet aux participants d’être rémunérés pour chaque nouveau bloc validé.
Les bitcoins peuvent ensuite être échangés contre d’autres monnaies, biens ou services.
Le prix de la crypto-monnaie, est fixé principalement sur des places de marché spécialisées (il n’y a pas d’autorité centrale pour fixer le prix), selon la loi de l’offre et de la demande.

En tant que moyen de paiement, Bitcoin est accepté par un nombre croissant de commerçants.
Une transaction bitcoin est irrévocable et ne peut être annulée.
Malgré une croissance de 500 % du nombre de marchands acceptant le bitcoin en 2014, la crypto-monnaie n’est pas encore très implantée dans le commerce de détail mais continue de s’implanter dans les échanges commerciaux.

Depuis sa création en 2009 et jusqu’à la fermeture par les autorités américaines de Silk Road, Bitcoin a été utilisé majoritairement comme moyen d’échange par des réseaux criminels, pour des jeux d’argents, acheter des substances illicites et des bases de données piratées.
La crypto-monnaie a attiré l’attention des régulateurs financiers, des organes législatifs de différents pays notamment américains et des médias.
Néanmoins, ces dernières années, la crypto-monnaie a mûri et un nombre croissant d’études concluent que ces activités illégales, bien qu’elles existent toujours comme dans tout système de paiement, ne représentent plus qu’une part minoritaire des échanges de la crypto-monnaie.

Le symbole monétaire officiel « BitcoinSign.svg » a été déposé et accepté en 2015 auprès d’Unicode (standard informatique qui permet des échanges de textes dans différentes langues, à un niveau mondial).
Les sigles correspondants, utilisés par les plateformes d’échanges, sont « BTC » et « XBT ». Parmi les symboles non officiels utilisés, on trouve « ฿ » et « Ƀ ».

Pour suivre l’actualité : https://bitcoin.fr

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