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Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

By Satoshi Nakamoto

Abstract. A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online

payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a

financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main

benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending.

We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network.

The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of

hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing

the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of

events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power. As

long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to

attack the network, they'll generate the longest chain and outpace attackers. The

network itself requires minimal structure. Messages are broadcast on a best effort

basis, and nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will, accepting the longest

proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone.

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