Wright’s appearance complicates an already vicious custody battle. His claimed brainchild bitcoin – long billed as the future of democratized, digital money – is at the center of an ideological conflict over how to develop the technologies behind the system.
Bitcoin is a paperless, bank-less, state-less currency that allows people to pay directly for goods and services. The coins themselves are made by computers solving a set of complex math problems, and people who use their computers to make coins and record transactions are called miners.
The value of a bitcoin has fluctuated wildly since 2009 but now hovers between $400 and $450. To spend it, users buy bitcoin and transact using a third-party app such as Coinbase. Rather than a central authority validating transactions, all transfers are recorded on a public ledger. It can be used to pay for coffee, dinner or software from online stores as well