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As a new user, you can start using Bitcoin without understanding the technical details. Once a Bitcoin wallet is installed on your computer or mobile phone, it will generate your first Bitcoin address and you can create one whenever you need. This address can be shown to your friends so they can pay you, or vice versa. In fact, it's quite similar to how email works, except that Bitcoin addresses should only be used once.
The blockchain is a common public registry on which the entire Bitcoin network is based. All confirmed transactions are included in the blockchain. In this way, Bitcoin wallets can calculate the balances that can be spent and new transactions can be verified to involve bitcoins that are actually owned by the payer. The integrity and chronological order of the blockchain are empowered by cryptography.
A transaction is a transfer of value between Bitcoin wallets that is included in the blockchain. Bitcoin wallets keep a secret piece of data called a private key or seed, which is used to sign transactions, providing mathematical proof that it comes from the wallet holder.
The signature also prevents someone else from altering the transaction after it has been issued. All transactions are issued between users and usually begin to be confirmed by the network within the next 10 minutes through a process called mining.
Mining is a consensual distributed system used to confirm pending transactions by including them in the blockchain. Mining imposes a chronological order in the blockchain, protects network neutrality, and also allows the various computers on the network to agree on the condition of the system.
In order to be confirmed, the transactions must be included in a block that respects very strict cryptographic rules that will be verified by the Bitcoin network. These rules prevent previous blocks from being modified, as this would invalidate all subsequent blocks.
Mining is also the equivalent of a competitive lottery that prevents a case in which an individual can easily add new blocks consecutively to the blockchain. In this way, no individual can control what is included in the blockchain or replace parts of the blockchain to withdraw their own transactions.