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Who is in charge of Bitcoin?

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No one is in charge of Bitcoin. The Bitcoin network is based on the consensus of everyone who participates in it. The rules of the Bitcoin game give everyone on the network an incentive to follow the rules that were established by Bitcoin’s founder.

That founder called himself Satoshi Nakamoto, but that’s widely believed to be a pseudonym. Nakamoto introduced the ideas behind Bitcoin in a 2008 paper and launched the Bitcoin network in 2009.

The technology began to gain mainstream attention in 2011, when the value of one bitcoin reached parity with the dollar. That same year, Nakamoto stopped actively participating in the Bitcoin community. He turned responsibility for the Bitcoin software over to another developer, Gavin Andresen, who has been the lead Bitcoin developer ever since.

Ultimately, the identity of Bitcoin’s creator isn’t important to Bitcoin’s success or failure, because Satoshi Nakamoto probably couldn’t control Bitcoin’s future development even if he wanted to. Today, the official Bitcoin software is maintained as an open-source project by Andresen. But not everyone on the Bitcoin network uses this software. Others have developed independent Bitcoin implementations, and people are free to modify the official Bitcoin client for their own purposes.

Andresen is an employee of the Bitcoin Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes Bitcoin. But while the foundation often represents the views of the Bitcoin community, it doesn’t have any formal authority over the Bitcoin network.