The Bitcoin network is an incredible new combination of mathematics, cryptography and economic game theory. This network came to life in January 2009 and ever since it has proven itself to be an unhackable backbone for making payments to anywhere in the world. Even though a hacker could become an instant multi-billionaire from breaking the network, nobody has ever managed to do it.
You may have heard stories of hackings including the theft of Bitcoin, but these were actually people breaking into third-party platforms that simply provided additional services, not the Bitcoin network itself.
When used correctly Bitcoin is under total control of the user. It is as real and under your control as chairs in your house. Nobody else can touch it because it is simply impossible for them to do so.
The Bitcoin network is not owned by any person or company. It emerges by the combined and equal effort of thousands of regular people around the world. The code that makes it all work is verifiably open-source, meaning that the workings of this incredible protocol has already been checked by hundreds of computer programmers all around the world.
Since 2009 hundreds of Bitcoin copycats have been made. Some are simple copies with a few tweaks whereas some are written using the general philosophy, but with totally new code and exciting new ideas.
Rather like shopping for car, some perform better than others but there is no ultimate model for everybody. Usually you have to choose between engine power and fuel economy, or between spaciousness and stylishness. The state of the art in cryptography has accelerated, but choosing a cryptocurrency requires prioritising the features you personally believe are the most valuable.