Bitcoin, the first blockchain-based cryptocurrency, was created as a peer to peer payment system that allows its users to transfer value with no central authority or third party involved.
Since networks of distributed and mostly anonymous miners are all in charge of processing the transactions, we are ensured that problems like censorship, fraud, and others aren’t possible.
The automated issuance mechanism of bitcoin through mining also seeks to remove the control of money printing from privately owned banks that lend said money to governments at an interest, creating the debt-based economy.
Benefits include the most obvious benefit to using a decentralised exchange over a centralised one is their “trustless” nature. You’re not required to trust the security or honesty of the exchange since the funds are held by you in your personal wallet and not by a third party.
Another advantage to the decentralised model is the privacy it provides. Users are not required to disclose their personal details to anyone. Except if the exchange method involves bank transfers, in which case your identity is revealed only to the person that’s selling or buying from you.
Bitcoin has been a pioneer in the field of virtual currencies as it’s the biggest cryptocurrency in the world and is the most widely-adopted by exchanges.
But it has also since been a bit overshadowed by easier to use rivals with Bitcoin having lost market share to newcomers like Ethereum and Ripple. With all of the many new altcoins” that are also cryptocurrencies that have been made and are very different to Bitcoin with many coins based on their own blockchain technology.