A peer-to-peer network is one in which members can interact directly with one another without relying on third parties for approval or support. Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network because nodes connect directly to one another and relay transactions and blocks. Additionally, Bitcoin users can transact in a peer-to-peer fashion because ownership of bitcoin is passed directly from sender to receiver. Even though miners process transactions, they never take custody of the bitcoin, and are never able to redirect a transaction to steal funds from users.
Peer-to-peer systems are usually resistant to censorship and corruption, and Bitcoin is a prime example. Tens of thousands of peers in the Bitcoin network run nodes in order to validate the blockchain and maintain Bitcoin’s decentralization.
A peer-to-peer financial system is fundamentally different from Venmo, PayPal, or ACH or wire transfers, where corporations, banks, and governments can interfere with, censor, or roll back payments without a user’s permission. While the majority of users trust these legacy institutions enough to use them, Bitcoin removes the need to trust a third party at all.