protocol and network seem like two separate things. When peeps refer to bitcoin then it could mean protocol, software (what do they mean by that) or the network (what exactly do they mean by that ?) or currency ?
Bitcoin Network is a network of computers connected to each other in peer-to-peer fashion whereas a Bitcoin Protocol is/are the rules that govern this network.
Now, this computer that is a part of the
Bitcoin network run a software which makes this
Bitcoin Network and its functionalities possible, this software follows some rule/protocol which is nothing but Bitcoin Protocol.
The Bitcoin protocol defines the rules that software must follow in order to be a part of the bitcoin network. A user can run software to create what is called a ‘ bitcoin node’, and it is the collection of all of these nodes that creates a network.
If the software does not follow the protocol rules, then that node will be banned from the network by the other nodes.
Users can also interact with the network in other ways beyond running a node, for example there are many options for ‘light wallets’ that can be run on a mobile phone.
The native asset of the network is a cryptocurrency called bitcoin.