#2 – History of Blockchain

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Blockchain History

Blockchain started with a white paper published under the presumed pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” by an anonymous author (or authors) after the 2008 financial crisis. The papaer deescribed the first cryptocurrency, “bitcoin”, which keeps the account holder highly anonymous using asymmetric encryption (public, private key encryption).

The timeline below represents some of the key developments in blockchain networks since 2008

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain

It is not uncommon to hear comparisons made between blockchain and the internet. Both are revolutionary technologies with the power to reshape the way we think, act, and view the world. Comparisons of the two platforms often evoke remembrances to the famous adage that “history does not repeat itself, but it oftentimes rhymes”. This is due to the many similarities that blockchain shows at this early stage to early stages of internet roll-out and adoption. Perhaps the biggest similarities between the two platforms exist in the first “killer app” to be built upon each.

When reflecting on the history of the internet, it’s easy to see that the first truly consumer-grade application built on this new technology platform and deployed at scale was email. In other words, email was the introduction many early users had to the internet. Of course, as we all know, email is hardly the only use case for the internet and is far from the most interesting, dynamic, or impactful. Similarly, the first consumer-grade application built on blockchain and deployed at scale has been cryptocurrency. For many early users, cryptocurrencies serve as the introduction and first hands-on experience with blockchain technology. However, just as the internet is far more than just email, blockchain is far more than just digital currencies.

If up until this point in time, you believed that Bitcoin was the world’s first attempt at a digital currency that is disintermediated and trustless you would be mistaken – but you would hardly be the only one. The truth is before Bitcoin many other attempts had been made to create a truly fungible digital currency. The reason we hear little about these prior attempts is that they all failed to solve one critical problem a currency must address – the double-spend problem.

Double-spending is a potential flaw in a digital cash scheme in which the same single digital token can be spent more than once. This is possible because a digital token consists of a digital file that can be duplicated or falsified. This problem was prominent when trying to create a decentralized currency but was solved by blockchain. Blockchain solved this by putting transactions in a block, verifying each transaction, then adding these blocks to the chain.

 

 

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