The History of the Blockchain

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04:46 minutes
Watch Video
04:46 minutes

When did the first work on blockchains begin? 1991 - First work on blockchain-like concept occurred The first mention of any sort of blockchain-like technology dates back to 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta did the first work on a secured chain of blocks. 1992 - Blockchain-like technology improved by incorporating Merkle trees The next year, 1992, saw the introduction of Merkle Trees to blockchain-like design which enabled multiple documents to be stored in a single block, increasing blockchain efficiency. When was decentralization first thought of? 2002 - Decentralized trust within a network system was conceptualized Ten years later, in 2002, the concept of decentralized trust within a network file system was formulated by David Mazieres and Dennis Shasha. 2005 - Bitgold was proposed: A Blockchain-like system with Proof of Work In 2005, Nick Szabo proposed Bitgold: a protocol for decentralized property titles that incorporated a blockchain-like system. This protocol involved Proof-of-Work and timestamping features. Unfortunately, BitGold had one fatal weakness. It was discovered that someone who held a balance of BitGold could spend their coins twice without being “caught” - this weakness became known as the “double-spending problem.” Bitcoin arrives on the scene! 2008 - Bitcoin’s Whitepaper was published Everything mentioned up until this point laid the foundation for the first real blockchain. While Haber, Stornetta, Mazieres, Szabo, etc. were flirting with the concept of a blockchain, a real live blockchain was never actually created until 2008. In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper called Bitcoin - A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. This paper solved the double-spending problem that troubled Bitgold and would become the white paper written for the first real, working blockchain. 2009 - Bitcoin launched using true blockchain technology In 2009, with help from programmer Hal Finney and others, Satoshi Nakamoto made Bitcoin a reality. The code was written, the blockchain was born, and Nakamoto mined the first blocks himself. Hal Finney was the recipient of the very first Bitcoin transaction when he received 10 Bitcoin from Nakamoto. Blockchains enter mainstream consciousness 2014 - Blockchain innovation gathered attention The years following Bitcoin's release saw it gain tremendous popularity and use. It became seen as a legitimate method of payment - in fact, it was the only one that could be used for certain purposes (like donating to WikiLeaks). From 2009 to present, we've seen huge increases in file sizes on blockchains, innovations that change the way they work, and booms in the prices of shares of the technology. Many people who are uninformed about blockchain technology think that Bitcoin and blockchain are the same thing. This is not correct. Actually, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency protocol built on a blockchain. 2014 was the first year that investors and innovators really started focusing on improving blockchain technology and building new blockchains. How have blockchains evolved since Bitcoin? 2014 - Blockchain 2.0: Decentralized Apps and Smart Contracts were conceptualized In 2014, the term Blockchain 2.0 was first used in The Economist magazine. Blockchain 2.0 refers to the emergence of applications that can be executed on a blockchain database. This innovation represented a massive step forward in blockchain technology. With this concept, the prospect of running Decentralized Apps (apps that have their code distributed amongst users rather than stored by a centralized authority)on a blockchain became a possibility and Smart Contracts became plausible, as well. 2015 - Ethereum launched as the first Blockchain 2.0 The very next year, 2015, saw the launch of the first Blockchain 2.0. Vitalik Buterin, a contributor during Bitcoin's creation, saw room for improvement over Bitcoin and wrote the code for Ethereum. Ethereum promises to provide the same functionality as Bitcoin but will also feature the ability to run Decentralized Apps. 2017 - Initial Coin Offerings and blockchain-based projects became common While new blockchain projects have been appearing since investors and innovators started focusing on blockchain technology in 2014, 2017 was a year marked by an explosion in blockchain-based platforms. Initial Coin Offerings, also known as ICOs, in which early investors are given the chance to buy the first shares of a project became extremely common in 2017.

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