Techs on the beach – The development of cryptocurrencies takes root in cultural, political and technological influences: these three parts are found under the ideology of Libertarianism. Today, we are going to go back to the first traces, from 1990. Don’t be fooled by words, this article is for everyone, from novices to the most seasoned!
What is Libertarianism?
A political ideology that believes that authority, organization and administrations should be least centralized possible. For its advocates, individuals should have as much power as possible to decide over the course of their lives without ever having to sacrifice rights and properties for the benefit of a government, in a manner excessive.
Surely you are already aware of the existing link with Bitcoin. With a state control centralized and growing, especially that of services and individual information, libertarians began to worry about the fate of the private life…
From online discussions on forums to mailing lists, two groups formed:
- the cypherpunks
- the Crypto-anarchists
And both advocated the use of cryptography in order to protect his private life !
💡 If the question interests you, I redirect you to the famous Cypherpunk Manifesto
Cryptography has seen several failed cryptocurrency attempts: it is from these failures that Satoshi Nakamoto, considered “the” creator of Bitcoin.
Because the article wishes to address everyone, here are two prerequisites served here, for you:
The Proof of Work in one sentence
It involves solving a mathematical problem using computer computing power.
Consensus Explained Simply
You and your friends would like to eat somewhere for lunch. With equal weight, everyone is encouraged to express their opinion on what they would like to swallow in order to reach a consensus. Here is your place to eat.
However, “don’t trust human, trust code” is an adage of value for the ecosystem. For this, nothing exceptional, we need to use a consensus algorithm in order to ensure thatno human bias does not intervene in the decision-making that will guide the content (i.e. transactions) of a blockchain.
💡 If you want to know more about the subject, I redirect you This article summary of the JDC
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These aborted projects that paved the way for the most famous cryptocurrency
David Chaum and Digicash
David is a cryptographer and computer engineer. During his studies at Berkeley (the equivalent of our HEC, but in California), he invented the confidential signatures.
One of his dissertations dating from 1982 brought together all the elements found in the Bitcoin blockchain except Proof of Work !
In 83, he invented what he marketed under the Digicash company.
His invention allowed users to sign transactions without revealing their identity, but it failed due to centralization.
Adam Back invented this brilliant system when he was only 27 years old. Doctor in computer science and cryptographer, he materialized the ancestor of the Proof of Work.
Hashcash reduced spam by forcing each user to solve a puzzle in order to send an email. Today it is largely used as a bitcoin mining function except for a few details.
The Hashcash stamp affixed to the email constituted proof of work, requiring a configurable quantity, which the sender had to calculate before sending. The recipient – and everyone involved in the network in reality – could effectively verify the received stamp.
B-Money was the first cryptocurrency proposal in the true sense of the term. Invented by Wei Dai, it concentrated many elements found in Bitcoin :
- a proof of work (Proof Of Work) verified by the community
- the idea of the blockchain explorer: all users held a copy from the database
- all transactions were validated using hashes cryptographic
- the individuals involved in maintaining the network were rewarded financially
- contracts and transactions were executed by broadcast and digital signatures
The JDC has also drafted an article on the subject if you want to know it in more detail!
October 2008, a rather insignificant date for the history of cryptocurrencies
It is 15 days after the declaration of bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers – an event that dragged the world markets into its fall – that Satoshi Nakamoto published a White Paper.
Behind its delicate title “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, it must be admitted that the latter was timely. Beyond the technical explanations, it is above all the justification of a digital currency found in these 9 pages.
The argument is easily based on the failure banks, distrust of trusted third parties and the human fallibility.
the economic and financial context in which the dark world only serves a clear purpose that will find growing resonance over the years: “the” creator of bitcoin has found the best momentum.
📽️ If you want to learn more about the genesis, I recommend the mini web-series Arte The Satoshi Mystery: Investigating the Inventor of Bitcoin
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