If you’re new to the crypto world, you may wonder how old the oldest crypto is. PaySpace Magazine has the answer for you
The legendary crypto asset is both the most valuable existing digital currency and the most controversial one. For most people on Earth, its creation went unnoticed. Only a bunch of blockchain enthusiasts believed in the potential of BTC until 2017 when its price started growing to five digits. Since then, Bitcoin has not only grown in purchasing power but also paved the way for global crypto adoption.
Up until today, the history of Bitcoin is shrouded in mystery.
The first mention of blockchain technology appeared in the Bitcoin white paper. This technical description outlined a cryptographically secured, trustless, decentralised, peer-to-peer electronic payment system that functions independent of any governments or institutions.
The concept was created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto whose real name remains unknown up-to-date. Nakamoto initially claimed to be a thirty-six-year-old Japanese man, yet this fact failed to prove. That gave rise to many theories regarding his identity. There have been dozens of candidates for the Bitcoin creator’s title, but none has ever confirmed their involvement. Some people believe Satoshi is not a single person but a group of developers, as the Bitcoin code is very complex and almost impeccable. One theory even links the name to the most powerful tech companies of the time (Samsung, Toshiba, Nakamichi and Motorola).
Whoever that was, they published the white paper on the 31st of October, 2008. The domain name bitcoin.org was registered a few months before – in August 2008. It means the developing team or a person behind the project had already formulated the concept of the pioneer crypto currency and gave it a name. In one of the rare messages from the mysterious Nakamoto, he mentioned he had spent more than a year writing the software. The creator was partly driven by anger over the recent financial crisis that started in 2007 and reached its peak in September 2008.
At the same time, practical realisation of the concept required some time. The Bitcoin network came alive on the 3rd of January, 2009. Satoshi Nakamoto mined the genesis block of Bitcoin (block number 0), which had a mining reward of 50 Bitcoins.
The first Bitcoin transaction required some time for eager people to download the necessary software and give the mining a try. The receiver of the first Bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Harold Thomas (Hal) Finney, who created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPoW) back in 2004. Finney had been involved in the crypto community for a long time before virtual currencies existed and he rushed to the new opportunity right away. For years, he had worked with the PGP Corporation on the most prominent encryption products. He ran the first crypto-based anonymous remailer and was involved with the Cypherpunks mailing list. Cypherpunks have been engaged in an active movement since at least the late 1980s.
Reusable Proof-of-Work (RPOW) was an invention by Hal Finney intended as a prototype for digital cash based on Nick Szabo’s theory of collectibles. RPOW was a significant early step in the history of digital cash and was a precursor to Bitcoin. Most probably, Bitcoin was inspired by earlier digital cash proposals: b-money by Wei Dai and Bit Gold by Nick Szabo.
First revealed in 1998 by computer scientist Wei Dai, who developed the Crypto++ cryptographic library, b-money was intended to be an anonymous, distributed electronic cash system, but was never officially launched.
Some fans of conspiracy theories attribute Bitcoin authorship to Nick Szabo who created the Bit Gold concept. Although the bit gold project was never implemented, Szabo’s digital cash attempt has a very strong resemblance to Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin protocol. It was also proposed in 1998.
To sum it up, the concept of virtual decentralised currencies has been around for at least 23 years now. However, the early creators lacked technical implementation. The crypto community needed 10 years to come up with a solid backbone of the blockchain technology that allowed Bitcoin to finally launch.