Have been hearing about Blockchain or using Bitcoin and wondered how it came about? This article tells you the history of Blockchain while reviewing the timeline of Blockchain development.
Like every other technology, some innovations gave birth to Blockchain. Therefore, it would make more sense to trace the pre-Blockchain era before talking about the history of Blockchain itself. However, Blockchain did not just emerge. It started from curious and deliberate attempts to bring peer to peer transaction in a secure and distributed system.
Consequently, this article addresses four major Blockchain timelines: Open-source movements, Bitcoin, Blockchain and smart contracts, and Blockchain scaling. The timelines date the history of Blockchain until the present state of Blockchain.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is a decentralized, distributed database, consisting of records called blocks used to record transactions across many nodes so that any block involved cannot be altered retroactively, without the alteration of all subsequent blocks. In other words, Blockchain permits a peer-to-peer trustless system where you can perform transactions without the need of a central administrator.
The history of Blockchain would not be complete without mentioning Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudo-anonymous entity or entities, who published the famous Bitcoin white paper in 2008. In Satoshi’s white paper, Blockchain wasn’t a single word: it is instead “Block and Chain” until in 2016, where the word was merged as “Blockchain.”
Blockchain timelines you should know.
Before Satoshi, there are several works about Blockchain. One of the first documented work was a cryptographically secured chain of blocks, as described by Stuart Haber and W. Scot Stornetta in 1991. They wanted to implement a system where document timestamps could not be tampered with.
Another notable move in the history of Blockchain is when Dave Bayer joined Haber and Stornetta to incorporate the Merkle tree in their previous timestamp untampered design in 1992.
The following characterizes the open-source movement
- 1940s– cryptography encryption.
- The 1980s– Open-source community, digital money, and distributed computing.
- 1980-2000— development and use of cryptographic techniques like SHA function, ECDSA, and etcetera.
- The 1990s— Peer to Peer, P2P networks.
While the open-source movements laid the foundations for Blockchain’s invention, the Bitcoin era was the first pronounced implementation of Blockchain. It was in this era that Satoshi published Bitcoin white paper, following other landmark innovations. Below is the recap of the Bitcoin era events:
- 2008- the publication of Bitcoin white paper.
- 2009- date the first Bitcoin transaction between Satoshi and Hal Finney.
- 2013- the start of ICO fundraising and issuing of the master coin.
- 2014- date development of applications, wallets, and bitcoin infrastructure, including mining farms.
Blockchain and smart contracts
This timeline in the history of Blockchain started in 2013 through the invention of Ethereum and smart contract by Vitalik Butterin, the founder of Ethereum. Below are the events of the Blockchain and smart contract timeline:
- 2015- Ethereum created smart contracts and DApps development.
- 2017- first Proof of Stake, PoS on Ethereum,
- The emergence of new Blockchain platforms like Corda, Stellar, Hyoerledger, and etcetera
- The market exceeded $1B and over 1000 cryptocurrencies.
- Verification methods like Proof of History, PoH, Proof of Importance, PoI, Proof of Authority, PoA
Blockchain became popular, and industries are researching the usefulness and how it could disrupt existing industrial challenges. This timeline started in 2019, and it includes the following:
- Use of Blockchain for social purposes such as messaging, games, etcetera.
- Expansion and evolution of networks that infrastructures layer of the crypto stake, example are protocols in DeFi,
- Growth of DApps to large scale decentralized services
- Finding a Blockchain application beyond finance. Example: Applying Blockchain in medicine, energy, and etc.
The history of Blockchain dates back to the Open-source movement before Bitcoin where digital money and cryptography were the major concerns. Blockchain adoption is beginning to grow and is being utilized across more industries everyday.
Okereke has a passion for researching blockchain and cryptocurrency. He enjoys creating long form educational content to inform others on the opportunities in this space.