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It all started in 1976: Here’s a timeline of scientific papers that ended up with Satoshi’s blockchain/Bitcoin!

AutoMod removed the original post due to “wrongly linking an user directly in the post”. smh. Posting again.

TL;DR: Timeline of scientific papers and original ideas that ended up leading to Bitcoin.

As pointed out by user mirza1h, Bitcoin was not the first cryptocurrency. I felt compelled to share some technical history with you people, in a very summarized way. Hope you like!

**[1976]**, **The Diffie–Hellman key exchange protocol**: This is the first known protocol to propose a private and a public key in cryptography. Before that, two parties would needed to agree in advance on which key would be used to decrypt a message. It’s the classical “knock this *tip tip top* pattern when you reach my door” we see in old movies. After the protocol, no previous agreement was needed. You can find the paper here: [https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1055638/](https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1055638/)

**[1983], David Chaum’s eCash**: He published many papers about how to transfer value through the web. A full list can be found here: [https://www.chaum.com/publications/](https://www.chaum.com/publications/).

**[1980’s], The Goldwasser-Micali-Rivest Digital Signature**: With the DH protocol, you could share your public keys and the other party could decrypt your message, but there was no way for this other party to verify if the message was actually sent by you. The papers published in the 1980’s by these authors fixed that. A nice paper from them that summarizes everything can be found [here](https://people.csail.mit.edu/silvio/Selected%20Scientific%20Papers/Digital%20Signatures/A_Digital_Signature_Scheme_Secure_Against_Adaptive_Chosen-Message_Attack.pdf).

**[1997], Adam Back’s HashCash:** The very first proof-of-work algorithm that was probably the biggest inspiration for Satoshi. You can find all the related papers here: [http://hashcash.org/papers/](http://hashcash.org/papers/)

**[1998]**, **Wei Dai’s B-money concept**: Traced out the very concept of what we know today as smart contracts and exchange of value without the need of a third-party verification. Read it here: [http://www.weidai.com/bmoney.txt](http://www.weidai.com/bmoney.txt)

**[2001], Liberty Reserve:** A centralized digital currency system based in Costa Rica. Shut down due to tax implications and money laundering for criminal uses. More info on their [Wikipedia page](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberty_Reserve).

**[2005], Nick Szabo’s Bit Gold:** I hardly doubt that Satoshi did not read Nick’s idea and proposal (and I’m not sure if he/she/they ever mentioned it in their communications). It’s extremely similar to what Bitcoin is. Details can be found here: [https://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2005/12/bit-gold.html](https://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2005/12/bit-gold.html)

There would be a lot more to share, because science is cumulative: Maxwell’s electromagnetism needed Newton’s calculus, Newton’s calculus needed Hasan Ibn al-Haytham’s and others’ ideas; Einstein’s photoelectric effect needed Planck’s energy quantization, which needed Clausius’s and Gibb’s works on thermodynamics, so forth and so on.

Some say that Bitcoin is a technological fraud, because it poses nothing new, i.e. all of its ideas were published before, these people forget that the theory was published in *separate papers and perspectives.* With this argument, we can pretty much say that Maxwell’s electromagnetism is a fraud. Why don’t we say that? Because it works. The same goes for Bitcoin.

Godspeed and happy 60k!

Contribuiton of user oGceaseless: Satoshi greatest contribution was to solve the Byzantine Generals Problem.



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29 Comments

  1. Amazed at how little the history leading up to Bitcoin is known to most people. I seriously didn’t know this. Thank you for sharing. We need more content like this. Giving you an award.

  2. > Some say that Bitcoin is a technological fraud, because it poses nothing new

    Those people always miss the most important component, as you did. When David Chaum implementated his ideas as e-Cash, it was centralized. Nobody considered decentralization before Satoshi because the processing power and bandwidth wasn’t available (still isn’t in countries like India and Brazil)

    Maybe Satoshi had been planning a decentralized digital cash for years, and by 2007 it was finally possible

    > proof-of-work algorithm that was probably the biggest inspiration for Satoshi

    Nonsense. Proof of work is important only because it supports decentralization

  3. Copy-pasted my comment on the previous thread because I’m interested in the discussion

    I think the success Bitcoin had is in part due to the era in which it was created.

    The examples you mention were concived in a relative economically-stable era.

    After the 2007-2008 crisis people lost faith in the institutions and looked for an alternative to our outdated economic system.

    Bitcoin just happened to be created at the right time and luckily people believed in the project enough for it to succeed.

  4. Thanks for learning something new.

    I heard that there was something similar before Bitcoin, but never knew it in depth like you just posted.

    Thanks for sharing the ‘history’ or ‘ancestors’ before the ‘big Bitcoin boom’ 🙂 Enjoy award too !

  5. Thanks for making this post. Almost everything on this sub is a meme with really no useful information for people.

    Also, from my understanding, the Diffie-Hellman key exchange isn’t usually used as a method for using private/public keys pairs, but rather as a means to establishing an agreed upon symmetric key cipher over an insecure channel that can then be used in an encryption protocol.

  6. That’s so awesome! I haven’t read the whitepaper of BTC yet, but did it include references? This clearly show that knowledge around this concept existed for a long time.

    What an exciting time to be alive!!!

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