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The History of Blockchain

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Technology is constantly and rapidly evolving, several of the current technologies come from pre-existing technologies and efforts. This is exactly what has happened with blockchain, which in recent years a lot of people are interested in learning about.

The blockchain is the revolution of the era, it is a distributed database that maintains an ever-growing list of ordered documents, which are called blocks. In other words, blockchain is a digital ledger that keeps a record of all transactions taking place in a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network, is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems.

Blockchain is a system that comprised of:

  1. Transaction
  2. Immutable Ledgers
  3. Smart Contracts
  4. Consensus Mechanisms
  5. Encryption Processes
  6. Decentralized Peers
  7. Distributed Architecture
  8. Automated Operations

The Timeline of Blockchain

Let’s talk about the History of Blockchain.

A Brief History of Blockchain

Did you think that this technology has appeared in recent years?

1991

Blockchain technology was first described in 1991 by researchers Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta.

Their first thought was to be able to introduce a computer practical solution for the temporal significance of digital documents, in order to prevent any backdated or tampered. In the first phase, they developed a system that first used the concept of cryptographically secure blockchain to store time-stamped documents.

1992

One year later, in 1992, researchers incorporated the data structure or a ‘secure chain of blocks’, known as Merkle Trees, which made it more efficient and allowed it to insert more documents into a single block. The most recent entry in this chain contains the history of the entire chain.

1997

Hashcash was proposed in 1997 by Adam Back and described more formally in Back’s 2002 paper “Hashcash — A Denial of Service Counter-Measure”. Moreover, it has become known for its use in bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) as part of the mining algorithm.

1998

This year a computer scientist Nick Szabo worked on a decentralised digital currency, the ‘bit gold’ based on blockchain technology.

2000

Stefan Konst published his theory on cryptographic secure chains, which could be applied.

2004

The computer scientist and cryptographic activist Hal Finney introduced a system called

Reusable Proof Of Work (RPoW) as a prototype for digital cash. This system worked by receiving a non-exchangeable based Proof-of-Work (PoW) token in return, creating an RSA-signed token that further could be transferred from person to person. This system solved the problem of double cost by maintaining the ownership of the discrete registered on a trusted server.

2008

A few years later, in 2008 one or more developers working under the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper establishing a model for a blockchain. Satoshi Nakamoto conceptualized the distributed blockchain theory. He improved the design in a unique way to add blocks to the original chain without requiring signatures by trusted parties. He also used a Peer-to-Peer (P2P) network to time-mark and verify each exchange, and to manage them autonomously without a central authority. With these improvements, the blockchain became the basis for all cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin as the dominant one.

2009

Nakamoto implemented the first blockchain as the public ledger for transactions made by using Bitcoin.

  • On January 3, the bitcoin network was created with Satoshi Nakamoto mining the bitcoin generation block (block number 0) at 18:15:05 GMT, which was rewarded with 50 bitcoins.
  • On January 12, was recorded the first Bitcoin Transaction in Blockchain History, in block 170 from Satoshi to Hal Finney.

Since that day the popularity of Bitcoin and the technology on which it is based has never stopped growing.

2010

  • The first Bitcoin purchase of 10,000 BTC took place.
  • In February the first-ever cryptocurrency exchange, Bitcoin Market, was established.
  • The first trade took place in March.
  • In August the Bitcoin protocol bug led to an emergency hard fork.
  • The first real-world bitcoin transaction was undertaken by Laszlo Hanyecz, who paid 10,000 BTC for two Papa John’s pizzas (in 2010 was $25 USD).
  • In December Satoshi Nakamoto ceased communication with the world.

2011

  • In February, Bitcoin reached parity for the first time with USD and two months later EUR and GBP.
  • Mt. Gox was hacked, resulting in suspension of trading and a precipitous price drop for Bitcoin ($473 million US dollar hacked).
  • In August, launched the first Bitcoin Improvement Proposal: BIP Purpose and Guidelines.
  • In October, Litecoin, a Bitcoin’s Fork was released.

2012

  • In July, the government of Estonia began incorporating blockchain into digital ID efforts.
  • In September the Bitcoin Foundation was created.
  • In November took place the first Bitcoin Halving to 25 BTC for every newly mined block.

2013

  • The Bitcoin marketplace surpassed $1 Billion USD with 11M BTC in circulation.
  • Vitalik Buterin released the Ethereum whitepaper: “A Next-Generation Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform”.
  • The first BTC ATM began its operation in Vancouver.
  • The United States classified Bitcoin as a convertible decentralized virtual currency.

2014

  • Blockchain technology is separated from the currency and its potential for other financial transactions between organizations is explored.
  • ConsenSys was founded by Joe Lubin.
  • In February, HMRC in the United Kingdom classified Bitcoin as private money.
  • Smart Contracts evaluated this year. Blockchain 2.0: Ethereum Development was born, referring to applications beyond currency. The Ethereum Project was launched via crowdfunding as the first smart contract.
  • In August, the Bitcoin blockchain file size, containing records of all transactions that have occurred on the network, reached 20 GB.
  • May 3, Kevin McCoy created the first NFT (Non-Fungible Token).
  • By the end of the year, Paypal, Zynga, Overstock.com, Expedia, Microsoft, Dish Network, Newegg, and Dell had all started accepting Bitcoin as a payment method.

2015

  • In January, the bitcoin blockchain file size had grown to 30 GB.
  • Coinbase opened up the first cryptocurrency exchange.
  • In February, the number of merchants accepting bitcoin exceeded 100,000.
  • In April, NASDAQ began a blockchain technology trial.
  • In September, Blockchain tech company R3 was founded by a consortium of financial institutions including Barclays, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and RBS.
  • In December, Linux Foundation established the Hyperledger project, which until to date acts as collaborative development of distributed ledgers.
  • This year the first biggest upgrade took place in blockchain technology, the “Segregated witness and its impact on scalability” or SegWit.
  • The United States had classified Bitcoin as a commodity.

2016

  • In January, the bitcoin blockchain file size had grown to 50 GB.
  • Zcash was announced to the public.
  • This year the word blockchain gained acceptance as a word, instead of being treated as two concepts, as it was in Nakamoto’s original work.
  • A lot of industries viewed blockchain as a valuable technology and the number of blockchain pilots was constantly growing.
  • In April, the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) launched a 28-day crowd sale; one month later DAO raised an Ether value of more than $150M.
  • In June, Bug in Ethereum DAO code was exploited and attacked.
  • In July, Bitcoin reached this period’s milestone of 420,000 blocks, triggering a second halving to 12,50 Bitcoins for every newly mined block as a reward.
  • In November, CME Group launched the Bitcoin Price Index.

2017

  • In January, the bitcoin blockchain file size had grown to 100 GB.
  • In this year, multiple applications for BTC ETFs were rejected by the SEC.
  • Japan recognized Bitcoin as a currency.
  • Seven European banks formed the Digital Trade chain consortium to develop a trade finance platform based on blockchain.
  • In September, China banned ICOs.
  • Αpproximately 15% of global banks were using blockchain technology.
  • The private company block.one in 2017 created EOS, a new blockchain protocol powered by EOS as the native cryptocurrency, which tried to mimic the features of real computers, including CPUs and GPUs, unlike other protocols.
  • SegWit2X was cancelled.
  • In December, Bitcoin price surpassed $20,000 for the first time.

2018

  • In January, Bitcoin reached 80% of the total supply.
  • Switzerland began accepting tax payments in BTC.
  • In January, the Total Cryptocurrency Market cap peaked at over $800 billion.
  • The number of merchants accepting bitcoin was constantly growing.
  • Facebook, Twitter and Google banned crypto advertising.
  • The European Commission launched the Blockchain Observatory and Forum.
  • The EU government committed $300 Million to develop projects based on blockchain technology.
  • In South Korea, the government had invested millions into blockchain development initiatives.
  • 90% of banks in the US and Europe reported exploration of blockchain technology.

2019

  • In April, Bitcoin surpassed 400 million total transactions.
  • Amazon announced the general availability of its Amazon Managed Blockchain service on AWS.
  • Walmart, an American multinational retail corporation, launched a supply chain system based on the Hyperledger platform.
  • More and more organizations have embraced blockchain technology and decentralized applications for a variety of uses.

2020

  • In 2020, the bitcoin blockchain file size had grown to 200 GB.
  • Ethereum launched the Beacon Chain in preparation for Ethereum 2.0.
  • In May 2020, triggered the third halving to 6.25 Bitcoins for every newly mined block.

2021

  • El Salvador adopted Bitcoin as legal tender.
  • In July, San Marino approved Blockchain ‘Covid Certificates’ on VeChain.
  • NFTs have mainstream adoption this year. Cardano, Solana, Tezos and other blockchains started getting into this “game” with their own NFTs.
  • In 2021 launched many NFTs platforms.
  • Facebook was renamed as a Meta platform and moved into the metaverse reality.
  • November 14, at 5:15 UTC (00:15 EST), Bitcoin has received one of its biggest upgrades, Taproot.
  • With Bitcoin block #714.032, which was mined at 23:26 UTC, December 13, 2021, Bitcoin reached 90% of the total supply that has now been mined.
  • In December, Payment giant Visa launched a global crypto advisory service for financial institutions.

To conclude

The history and evolution of Blockchain don’t stop, on the contrary, it is constantly expanding. In recent years, some projects have developed all the leverage capabilities of blockchain technology. Over time, more and more industries are adopting and exploiting the capabilities of this emerging technology. Several companies have already begun to adopt the Blockchain internally as a way to enhance operational efficiency.

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