A (live/editable) timeline of historical events directly or indirectly related to the creation of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
*still workin' on this so check back later and more will be added, if you have any suggested dates/events feel free to lemme know...
This timeline includes dates pertaining to:
- Forms of money
- Banking models
- Bank Bailouts
- Widely accepted economic systems
- Widely accepted forms of government
- Inventions which advanced FinTech
- Inventions in computer science and related technology
- Inventions which connected the world via transportation, communication and information
- Development of cryptography and cyberwar
- Notable Social Movements
- Hyperinflation and National Debts
Ancient Bartering – first recorded in Egypt (resources, services...) – doesn’t scale
Tally sticks were used, making notches in bones or wood, as a form of money of account
9000-6000 BC Livestock considered the first form of currency
c3200 BC Clay tablets used in Uruk (Iraq) for accounting (believed to be the earliest form of writing)
3000 BC Grain is used as a currency, measured out in Shekels
3000 BC Banking developed in Mesopotamia
3000 BC? Punches used to stamp symbols on coins were a precursor to the printing press and modern coins
? BC Since ancient Persia and all the way up until the invention and expansion of the telegraph Homing Pigeons were used to carry messages
2000 BC Merchants in Assyria, India and Sumeria lent grain to farmers and traders as a precursor to banks
1700 BC In Babylon at the time of Hammurabi, in the 18th century BC, there are records of loans made by the priests of the temple.
1200 BC Shell money first used in China
1000-600 BC Crude metal coins first appear in China
640 BC Precious metal coins – Gold & Silver first used in ancient Lydia and coastal Greek cities featuring face to face heads of a bull and a lion – first official minted currency made from electrum, a mixture of gold and silver
600-500 BC Atbash Cipher
A substitution Cipher used by ancient Hebrew scholars mapping the alphabet in reverse, for example, in English an A would be a Z, B a Y etc.
400 BC Skytale used by Sparta
474 BC Hundreds of gold coins from this era were discovered in Rome in 2018
350 BC Greek hydraulic semaphore system, an optical communication system developed by Aeneas Tacticus.
c200 BC Polybius Square
??? Wealthy stored coins in temples, where priests also lent them out
??? Rome was the first to create banking institutions apart from temples
118 BC First banknote in the form of 1 foot sq pieces of white deerskin
100-1 AD Caesar Cipher
193 Aureus, a gold coin of ancient Rome, minted by Septimius Severus
324 Solidus, pure gold coin, minted under Constantine’s rule, lasted until the late 8th century
600s Paper currency first developed in Tang Dynasty China during the 7th century, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song Dynasty, 960–1279
c757–796 Silver pennies based on the Roman denarius became the staple coin of Mercia in Great Britain around the time of King Offa
806 First paper banknotes used in China but isn’t widely accepted in China until 960
1024 The first series of standard government notes were issued in 1024 with denominations like 1 guàn (貫, or 700 wén), 1 mín (緡, or 1000 wén), up to 10 guàn. In 1039 only banknotes of 5 guàn and 10 guàn were issued, and in 1068 a denomination of 1 guàn was introduced which became forty percent of all circulating Jiaozi banknotes.
1040 The first movable type printer was invented in China and made of porcelain
? Some of the earliest forms of long distance communication were drums used by Native Africans and smoke signals used by Native Americans and Chinese
1088 Movable type in Song Dynasty China
1120 By the 1120s the central government officially stepped in and produced their own state-issued paper money (using woodblock printing)
1150 The Knights Templar issued bank notes to pilgrims. Pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value.
1200s-1300s During the 13th century bankers from north Italy, collectively known as Lombards, gradually replace the Jews in their traditional role as money-lenders to the rich and powerful. – Florence, Venice and Genoa - The Bardi and Peruzzi Families dominated banking in 14th century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe
1200 By the time Marco Polo visited China they’d move from coins to paper money, who introduced the concept to Europe. An inscription warned, "All counterfeiters will be decapitated." Before the use of paper, the Chinese used coins that were circular, with a rectangular hole in the middle. Several coins could be strung together on a rope. Merchants in China, if they became rich enough, found that their strings of coins were too heavy to carry around easily. To solve this problem, coins were often left with a trustworthy person, and the merchant was given a slip of paper recording how much money they had with that person. Marco Polo's account of paper money during the Yuan Dynasty is the subject of a chapter of his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, titled "How the Great Kaan Causeth the Bark of Trees, Made Into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All Over his Country."
1252 Florin minted in Florence, becomes the hard currency of its day helping Florence thrive economically
1340 Double-entry bookkeeping - The clerk keeping the accounts for the Genoese firm of Massari painstakingly fills in the ledger for the year 1340.
1397 Medici Bank established
1450 Johannes Gutenberg builds the printing press – printed words no longer just for the rich
1455 Paper money disappears from China
1466 Polyalphabetic Cipher
1466 Rotating cipher disks – Vatican – greatest crypto invention in 1000 yrs – the first system to challenge frequency analysis
1466 First known mechanical cipher machine
1472 The oldest bank still in existence founded, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy
1494 Double-entry bookkeeping system codified by Luca Pacioli
1535 Wampum, a form of currency used by Native Americans, a string of beads made from clamshells, is first document.
1553 Vigenere Cipher
1557 Phillip II of Spain managed to burden his kingdom with so much debt (as the result of several pointless wars) that he caused the world's first national bankruptcy — as well as the world's second, third and fourth, in rapid succession.
1577 Newspaper in Korea
1586 The Babington Plot
1590 Cabinet Noir was established in France. Its mission was to open, read and reseal letters, and great expertise was developed in the restoration of broken seals. In the knowledge that mail was being opened, correspondents began to develop systems to encrypt and decrypt their letters. The breaking of these codes gave birth to modern systematic scientific code breaking.
1600s Promissory banknotes began in London
1600s By the early 17th century banking begins also to exist in its modern sense - as a commercial service for customers rather than kings. – Late 17th century we see cheques slowly gains acceptance
The total of the money left on deposit by a bank's customers is a large sum, only a fraction of which is usually required for withdrawals. A proportion of the rest can be lent out at interest, bringing profit to the bank. When the customers later come to realize this hidden value of their unused funds, the bank's profit becomes the difference between the rates of interest paid to depositors and demanded from debtors.
The transformation from moneylenders into private banks is a gradual one during the 17th and 18th centuries. In England it is achieved by various families of goldsmiths who early in the period accept money on deposit purely for safe-keeping. Then they begin to lend some of it out. Finally, by the 18th century, they make banking their business in place of their original craft as goldsmiths.
1605 Newspaper in Straussburg
c1627 Great Cipher
1637 Wampum is declared as legal tender in the U.S. (where we got the slang word “clams” for money)
1656 Johan Palmstruch establishes the Stockholm Banco
1661 Paper Currency reappears in Europe, soon became common - The goldsmith-bankers of London began to give out the receipts as payable to the bearer of the document rather than the original depositor
1661 Palmstruch issues credit notes which can be exchanged, on presentation to his bank, for a stated number of silver coins
1666 Stockholms Banco, the predecessor to the Central Bank of Sweden issues the first paper money in Europe. Soon went bankrupt for printing too much money.
1667 He issues more notes than his bank can afford to redeem with silver and winds up in disgrace, facing a death penalty (commuted to imprisonment) for fraud.
1668 Bank of Sweden – today the 2nd oldest surviving bank
1694 First Central Bank established in the UK was the first bank to initiate the permanent issue of banknotes
Served as model for most modern central banks.
The modern banknote rests on the assumption that money is determined by a social and legal consensus. A gold coin's value is simply a reflection of the supply and demand mechanism of a society exchanging goods in a free market, as opposed to stemming from any intrinsic property of the metal. By the late 17th century, this new conceptual outlook helped to stimulate the issue of banknotes.
1700s Throughout the commercially energetic 18th century there are frequent further experiments with bank notes - deriving from a recognized need to expand the currency supply beyond the availability of precious metals.
1712 First commercial steam engine
1717 Master of the Royal Mint Sir Isaac Newton established a new mint ratio between silver and gold that had the effect of driving silver out of circulation (bimetalism) and putting Britain on a gold standard.
1735 Classical Economics – markets regulate themselves when free of intervention
1744 Mayer Amschel Rothschild, Founder of the Rothschild Banking Empire, is Born in Frankfurt, Germany
Mayer Amschel Rothschild extended his banking empire across Europe by carefully placing his five sons in key positions. They set up banks in Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Naples, and Paris. By the mid 1800’s they dominated the banking industry, lending to governments around the world and people such as the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Cecil Rhodes.
1745 There was a gradual move toward the issuance of fixed denomination notes in England standardized printed notes ranging from £20 to £1,000 were being printed.
1748 First recorded use of the word buck for a dollar, stemming from the Colonial period in America when buck skins were commonly traded
1757 Colonial Scrip Issued in US
1760s Mayer Amschel Rothschild establishes his banking business
1769 First steam powered car
1775-1938 US Diplomatic Codes & Ciphers by Ralph E Weber used – problems were security and distribution
1776 American Independence
1776 Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand theory helped bankers and money-lenders limit government interference in the banking sector
1781 The Bank of North America was a private bank first adopted created the US Nation's first de facto central bank. When shares in the bank were sold to the public, the Bank of North America became the country's first initial public offering. It lasted less than ten years.
1783 First steamboat
1791 Congress Creates the First US Bank – A Private Company, Partly Owned by Foreigners – to Handle the Financial Needs of the New Central Government. First Bank of the United States, a National bank, chartered for a term of twenty years, it was not renewed in 1811.
Previously, the 13 states had their own banks, currencies and financial institutions, which had an average lifespan of about 5 years.
1792 First optical telegraph invented where towers with telescopes were dispersed across France 12-25 km apart, relaying signals according to positions of arms extended from the top of the towers.
1795 Thomas Jefferson invents the Jefferson Disk Cipher or Wheel Cipher
1797 to 1821 Restriction Period by England of trading banknotes for silver during Napoleonic Wars
1797 Currency Crisis
Although the Bank was originally a private institution, by the end of the 18th century it was increasingly being regarded as a public authority with civic responsibility toward the upkeep of a healthy financial system.
1799 First paper machine
1800 Banque de France – France’s central bank opens to try to improve financing of the war
1800 Invention of the battery
1801 Rotchschild Dynasty begins in Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire – established international banking family through his 5 sons who established themselves in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Naples
1804 Steam locomotive
1807 Internal combustion engine and automobile
1807 Robert Fulton expands water transportation and trade with the workable steamboat.
1811 First powered printing press, also first to use a cylinder
1816 The Privately Owned Second Bank of the US was Chartered – It Served as the Main Depository for Government Revenue, Making it a Highly Profitable Bank – charter not renewed in 1836
1816 The first working telegraph was built using static electricity
1816 Gold becomes the official standard of value in England
1820 Industrial Revolution
c1820 Neoclassical Economics
1821 British gov introduces the gold standard - With governments issuing the bank notes, the inherent danger is no longer bankruptcy but inflation.
1822 Charles Babbage, considered the "father of the computer", begins building the first programmable mechanical computer.
1832 Andrew Jackson Campaigns Against the 2nd Bank of the US and Vetoes Bank Charter Renewal
Andrew Jackson was skeptical of the central banking system and believed it gave too few men too much power and caused inflation. He was also a proponent of gold and silver and an outspoken opponent of the 2nd National Bank. The Charter expired in 1836.
1833 President Jackson Issues Executive Order to Stop Depositing Government Funds Into Bank of US
By September 1833, government funds were being deposited into state chartered banks.
1833-1837 Manufactured “boom” created by central bankers – money supply Increases 84%, Spurred by the 2nd Bank of the US
The total money supply rose from $150 million to $267 million
1835 Jackson Escapes Assassination. Assassin misfired twice.
1837-1862 The “Free Banking Era” there was no formal central bank in the US, and banks issued their own notes again
1838 First Telegram sent using Morse Code across 3 km, in 1844 he sent a message across 71 km from Washington DC to Baltimore.
1843 Ada Lovelace published the first algorithm for computing
1844 Modern central bank of England established - meaning only the central bank of England could issue banknotes – prior to that commercial banks could issue their own and were the primary form of currency throughout England
the Bank of England was restricted to issue new banknotes only if they were 100% backed by gold or up to £14 million in government debt.
1848 Communist Manifesto
1850 The first undersea telegraphic communications cable connected France in England after latex produced from the sap of the Palaquium gutta tree in 1845 was proposed as insulation for the underwater cables.
1852 Many countries in Europe build telegram networks, however post remained the primary means of communication to distant countries.
1855 In England fully printed notes that did not require the name of the payee and the cashier's signature first appeared
1855 The printing telegraph made it possible for a machine with 26 alphabetic keys to print the messages automatically and was soon adopted worldwide.
1856 Belgian engineer Charles Bourseul proposed telephony
1856 The Atlantic Telegraph company was formed in London to stretch a commercial telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, completed in 1866.
1860 The Pony Express was founded, able to deliver mail of wealthy individuals or government officials from coast to coast in 10 days.
1861 The East coast was connected to the West when Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph line, putting an end to unprofitable The Pony Express.
1862-1863 First US banknotes - Lincoln Over Rules Debt-Based Money and Issues Greenbacks to Fund Civil War
Bankers would only lend the government money under certain conditions and at high interest rates, so Lincoln issued his own currency – “greenbacks” – through the US Treasury, and made them legal tender. His soldiers went on to win the war, followed by great economic expansion.
1863 to 1932 “National Banking Era” Commercial banks in the United States had legally issued banknotes before there was a national currency; however, these became subject to government authorization from 1863 to 1932
1864 Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first rural credit union in Heddesdorf (now part of Neuwied) in Germany. By the time of Raiffeisen's death in 1888, credit unions had spread to Italy, France, the Netherlands, England, Austria, and other nations
1870 Long-distance telegraph lines connected Britain and India.
c1871 Marginalism - The doctrines of marginalism and the Marginal Revolution are often interpreted as a response to the rise of the worker's movement, Marxian economics and the earlier (Ricardian) socialist theories of the exploitation of labour.
1871 Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics – Austrian School
1872 Marx’s Das Capital
1872 Australia becomes the first nation to be connected to the rest of the world via submarine telegraph cables.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, first called the electric speech machine – revolutionized communication
1877 Thomas Edison – Phonograph
1878 Western Union, the leading telegraph provider of the U.S., begins to lose out to the telephone technology of the National Bell Telephone Company.
1881 President James Garfield, Staunch Proponent of “Honest Money” Backed by Gold and Silver, was Assassinated
Garfield opposed fiat currency (money that was not backed by any physical object). He had the second shortest Presidency in history.
1882 First description of the one-time pad
1886 First gas powered car
1888 Ballpoint pen
1895 System of wireless communication using radio waves
1896 First successful intercontinental telegram
1899 Nickel-cadmium battery
1907 Banking Panic of 1907
The New York Stock Exchange dropped dramatically as everyone tried to get their money out of the banks at the same time across the nation. This banking panic spurred debate for banking reform. JP Morgan and others gathered to create an image of concern and stability in the face of the panic, which eventually led to the formation of the Federal Reserve. The founders of the Federal Reserve pretended like the bankers were opposed to the idea of its formation in order to mislead the public into believing that the Federal Reserve would help to regulate bankers when in fact it really gave even more power to private bankers, but in a less transparent way.
1908 St Mary’s Bank – first credit union in US
1908 JP Morgan Associate and Rockefeller Relative Nelson Aldrich Heads New National Monetary Commission
Senate Republican leader, Nelson Aldrich, heads the new National Monetary Commission that was created to study the cause of the banking panic. Aldrich had close ties with J.P. Morgan and his daughter married John D. Rockefeller.
1910 Bankers Meet Secretly on Jekyll Island to Draft Federal Reserve Banking Legislation
Over the course of a week, some of the nation’s most powerful bankers met secretly off the coast of Georgia, drafting a proposal for a private Central Banking system.
1913 Federal Reserve Act Passed
Two days before Christmas, while many members of Congress were away on vacation, the Federal Reserve Act was passed, creating the Central banking system we have today, originally with gold backed Federal Reserve Notes. It was based on the Aldrich plan drafted on Jekyll Island and gave private bankers supreme authority over the economy. They are now able to create money out of nothing (and loan it out at interest), make decisions without government approval, and control the amount of money in circulation.
1913 Income tax established -16th Amendment Ratified
Taxes ensured that citizens would cover the payment of debt due to the Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, which was also created in 1913.The 16th Amendment stated: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
1914 November, Federal Reserve Banks Open
JP Morgan and Co. Profits from Financing both sides of War and Purchasing Weapons
J.P. Morgan and Co. made a deal with the Bank of England to give them a monopoly on underwriting war bonds for the UK and France. They also invested in the suppliers of war equipment to Britain and France.
1917 Teletype cipher
1917 The one-time pad
1917 Zimmerman Telegram intercepted and decoded by Room 40, the cryptanalysis department of the British Military during WWI.
1918 GB returns to gold standard post-war but it didn’t work out
1919 First rotor machine, an electro-mechanical stream ciphering and decrypting machine.
1919 Founding of The Cipher Bureau, Poland’s intelligence and cryptography agency.
1919-1929 The Black Chamber, a forerunner of the NSA, was the first U.S. cryptanalytic organization. Worked with the telegraph company Western Union to illegally acquire foreign communications of foreign embassies and representatives. It was shut down in 1929 as funding was removed after it was deemed unethical to intercept private domestic radio signals.
1920s Department stores, hotel chains and service staions begin offering customers charge cards
1921-1929 The “Roaring 20’s” – The Federal Reserve Floods the Economy with Cash and Credit
From 1921 to 1929 the Federal Reserve increased the money supply by $28 billion, almost a 62% increase over an eight-year period. This artificially created another “boom”.
1927 Quartz clock
1928 First experimental Television broadcast in the US.
1929 Federal Reserve Contracts the Money Supply
In 1929, the Federal Reserve began to pull money out of circulation as loans were paid back. They created a “bust” which was inevitable after issuing so much credit in the years before. The Federal Reserve’s actions triggered the banking crisis, which led to the Great Depression.
1929 October 24, “Black Thursday”, Stock Market Crash
The most devastating stock market crash in history. Billions of dollars in value were consolidated into the private banker’s hands at the expense of everyone else.
1930s The Great Depression marked the end of the gold standard
1931 German Enigma machines attained and reconstructed.
1932 Turbo jet engine patented
1933 SEC founded - passed the Glass–Steagall Act, which separated investment banking and commercial banking. This was to avoid more risky investment banking activities from ever again causing commercial bank failures.
1933 FM Radio
1933 Germany begins Telex, a network of teleprinters sending and receiving text based messages. Post WWII Telex networks began to spread around the world.
1936 Austrian engineer Paul Eisler invented Printed circuit board
1936 Beginning of the Keynesian Revolution
1937 Typex, British encryption machines which were upgraded versions of Enigma machines.
1927 Founding of highly secret and unofficial Signal Intelligence Service, SIS, the U.S. Army’s codebreaking division.
1937 Made illegal for Americans to own gold
1938 Z1 built by Konrad Zuse is the first freely programmable computer in the world.
1939 WWII – decline of the gold standard which greatly restricted policy making
1939-45 Codetalkers - The Navajo code is the only spoken military code never to have been deciphered - "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."—Howard Connor
1942 Deciphering Japanese coded messages leads to a turning point victory for the U.S. in WWII.
1943 At Bletchley Park, Alan Turing and team build a specialized cipher-breaking machine called Heath Robinson.
1943 Colossus computer built in London to crack the German Lorenz cipher.
1944 Bretton Woods – convenient after the US had most of the gold
1945 Manhattan Project – Atom Bomb
1945 Transatlantic telephone cable
1945 Claude E. Shannon published "A mathematical theory of cryptography", commonly accepted as the starting point for development of modern cryptography.
C1946 Crypto Wars begin and last to this day
1946 Charg-it card created by John C Biggins
1948 Atomic clock
1948 Claude Shannon writes a paper that establishes the mathematical basis of information theory
1949 Info theorist Claude Shannon asks “What does an ideal cipher look like?” – one time pad – what if the keys are not truly random
1950 First credit card released by the Diners Club, able to be used in 20 restaurants in NYC
1951 NSA, National Security Agency founded and creates the KL-7, an off-line rotor encryption machine
1952 First thermonuclear weapon
1953 First videotape recorder
1953 Term “Hash” first used meaning to “chop” or “make a mess” out of something
1954 Atomic Energy Act (no mention of crypto)
1957 The NSA begins producing ROMOLUS encryption machines, soon to be used by NATO
1957 First PC – IBM
1957 First Satellite – Sputnik 1
1958 Western Union begins building a nationwide Telex network in the U.S.
1960s Machine readable codes were added to the bottom of cheques in MICR format, which speeded up the clearing and sorting process
1960s Financial organizations were beginning to require strong commercial encryption on the rapidly growing field of wired money transfer.
1961 Electronic clock
1963 June 4, Kennedy Issued an Executive Order (11110) that Authorized the US Treasury to Issue Silver Certificates, Threatening the Federal Reserve’s Monopoly on Money
This government issued currency would bypass the governments need to borrow from bankers at interest.
1963 Electronic calculator
1963 Nov. 22, Kennedy Assassinated
1963 Johnson Reverses Kennedy’s Banking Rule and Restores Power to the Federal Reserve
1964 LAN, Local Area Networks adapters
1965 Moore’s Law by CEO of Intel Gordon Moore observes that the number of components per integrated circuit doubles every year, and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. In 1975 he revised it to every two years.
1967 First ATM installed at Barclay’s Bank in London
1968 Cassette Player introduced
1969 First connections of ARPANET, predecessor of the internet, are made. started – SF, SB, UCLA, Utah (now Darpa) – made to stay ahead of the Soviets – there were other networks being built around the world but it was very hard to connect them – CERN in Europe
1970s Stagflation – unemployment + inflation, which Keynesian theory could not explain
1970s Business/commercial applications for Crypto emerge – prior to this time it was militarily used – ATMs 1st got people thinking about commercial applications of cryptography – data being sent over telephone lines
1970s The public developments of the 1970s broke the near monopoly on high quality cryptography held by government organizations.
Use of checks increased in 70s – bringing about ACH
One way functions...
A few companies began selling access to private networks – but weren’t allowed to connect to the internet – business and universities using Arpanet had no commercial traffic – internet was used for research, not for commerce or advertising
1970 Railroads threatened by the growing popularity of air travel. Penn Central Railroad declares bankruptcy resulting in a $3.2 billion bailout
1970 Conjugate coding used in an attempt to design “money physically impossible to counterfeit”
1971 The US officially removes the gold standard
1971 Email invented
1971 First microcomputer on a chip
1971 Lockheed Bailout - $1.4 billion – Lockheed was a major government defense contractor
1972 First programmable word processor
1972 First video game console
1973 SWIFT established
1973 Ethernet invented, standardized in ‘83
1973 Mobile phone
1973 First commercial GUI – Xerox Alto
1973 First touchscreen
1973 Emails made up more than ¾ of ARPANET’s packets – people had to keep a map of the network by their desk – so DNS was created
1974 A protocol for packet network intercommunication – TCP/IP – Cerf and Kahn
1974 Franklin National Bank Bailout - $1.5 billion (valued at that time) - At the time, it was the largest bank failure in US history
1975 New York City Bailout - $9.4 billion – NYC was overextended
1975 W DES - meant that commercial uses of high quality encryption would become common, and serious problems of export control began to arise.
1975 DES, Data Encryption Standard developed at IBM, seeking to develop secure electronic communications for banks and large financial organizations. DES was the first publicly accessible cipher to be 'blessed' by a national agency such as the NSA. Its release stimulated an explosion of public and academic interest in cryptography.
1975 Digital camera
1975 Altair 8800 sparks the microprocessor revolution
1976 Bretton Woods ratified (lasted 30 years) – by 80’s all nations were using floating currencies
1976 New Directions in Cryptography published by Diffie & Hellman – this terrified Fort Meade – previously this technique was classified, now it’s public
1976 Apple I Computer – Steve Wozniak
1976 Asymmetric key cryptosystem published by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman.
1976 Hellman and Diffie publish New Directions in Cryptography, introducing a radically new method of distributing cryptographic keys, contributing much to solving key distribution one of the fundamental problems of cryptography. It brought about the almost immediate public development of asymmetric key algorithms. - where people can have 2 sets of keys, public and private
1977 Diffie & Hellman receive letter from NSA employee JA Meyer that they’re violating Federal Laws comparable to arms export – this raises the question, “Can the gov prevent academics from publishing on crypto?
1977 DES considered insecure
1977 First handheld electronic game
1977 RSA public key encryption invented
1978 McEliece Cryptosystem invented, first asymmetric encryption algorithm to use randomization in the encryption process
1980s Large data centers began being built to store files and give users a better faster experience – companies rented space from them - Data centers would not only store data but scour it to show people what they might want to see and in some cases, sell data
1980s Reaganomics and Thatcherism
1980 A decade of intense bank failures begins; the FDIC reports that 1,600 were either closed or received financial assistance from 1980 to 1994
1980 Chrysler Bailout – lost over $1 billion due to major hubris on the part of its executives - $1.5 billion one of the largest payouts ever made to a single corporation.
1980 Protocols for public key cryptosystems – Ralph Merkle
1980 Flash memory invented – public in ‘84
1981 “Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses and Digital Pseudonumns” – Chaum
1981 EFTPOS, Electronic funds transfer at point of sale is created
1981 IBM Personal Computer
1982 “The Ethics of Liberty” Murray Rothbard
1982 Commodore 64
1983 Satellite TV
1983 First built in hard drive
1983 Blind signatures for untraceable payments
Mid 1980s Use of ATMs becomes more widespread
1984 Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust bailed out due to overly aggressive lending styles and - the bank’s downfall could be directly traced to risk taking and a lack of due diligence on the part of bank officers - $9.5 billion in 2008 money
1984 Macintosh Computer - the first mass-market personal computer that featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse
1984 CD Rom
1985 Zero-Knowledge Proofs first proposed
1985 300,000 simultaneous telephone conversations over single optical fiber
1985 Elliptic Curve Cryptography
1987 ARPANET had connected over 20k guarded computers by this time
1988 First private networks email servers connected to NSFNET
1988 The Crypto Anarchists Manifesto – Timothy C May
1988 ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network
1989 Savings & Loan Bailout - After the widespread failure of savings and loan institutions, President George H. W. Bush signed and Congress enacted the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act - This was a taxpayer bailout of about $200 billion
1989 First commercial emails sent
1989 Digicash - Chaum
1989 Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau built the prototype system which became the World Wide Web, WWW
1989 First ISPs – companies with no network of their own which connected people to a local network and to the internet - To connect to a network your computer placed a phone call through a modem which translated analog signals to digital signals – dial-up was used to connect computers as phone lines already had an extensive network across the U.S. – but phone lines weren’t designed for high pitched sounds that could change fast to transmit large amounts of data
1990s Cryptowars really heat up...
1990s Some countries started to change their laws to allow "truncation"
1990s Encryption export controls became a matter of public concern with the introduction of the personal computer. Phil Zimmermann's PGP cryptosystem and its distribution on the Internet in 1991 was the first major 'individual level' challenge to controls on export of cryptography. The growth of electronic commerce in the 1990s created additional pressure for reduced restrictions. Shortly afterward, Netscape's SSL technology was widely adopted as a method for protecting credit card transactions using public key cryptography.
1990 NSFNET replaced Arpanet as backbone of the internet with more than 500k users
Early 90s Dial up provided through AOL and Compuserve
People were leery to use credit cards on the internet
1991 How to time-stamp a digital doc - Stornetta
1991 Phil Zimmermann releases the public key encryption program Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) along with its source code, which quickly appears on the Internet. He distributed a freeware version of PGP when he felt threatened by legislation then under consideration by the US Government that would require backdoors to be included in all cryptographic products developed within the US. Expanded the market to include anyone wanting to use cryptography on a personal computer (before only military, governments, large corporations)
1991 WWW (Tim Berners Lee) – made public in ‘93 – flatten the “tree” structure of the internet using hypertext – reason for HTTP//:WWW – LATER HTTPS for more security
1992 Erwise – first Internet Browser w a graphical Interface
1992 Congress passed a law allowing for commercial traffic on NSFNET
1992 Cpherpunks, Eric Hughes, Tim C May and John Gilmore – online privacy and safety from gov – cypherpunks write code so it can be spread and not shut down (in my earlier chapter)
1993 Mosaic – popularized surfing the web ‘til Netscape Navigator in ’94 – whose code was later used in Firefox
1993 A Cypherpunks Manifesto – Eric Hughes
1994 World’s first online cyberbank, First Virtual, opened for business
1994 First DVD player
1994 Stanford Federal Credit Union becomes the first financial institution to offer online internet banking services to all of its members in October 1994
1994 Internet only used by a few
1994 Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protocol released by Netscape. Making financial transactions possible.
1994 One of the first online purchases was made, a Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese
1994 Cyphernomicon published – social implication where gov can’t do anything about it
1994-1999 Social Networking – GeoCities (combining creators and users) – had 19M users by ’99 – 3rd most popular after AOL and Yahoo – GeoCities purchased by Yahoo for $3.6B but took a hit after dotcom bubble popped and never recovered – GC shut down in ‘99
1995-2000 Dotcom bubble – Google, Amazon, Facebook: get over 600M visitors/year
1995 MP3 term coined for MP3 files, the earlier development of which stretches back into the ‘70s, where MP files themselves where developed throughout the ‘90s
1995 NSFNET shut down and handed everything over to the ISPs
1995 NSA publishes the SHA1 hash algorithm as part of its Digital Signature Standard.
1996, 2000 President Bill Clinton signing the Executive order 13026 transferring the commercial encryption from the Munition List to the Commerce Control List. This order permitted the United States Department of Commerce to implement rules that greatly simplified the export of proprietary and open source software containing cryptography, which they did in 2000 - The successful cracking of DES likely helped gather both political and technical support for more advanced encryption in the hands of ordinary citizens - NSA considers AES strong enough to protect information classified at the Top Secret level
1997 WAP, Wireless Access Point
1997 NSA researchers published how to mint e cash
1997 Adam Back – HashCash – used PoW – coins could only be used once
1997 Nick Szabo – smart contracts “Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks”
1998 OSS, Open-source software Initiative Founded
1998 Wei Dai – B-money – decentralized database to record txs
1998 First backdoor created by hackers from Cult of the Dead Cow
1998 Musk and Thiel founded PayPal
1998 Nick Szabo says crypto can protect land titles even if thugs take it by force – said it could be done with a timestamped database
1999 Much of the Glass-Steagal Act repealed - this saw US retail banks embark on big rounds of mergers and acquisitions and also engage in investment banking activities.
1999 Milton Friedman says, “I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that's missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash - a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A.”
1999 European banks began offering mobile banking with the first smartphones
1999 The Financial Services Modernization Act Allows Banks to Grow Even Larger
Many economists and politicians have recognized that this legislation played a key part in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007.
1999-2001 Napster, P2P file sharing – was one of the fastest growing businesses in history – bankrupt for paying musicians for copyright infringement
The blockchain, "an interesting organism" Vitalik, then 17, initially rejected the idea, before doing his own research on virtual currency. Soon, he wrote articles - paid in bitcoins - while studying computer science at the University of Waterloo in Canada, which eventually led him to co-found Bitcoin Magazine. In 2011, bitcoin was considered a technology so radical that many were convinced that governments would ban it, denouncing the black market that could flourish through this system. However, bitcoin survived, until it managed to negotiate at $ 19,000 stratospheric level at Christmas, despite the ensuing crash. submitted by
"For simplicity, a blockchain is a large distributed accounting register, stored on thousands of computers"
The blockchain is "an interesting organization, a new kind", says Vitalik Buterin after having walked with me the floor of the living room to cross the open space to a wooden dining table. It's an understatement, I say to myself. For simplicity, a blockchain is a large distributed accounting register, stored on thousands of computers. Thanks to the dispersion of these recordings and their security via Byzantine mathematical tools of cryptography, the blockchain is more difficult to forge than the traditional databases. Centralized pandora boxes, like your brain, are at risk of loss - and vulnerable to attack, as Equifax found from piracy of its client files. On the other hand,
Ethereum culture Vitalik Buterin's stroke of genius is to have perceived the potential behind the creation of his own blockchain, Ethereum, on which other companies of all types could rely, from payment services to games. The project quickly came to life, and everyone began to insist on the possibility of relying on this technology, from scientists to banks to entrepreneurs. At 19, Vitalik Buterin left the university to concentrate on the management of Ethereum.
We will sit down; after some awkward hesitation, he bends his bone frame in a chair. We procrastinate on food. I suggest tacos or pizzas. His associate, Thomas Greco, a developer who says he has worked with Vitalik Buterin for years, suggests Thai. Before I had time to find a menu on my phone, Greco went around the options to set his sights on the nearby Chaiya Thai Restaurant and order a boost.
Vitalik Buterin is the first to admit that he has spent a strange year 2017. The entrepreneurs backed by the Ethereum protocol started to use it to issue new chips to organize huge fundraisers in cryptocurrency for their projects, through an innovative financing mechanism called "initial coin offering" (ICO). The prices of bitcoin and ether broke records and ICOs exploded; but they have also fueled fears of a speculative runaway of the same type as tulipomania, speculation on tulip bulbs in the Netherlands, in the past. "We've created a culture where any hazardous project can raise $ 8 million, and we say 'oh yes, it's peanuts'," he says, "that's how you know. that you are in a bubble! "
"We've created a culture where any risky project can raise $ 8 million, and we say 'oh yes, it's peanuts, that's how you know you're in a bubble!'
The rise in the price of ether has made him a multimillionaire, but unlike Bitcoin fans who have tended to hang on to their assets, he was never convinced that crypto-currencies would take. When the prices seemed right, he cashed; and he "paid dearly for it financially," he notes cheerfully. He estimates that on paper, its fictitious capital, based on the value of its assets, would be three to four times larger if it had sold less cryptocurrency. After spending between $ 1 and $ 100, bitcoin jumped from less than $ 1,000 in January 2017 to more than $ 19,000 in December (the excitement has subsided, however, and has now stabilized at around 8 $ 1,000).
The young prodigy is under a lot of pressure to transform the test and move from the excitement of the blockchain to real results. He quickly explains his efforts to improve the Ethereum network, which recently became congested by the influx of users who exchange virtual chats in a game called CryptoKitties, where players raise and trade digital felines. The various tracks envisaged to increase the capacity of the blockchain bear names such as "sharding", "state channels" and "plasma". I am relieved when we move to simpler things, like his desire for immortality.
Vitalik Buterin dismayed Since childhood, Vitalik Buterin has been thinking of eternal life. When he was six, shortly after his family emigrated from Russia arrived in the United States, he came upon a book by Aubrey de Gray, a controversial British scientist with radical ideas to defeat aging. . While we sip a green tea prepared Thomas Greco while waiting for our meal, I ask him: why does he want to live forever? Vitalik Buterin is "puzzled enough to ask the question". If it is possible to live forever, then choosing not to do so is "the equivalent of jumping off a cliff," he explains. He will then reassure me: if life extension solutions have been slow in coming, they could be ready by 2060, which means it will be "probably still time for you". (I am 25.)
But then, "what would he do with eternal life?", I questioned him, imagining he might aspire to unlock the secret of unresolved mathematical puzzles. Not quite. "The most important thing is to enjoy it," he replies. During his flights, he studied languages ??he did not yet master watching French, German or Chinese films.
"If it is possible to live forever, then choosing not to do it is" the equivalent of jumping off a cliff ""
As we speak, cryptocurrency is experiencing a kind of cultural revolution. The first idealistic coders, who wanted the blockchain to transfer power from the hands of corporations and governments to those of individuals, began last year to be overtaken by intriguers motivated by the lure of a quick gain. Some ICOs have turned out to be scams. It is with consternation that Vitalik Buterin watched his blockchain be flooded by mercenaries in search of easy money.
"There are projects that have never had a soul, it's just, vroum-vroum, the price goes up," he says and typing in his long hands: "Lambo [rghini], vroum, vroum, buy, buy now! "Suddenly escaping a sharp remark about the Tron digital token, my host relaxes the atmosphere laughing loudly. Tron's market valuation reached $ 17 billion without any sign of life from a real underlying product.
Wacky valuations are, he says, "far ahead of what this field has actually done for society".
While we await delivery, the cryptocurrency markets are in full collapse. At the end of the day, the ether will have dipped by 30%. Such volatility would give traders cold sweat, but it's nothing for veterans of crypto-currencies like Vitalik Buterin - he does not even watch his phone.
Pragmatic against the system Vitalik Buterin may be disappointed by the boom, but he has welcomed the massive investment in the blockchain from the general public. The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) was founded in 2016 to explore potential blockchain applications for the corporate world. It counts among its members BP or JPMorgan. The EEA reflects the changing mentality of the creator of Ethereum. As a teenager, he shared the general opinion of the cryptic crusader community: "the system," that is governments, banks, and big business, "is fundamentally bad, and we must resist completely and build something new "(Vitalik Buterin has a childish tic: he adds a" s "at fault to certain verbs).
But he realized that these people "are not so different from others everywhere else". Purists might see it as a betrayal of the historical roots of the blockchain; But Vitalik Buterin describes this as pragmatism, tinged with anxiety over governments with "hundreds of billions of dollars in physical weapons, many prisons ... increased surveillance of the Internet".
Vitalik Buterin a de quoi se faire du souci?: il a vu comment les premiers spécialistes du bitcoin, qui utilisaient la monnaie pour le trafic de drogue, ont fini par se faire prendre. Il évoque Ross Ulbricht, l’incroyablement jeune libertarien américain qui dirigeait Silk Road, ce marché noir du darknet spécialisé dans l’échange de substances et de marchandises illicites, tournant en grande partie grâce au bitcoin. Par sa tristement célèbre décision de recruter des tueurs à gages, Ross Ulbricht aurait fait basculer le destin du bitcoin, selon Vitalik Buterin, transformant l’histoire d’“un éventuel martyr de la désobéissance civile” en celle d’“un véritable criminel et ennemi public”. Ross Ulbricht, qui entame aujourd’hui la trentaine, a perdu l’année dernière une bataille judiciaire qui a duré cinq ans, et il risque aujourd’hui la prison à vie.
"Even if your goal is to overthrow part of the system, you need to have a vision of how it can promote human progress, and convey that vision"
"Even if your goal is to overthrow part of the system, you need to have a vision of how it can promote human progress, and convey that vision," he says. "The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars could send people a very, very misleading picture of social conflict." His reference to Hobbits and Jedi evokes childish morality, which opposes righteousness to absolute evil; Vitalik Buterin has adapted to a world without villains or heroes.
Diplomatic tour in progress So who is the most important person in his life? For once, he is at a running class. "Hmmm." There is a white. "It's hard to think of one person. Yeah. "We are saved by the arrival of the delivery.
Two women on sofas strum on laptops covered with stickers. The atmosphere is that of a student house during the revision period before the end-of-year exams. Vitalik Buterin picks plates and forks (but no knives). We unpack spicy shrimps with a pasta dish and sautéed for him, and a curry of green vegetables with wormwood and rice for me.
I ask him about his memories of Russia, a country he left at the age of six. While peeling the shrimps from his long fingers with gnawed nails, he recites a description of his hometown, Kolomna: 140,000 inhabitants, 115 km from Moscow. He went to Moscow and St Petersburg last year, met with Vladimir Putin, and spoke with Russian officials about a "cryptorouble" project. He explained how he was siding with the system these days, but I can not understand why he would help an authoritarian government. He quotes Frederick Douglass, who has been criticized for being allied with slave owners, but said: "I would unite with anyone to do good; and with no one to do evil. " He later confided to me that he encourages the Kremlin to make "the people benefit from the benefits of cryptography", but adds, resignedly, that he "does not know how far the message actually passes".
"He encourages the Kremlin to make" the people benefit from the benefits of cryptography ", but adds, resignedly, that he" does not know how far the message actually passes ""
This willingness to discuss has propelled Vitalok Buterin on a diplomatic tour, apparently for an indefinite period. During the last month, he visited four countries: Thailand, Singapore, China, the United States. He does not have a fixed address. "At this moment, I flutter everywhere," he summarizes. So where does he leave his things while he travels? He leaves the room at full speed. Baffled, I stuck an eggplant with my fork. He returns with a bright pink travel bag overflowing with t-shirts. He does not have books? He points to his Android phone.
When his fortune went from 1 million to more than 10 to 20 million dollars (for once, he fixes a little the numbers), he did not say "youpi, I'll have more stuff". "It's rather that I will not have to worry about money for a long time," he says. He donates to the Bill Gates Foundation, GiveDirectly, and Aubrey de Gray's anti-aging organization, the SENS Research Foundation.
The weight of celebrity His most important source of inspiration, he says, is the Internet. And last June, the Internet killed him: a viral rumor that he was dead plunged Ethereum's $ 4 billion market capitalization, revealing how Vitalik Buterin is intrinsically linked to the Ethereum system in the spirit traders in cryptocurrency. "It's like OK, wow, it's weird," he recalls. "My family sent me WeChat messages to ask me if it was okay."
I notice dark circles under his piercing blue eyes. Despite all his public appearances, he struggles to become famous.
"Last year, it came to a point where [celebrity] has become more embarrassing than positive," he says. He remembers a man chasing him on a plane and across an airport, trying to talk to him.
This position of power, is it something he desired? "No," he answers quickly, without hesitation. So, how could this happen? "Hmmm. Ethereum has grown. "He lowers his head as if I have scolded him. "It turned out that Ethereum has evolved without other figures as important as me emerging, I guess."
"Last June, the Internet killed him: a viral rumor that he was dead plunged Ethereum's market capitalization by $ 4 billion, revealing how Vitalik Buterin is intrinsically linked to the Ethereum system."
Vitalik Buterin seems depressed. To try to relax the atmosphere, I ask him where he would like to be in five years. "I have no idea," he sighs. "I do not usually plan more than three months in advance, let alone five years." It is clear that Ethereum started as a project, not a career plan. He ridicules bitcoin millionaires who surfed the crypto-tsunami wave until they hoarded a fortune, boasting about it as an investment feat.
"It's Russian roulette, and everyone who won the lottery seems to have the impression that they deserved it because they would be smarter," said Vitalik Buterin. He imitates an enthusiastic "bull", having bet on bitcoin: "I was loyal and I was virtuous and I stood firm and so I deserve to have my five villas and 23 lambos!" We laugh.
After making just a bite of shrimp, he begins to pick up crumbs with his index finger and describes his recent wanderings in a dilapidated neighborhood in China. He makes a fixation on "shabby grocery stores, with five-year-olds helping mom and dad rearrange water bottles." These meetings reminded him that "these are the people to whom you can really be useful".
Facebook Marketplace in the United States soon available with crypto currency? The uses of a Facebook cryptocurrency could be numerous. One thinks of a use of the corner on the Facebook Marketplace, this home platform launched in August 2017 and which competes with Le Bon Coin; in the United States maybe first and then all over the world. The advantage of no longer backing transactions on a fiduciary currency would be a simplification of international trade. But remember that Facebook is also WhatsApp, Instagram or Oculus and a cryptocurrency on Facebook social network could also decline on its multiple subsidiaries.
Although Facebook, like Google and Twitter posted a rather hostile position with regard to virtual currencies by prohibiting the advertising of crypto-currencies on its network, the deal seems to have changed. Unless, as many commentators had predicted at the time, the Facebook decision was actually motivated by the launch of a house cryptocurrency that will not have to compete with other tokens. What totally upset the cryptocurrency sector when the FaceCoin out!
What is certain is that this project should not succeed in the immediate future. Indeed, last February David Marcus had said in an interview that Facebook had not planned to integrate cryptocurrency in its applications soon. At issue: the technical difficulties crypto-currencies currently face: "payments using virtual currencies are currently very expensive, very slow," said David Marcus, pointing out that when all these problems would be resolved, " maybe we'll do something. "
THE recent surge in the price of Bitcoins has created an unprecedented wave of interest in the cryptocurrency. Once the domain of computer geeks and speculative investors, the meteoric rise in the price has forced Bitcoin into the public spotlight and it has become the hot topic of debate around the water coolers as well as in the bars, restaurants and hair salons. submitted by
Some dismiss it as a passing fad, a bubble waiting to burst and an elaborate Ponzi scheme, while others claim it the greatest innovation since the internet, the currency of the future and a great way to make quick money. Who is right and who is wrong?
Bitcoins are traded on a number of exchanges around the world and, as with any other market, whether it is oil, wheat futures, share options or the price of bagels in downtown Manhattan, the price is determined by supply and demand.
Some investment gurus such as Warren Buffett believe the hockey stick shape of the Bitcoin price cannot be explained by traditional supply and demand dynamics. The meteoric rise in the Bitcoin price has been caused by an investment frenzy triggered by the hype surrounding the cryptocurrency concept which has gripped the imagination of the public.
It has all the hallmarks of a speculative bubble which they believe could burst at any moment. An investment bubble occurs when the price of a commodity rises way beyond the intrinsic value of the item. The sudden rise in price creates a lot of publicity and tales of instant wealth and overnight millionaires lure new investors into the market.
As the price continues to rise, the fear of missing out (the Fomo factor) attracts even more investors, driving prices up further. The cycle repeats itself until the price reaches a tipping point and the market collapses overnight. There have been a number of well documented examples in the past, from the Tulip Mania that gripped the Dutch in the 17th Century to the tech boom in the late 1990s, the housing crash of 2006 and the commodities bust in 2009.
During the tech boom in the 1990s, for example, the share prices of web-based businesses reached astronomical proportions. Gripped by what the US Federal Reserve Board chairperson at the time, Alan Greenspan, called “irrational exuberance”, seasoned investors and regular consumers clambered to get a piece of the action and make a quick buck.
At the time, nobody really understood what the internet was, let alone what its long-term implications were, but this did not deter people from selling the proverbial farm and buying tech stocks at almost any price. As share prices soared, some of the most obscure, and often unprofitable, internet based companies had market capitalizations in the millions and sometimes billions of dollars.
Despite some spectacular failures and the poor financial results published by those who managed to survive for longer than a year, the investment frenzy continued unabated. In early 2000, however, the market seemed to come to its senses. Prices began to decline and then started plummeting as panic swept through the market. The tech market eventually collapsed, leaving many investors penniless and the world economy in a recession.
A number of investment gurus see many similarities between the tech boom and bust of the ’90s and the Bitcoin market at the moment.
At the current price level, Bitcoin has a market capitalization of over $200 billion, which is $70bn more than the value of General Electric and greater than the gross domestic product of some countries.
As Buffett put it in 2014: “The idea that (Bitcoin) has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke in my view. Bitcoin is not backed by a company’s earnings or the strength of a government and rule of law. There’s also no interest or dividends.”
At the time Bitcoin was priced at about $600 and is now trading above $14 000, but he is sticking to his guns and in October 2017 stated that Bitcoin “is a real bubble”.
On the other side of the argument, there are those who believe that the internet and social media have created a new mindset in modern society which makes the concept of a global currency that cannot be controlled by any government an alluring concept that has caught the imagination of the public.
Anyone who owns Bitcoin achieves a degree of economic freedom which was not possible before. They can send value across the world without having to ask for permission from a bank or government body and Bitcoin cannot be taxed, controlled, destroyed or confiscated.
A central bank cannot print more Bitcoins to control the money supply and manipulate the price either. It is free from global recessions, government financial mismanagement and unfair taxpayer-funded bailouts.
This utopian view of an international currency free of interference by big government is the primary reason for the high value placed on Bitcoin by the public. Demand is being driven not by traditional investors, but by a wave of internet-savvy pundits who believe that Bitcoin will become the de facto method of payment in the future. In a digital age we need a digital currency and the current price, they claim, reflects the future expectations of the market. The high prices are not a reflection of Bitcoin’s current value, they say, but rather its potential value. Another factor driving up the Bitcoin price is the expectation that big financial players are set to wade into the market. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) recently introduced Bitcoin derivatives – a bet on the future value of the currency – which allows hedge funds to enter the market.
Some speculate that big players such as JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch could enter the market in 2018 and offer Bitcoin as part of a high-risk portfolio to clients. Once the large investment houses start buying Bitcoins, demand will skyrocket and the price will rise to even greater heights.
If Bitcoin fulfils its original purpose and becomes the medium of exchange on the internet and is accepted in more brick and mortar stores, the demand will rise even further. Bitcoin enthusiasts believe it is likely to fulfil that role and the high Bitcoin price indicates the market agrees.
The Bitcoin market, however, is still in its infancy and is extremely volatile as widely differing opinions about its future cause the price to fluctuate wildly.
Those who got in early are making huge returns on their investment and it may be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and get a slice of the action, but Bitcoin should still be considered a risky investment.
Some say Bitcoin is a solution looking for a problem. It could become the next global payment system, but it could just as easily fail or fall away. It would be wise to adopt a rational and cautious approach and as with any prudent investment strategy – only invest as much as you are willing to lose.
THREATS & CHALLENGES
BITCOIN faces a number of challenges which detractors believe could reduce demand in the short term and threaten its existence in the long term:
Ironically, Bitcoin’s is its own worst enemy. Rapidly rising prices are not a desirable feature of a currency. If someone believes the Bitcoin price is likely to rise and will be worth more in the future, they would be reluctant to spend it on something now. Its success undermines its usefulness. Some analysts believe that market volatility and continually rising prices will prevent Bitcoin from fulfilling its purpose as a global payment system.
The blockchain itself is considered totally secure and virtually hack-proof. It has withstood intense scrutiny by mathematical and computer experts and to date there haven’t been attacks on the blockchain itself that has led to money being stolen.
Bitcoin’s biggest vulnerability is the integrity and security of the exchanges and wallet programs that store Bitcoins on behalf of users. Some have gone bust while others have suffered cyber-attacks in which hackers have made off with huge sums.
Further reports of successful cyber heists could shake investors’ confidence in the cryptocurrency, causing a sell-off and a sharp decline in its price.
The blockchain is spread over thousands of computers globally, which compete with each other to verify transactions. Although this is at the core of its security, it is a highly inefficient system and means Bitcoin can only process a handful of transactions a second.
Centralised payment processors, like Visa, process thousands of transactions a second, which makes it more attractive to large retailers as a payment system. Amazon, for example, processed 600 transactions a second during last year’s Amazon prime sale.
If even a fraction of their traffic decided to pay with cryptocurrency, consumers would be stuck for hours waiting for their transactions to be processed.
There are other cryptocurrencies already on the market which are a lot faster. Ripple, for example, can process 1500 transactions a second.
Bitcoin wields first-mover advantage, accounting for about 61% of the cryptocurrencies, but there is nothing to prevent any of the alternative coins from usurping Bitcoin.
Amazon is an innovative tech giant with huge clout in the internet industry and there are rumours they are looking into developing their own cryptocurrency, which could provide a serious challenge to Bitcoin.
Some experts believe an environmental crisis is looming if Bitcoin continues on its current trajectory. The complex computer algorithms that underpin Bitcoin require huge data centres that guzzle power. One observer predicts that without a significant change in how transactions are processed, Bitcoin could be consuming enough electricity to power the US by the middle of 2019. Six months later, that demand could equal the entire world’s power consumption.
Many countries worldwide are investigating Bitcoin and starting to recognise it as a realistic threat. Controlling the money supply is a vital economic and political lever which governments are reluctant to abdicate to a cryptocurrency.
Its anonymity and lack of central control, however, makes it difficult to control and it seems that in the short term their only course of action is to regulate it out of existence.
China recently clamped down on cryptocurrency exchanges and Russia has been openly talking about the prospect of creating its own state-controlled cryptocurrency.
Bitcoin booms for businesses that take the leap Bitcoin is proving to be a lucrative experiment for businesses both big and small. Mar 2, 2020, 12:29 am* Business . Elizabeth Robinson. In Dec ... Bitcoin is a type of virtual currency brought to life by the internet, very powerful computers and the willingness of lot of people looking to embrace new forms of monetary exchange. Advertisement. Advertisement. Bitcoin shares some similarities with real-world currencies, particularly its growing acceptance as a form of payment with more and more merchants, retailers and individuals, both ... The virtual currency markets have been through booms and busts before — and recovered to boom again. But this bust could have a more lasting impact on the technology's adoption because of the ... The virtual currency markets have been through booms and busts before — and recovered to boom again. But this bust could have a more lasting impact on the technology’s adoption because of the ... A spike in the numbers of Bitcoin ATMs could be a subtle indicator that Bitcoin is making its way into mainstream adoption rather quicker than most would care to admit. It may als
Bitcoin is a virtual currency gaining popularity across the web for its ease and speed of use, as well as its anonymity. Annie takes a look at the many uses for Bitcoins, and talks to Fred Ehrsam ... Bitcoin Futures for Dummies - Explained with CLEAR Examples! - Duration: 8:17. Bitcoin for Beginners 17,624 views. 8:17. TEEKA'S TOP 5 PICKS FOR 2020!!! ... The US is becoming increasingly concerned over virtual currencies, launching broad investigations into Bitcoin and the likes. The online currency has won off... Bitcoin: Boom or Bust? TeenTake. Loading... Unsubscribe from TeenTake? ... Already has the virtual currency stirred up controversy by threatening traditional banking and even circumventing State ... New York City is drawing up new rules to regulate the virtual currency Bitcoin - and combat money laundering. That's after a large-scale attack by cyber criminals brought down several online ...