In the era of ever-evolving technology and finance, Blockchain has been considered a revolutionary futuristic idea. Blockchain has successfully captured the attention of tech enthusiasts around the world.
In this article, we will embark on the history of blockchain technology throughout the years as a timeline.
Table of Contents
History of Blockchain – The Timeline
Major Events – 1979 – 2004
- 1979: Ralph Merklee, a computer scientist and mathematician, described tree authentication in his PhD. Thesis at Stanford University. It is known as one of the pre-blockchain technologies known as Merklee Tree.
- 1991: Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta won a Discover Award in 1992 for their article ‘How to Time-Stamp a Digital Document‘; In this article, they explained how we can prevent back-dating and forward-dating in digital documents.
- 2000: Stefan Konst published a paper, ‘Secure Log Files Based on Cryptographically Concatenated Entries’ where he introduced the concept of cryptographically secured chains, which is a basis of today’s Blockchain.
- 2004: Hal Finney, an American Software Developer, introduced reusable PoW (Proof-of-Work); this mechanism played a vital role in today’s cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin and Litecoin used PoW.
During the period (1979 – 2004), many people were theoretically talking about Blockchain technology. Today’s Blockchain wouldn’t be possible without the ideas presented by these people.
However, blockchain got its real-life use in 2008.
2008 – The Birth of Blockchain
In 2008, a person or group of people named Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper introducing the concept of blockchain and cryptocurrency. However, Nakamoto’s real identity is still a mystery.
In the published white paper, Nakamoto explained how blockchain infrastructure will support P2P transactions without a third party’s approval.
The white paper and Bitcoin are the biggest improvements in blockchain’s journey as they bring Blockchain’s ideas to life through Bitcoin.
2009 – The Genesis of Bitcoin
This was the period of great recession, and the global economy crashed. During such times, Nakamoto mined the first bitcoin, which was worth less than a penny.
- The block contained 50 bitcoins, and it was known as the Genesis block.
- Bitcoin v0.1 was released as open-source software at SourceForge.
- For the first time, people could buy a virtual crypto coin with their paper money; this validates the blockchain concept.
- Nakamoto ensures that the number of Bitcoins won’t ever exceed 21 million, as he wants to make Bitcoin money with a fixed supply.
2010 – The Pizza Story
Laszlo Hanyecz, a programmer bought 2 Papa John’s pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoin. The dollar value of the pizzas was $40. Later that year, programmer Jed McCaleb launched Mt. Gox.
- Mt. Gox is a Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange
- During its peak, Mt. Gox handled 70% of Bitcoin transaction
- But later that year, a hacker found a bug in blockchain code. He exploited that bug and created more than 184 billion BTC.
- Hence, Nakamoto published a new version of Blockchain.
- However, after that, Nakamoto walked away from the Bitcoin scene.
2011 – Bitcoin’s Rise and Challenge
By 2011, the value of 1 BTC equals 1 USD, and later that year, McCaleb sold Mt. Gox to Mark Karpelès. However, Mt. Gox got hacked, and Bitcoin was stolen, which resulted in a drop in Bitcoin’s value and suspension of trading.
In October, Litecoin was released, considered the first alternative to Bitcoin.
2012 – Coinbase’s Triumph
Bitcoin price increased five times, which made 1 BTC = 5 USD. During that time, Coinbase, a crypto exchange, raised $600,000 as crowdfunding, which made Coinbase the top Bitcoin Exchange.
2013 – The First Bitcoin ATM
By the end of March, there were 11 million Bitcoins in circulation, which were worth more than $1 billion. After 7 months, in October, the first Bitcoin ATM was launched in a Vancouver, B.C., coffee shop.
Some other events –
- Thailand and China banned cryptocurrencies.
- The U.S Federal Court Seized Mt. Gox’s Fund under charges of transmitting money without a license.
- Ethereum was in its development phase.
2014 – Blockchain 2.0
Vitalik Buterin (co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine) published a white paper, explaining the decentralized application platform. That was an important milestone, that resulted in the creation of the Ethereum and the Ethereum Foundation.
It also introduced Smart Contracts, one of the most futuristic features of Blockchain Technology.
Other Events –
- Mt. Gox Bitcoin Exchange went bankrupt.
- The Chairperson of the Bitcoin Foundation got arrested in money laundering charges.
- UK Tax Authority declared Bitcoin as Private Money.
- Microsoft, PayPal, and several other companies accepted Bitcoin.
2017 – Bitcoin Hits $20,000
In 2017, Bitcoin touched its peak of $20,000; during that period –
- Japan recognized Bitcoin as a legal currency.
- Seven European banks formed the Digital Trade Chain Consortium; It was a trade financial platform that operates on Blockchain.
- Around 15% of global banks use Blockchain in their system.
2018 – Challenges and Progress in Blockchain
2018 was difficult for Blockchain –
- The price of Bitcoin fell below $4,000, which was an 80% decline from its peak in 2017.
- Stripe, a payment solution, stopped accepting Bitcoin as payment.
- Google, Twitter, and Facebook banned Crypto advertisements.
However, during that time, many countries were investing in Blockchain research and development. For example, the European Commission launched a Blockchain Observatory and Forum for working on Blockchain development.
2019 – Blockchain Adoption Grows
Several companies adopted and invested in Blockchain technology –
- Walmart started using Blockchain tech in Supply Chain Management and Food Safety.
- Amazon announced Amazon Managed Blockchain Service on AWS, which allows users to build Web 3 applications on public and private blockchain.
- Ethereum exceeds one million transactions per day.
2020 – Cryptocurrency Amidst the Pandemic
2020 was the year of covid-19 pandemic, and it was a period of lockdown and economic slowdown. Major world economies were suffering, however, cryptocurrency was the center of the conversation.
2021 – Key Milestones in the Crypto World
- Bitcoin reached its all-time high of $64,400 on Nov 12.
- Elon Musk a billionaire, tweeted that Tesla will now accept cryptocurrency as payment.
- EL Salvador, a country in Latin America accepted Bitcoin as legal tender. This makes EL Salvador the first country in the world to accept Bitcoin as legal tender.
- NFTs were being popular, many celebrities worldwide launched their NFTs.
- The blockchain Technology market was valued at $6 billion in 2021.
2022 – Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Developments
- Google released its Blockchain Node Engine for Web 3.0 application development.
- in 2022, Nakamoto’s 19 million Bitcoin limit was reached, and now only 2 million Bitcoins are left mining.
- More than 100 countries, showed interest or announced their Central Bank’s digital currency.
- Australian Stock Exchange scrapped its seven-year plan to shift to Blockchain Technology.
2023 and Beyond
In 2023, the world is thinking about crypto and accepting that Blockchain is the future. Businesses are trying to implement Blockchain in practice, while governments worldwide are discussing policies to regulate cryptocurrencies.
Currently, Blockchain technology is only explored in the finance sector, however, it has great utility in the following sectors –
- Internet of Things (IoT)
- Smart Contracts
- Administration, etc.
Blockchain technology is yet to be explored in many other sectors. In the coming years, we will find this tech in many major industries.
Conclusion – History of Blockchain
That’s it for the history of blockchain.
Although Blockchain has a relatively short history, it has the potential to play a major role in the future of technology. Blockchain technology is yet to be explored in many other sectors and industries.
From Merklee Tree to today’s Bitcoin, blockchain has evolved a lot. No doubt, there are many things unexplored, but seems like Blockchain holds a positive future.
Thanks for reading!