News - Who invented the blockchain?
Who invented the blockchain? Spoiler: Satoshi Nakamoto didn't. A brief history of the technology.
No doubt about it: Bitcoin brought the blockchain technology on the financial scene. At the latest since BTC and the many altcoins shook up the investment landscape, "blockchain" has become a tech buzzword. It is decentralized, transparent and, in some cases, consumes a lot of energy. But who actually came up with it?
It is true that Satoshi Nakamoto created a major use case for blockchain technology in 2008 with Bitcoin. But the system had actually been conceived years earlier. In 1991, Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta programmed the first software that already closely resembled today's blockchain.
Prior to programming the software, they published their white paper titled "How to Time-Stamp a Digital Document."
In this paper, they described a method for generating and verifying timestamps for digital documents. Their approach was based on cryptographic hash functions and was considered one of the earliest forerunners of blockchain technology.
Haber and Stornetta recognized the importance of decentralized information storage and tamper-proof concatenation of data blocks. Although their system did not have the exact characteristics of a blockchain, their work pioneered the later development of this technology.
In 1992, they added Merkle trees to their system, which are still used in today's blockchains. They make it possible to go beyond the single storage of data. In 1994, Haber and Stornetta founded the company "Surety" and released their software "AbsoluteProof."
To solve the double spend problem - the danger of coins being spent twice - Hal Finney developed the "Reusable Proofs of Work" system in 2004. This was a precursor to the later "Proof of Work" mechanism, invented by Satoshi Nakamoto and used today on the Bitcoin blockchain. Hal Finney's approach, however, still relied on central servers to verify the accuracy of transactions.
Probably Satoshi Nakamoto had access to all this information and built on it the blockchain as we know it today, published in 2008 in the white paper "A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System."