Satoshi Nakamoto (a pseudo-name) publishes a design paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” through a metzdowd.com cryptography mailing list that describes the Bitcoin currency and solves the problem of double spending so as to prevent the currency from being copied. The internet-based money enabled online payments without a third party and also wasn’t issued by a government or corporate entity. Nakamoto’s brilliant paper sums up Bitcoin’s primary attributes in the first few sentences that state:
[Bitcoin] a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network. The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work.
The Bitcoin project was registered on SourceForge.net, a community collaboration website focused on the development and distribution of open source software just 10 days later (Nov 9, 2008). When Bitcoin was released into the wild in January of 2009, the decentralized network slowly started transforming the way society perceives money and the entire financial system in general. Bitcoin started with just a few adopters, like Hal Finney who received 10 BTC completing the very first bitcoin transaction. Now the protocol is used by millions of people from every corner of the world, giving individuals a better way to bank, while also moving their funds without permission from so-called rulers.
Sorry to be a wet blanket. Writing a description for (bitcoin) for general audiences is bloody hard. There’s nothing to relate it to. ~ Satoshi Nakamoto
In fact, bitcoin is considered the ‘people’s money’ because the decentralized cryptocurrency has no rulers and gives individuals the sovereign freedom to do whatever they want with their money. The complex monetary system is not based on force or fraud, but rather valid consent towards relying on the consensus of math. This is a stark contrast to the untrustworthy banking system we know of today.
“What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party,” explains Nakamoto’s paper.
Now in 2017, more and more people are starting to seek the benefits of Bitcoin’s revolutionary system. At the time of writing one bitcoin is worth over $16,000 (Dec 2017) and every 24 hours the world is swapping billions worth of BTC. The currency has also resulted in over 1,000 protocol copycats that have used Bitcoin’s technology in some form. The alternative cryptocurrency space that followed Bitcoin’s lead commands $260B (Dec 2017) worth of ‘altcoins,’ which also trade billions every day. Many proponents still agree that Bitcoin has been an innovative technology that is changing society — much like the evolutionary rise of the Internet over the past few decades.
A lot of people also agree that the importance and relevance of Satoshi’s paper will live on forever, and will always give newcomers an excellent summary of what cryptocurrency is, and the vast possibilities in store for the future. “We have proposed a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust,” Nakamoto concludes at the end of the paper.
Since then, Bitcoin has become a living and breathing economy that has yet to be stopped. On the ninth anniversary of the Bitcoin white paper, 2017 is showing there are no signs of this revolutionary system slowing down.