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History of the Blockchain

 

In 1991, Dr. W. Scott Stornetta published a whitepaper with his co-author Dr. Stuart Haber to introduce ‘blockchain’. The term blockchain can be defined as a decentralized, cryptic database on which digital transactions take place.

The origin of Blockchain can be traced back to 1991. A structure that was almost the same as Blockchain was mentioned in a research paper by Haber and Stornetta with the title: “How to Time-Stamp a Digital Document” in 1991.

It was reported in the paper that through a timestamping server, a client sent a document and the server signed the document with the current timestamp. In addition, the server linked the document to the previous document. The pointers also pointed to specific data and not the location of the document. So if the data changed, the pointer would become useless. It ensured no one could change the data which had once passed through the server.

From this paper, it can be observed that the following two properties are methods of time-stamping digital documents:

  1. Finding a way for automatic time-stamping, without relying on the characteristics of the data medium, making it impossible to change any part of the document without the change is very apparent.
  2. It would be impossible to stamp a document with a different time and date from the actual one.

The next and certainly the most important Blockchain innovation was the Bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto published a white-paper in 2008, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System”. The paper mentioned that with peer-to-peer networking, there will be a solution to the problem of double-spending in digital currency. The paper was aimed at building a peer-to-peer digital currency version which would enable people to spend it directly without involving a financial institution. It was a great development that allowed the user to make direct transactions without relying on a third party.