Skip to Main Content

Cryptocurrency Specialists

History

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, David Chaum, an American computer scientist and cryptographer, developed systems that featured many of the elements of blockchains. Blockchain is a shared, distributed ledger database that maintains a continuously-growing list of records that cannot be changed without the agreement of all parties who have access to the database (i.e., no central authority or third-party mediator, such as a bank, is involved in verifying the transaction). Each digital transaction is called a block in the chain of records, hence the blockchain moniker. Chaum also developed eCash, an anonymous electronic currency that predates Bitcoin by three decades.

The use of blockchain technology did not become popular until the late 2000s. In 2008, a person or group named Satoshi Nakamato (the individual/group prefers to remain anonymous) published a whitepaper, Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System, about the uses of blockchain technology to authenticate cryptocurrency payments. Nakamato used software to create (or mine) Bitcoin, the first mainstream cryptocurrency. In 2009, the Bitcoin software was released to the public and cryptocurrency mining began. In 2010, Bitcoin was traded for the first time, and in 2011 rival cryptocurrencies such as Namecoin and Litecoin were created.

The global cryptocurrency market had a capitalization of $2.09 trillion in August 2021, according to Coinmarketcap.com—up from $237 billion in 2019. Today, more than 4,000 cryptocurrencies are purchased and traded globally.

In recent years, companies such as Microsoft, PayPal, Overstock, Whole Foods, Starbucks, and Home Depot have announced that they will accept cryptocurrencies as payment, which suggests that cryptocurrencies are increasingly being viewed as mainstream payment options.

Related Professions
Featured Companies