First instance of Blockchain discovered in the New York Times Circa 1995


Bitcoin's mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto is also credited with the creation of the distributed ledger technology known as blockchain that supports Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies on the market. However, the first instance of blockchain was discovered in the pages of the New York Times, preceding Nakamoto's creation by 13 years.

Blockchain Before Bitcoin

Blockchain is defined as an increasing list of permanent records, called blocks, which contain a cryptographic hash of the previous block, transaction data, and a timestamp. The technology was designed to be permanently verifiable and impossible to change, creating a system without trust for things like financial transactions.

Blockchain is seen by many industries as a way to improve data security and transparency, all while reducing operational costs.

Because of the large potential blockchain offerings, technology is now being considered to track transactions beyond payments. Supply chain management or device-to-device communication through the Internet of Things (IoT) are just two examples of common use cases considered.

The main advantage of Blockchain for companies is around its chronological chain of hash data that records. It is this method of chronological detection that the first cryptographers Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta invented for the first time in 1991, reports Motherboard. However, Haber and Stornetta at that time saw technology as a way to timestamp digital documents to demonstrate authenticity.

In the physical world, timestamping and verification are much simpler. There are notaries to check documents, and even something as simple as closing an envelope can potentially prove that a document has arrived without any alteration. For digital documents, however, it is much more difficult to verify the data has not been altered in any way.

The two developers decided to solve the need for verification of digital documents. They knew that the data should be timestamped to ensure that any changes to a document were evident, and they understood that the timestamp itself must be impossible to change to ensure authenticity.

Together, Haber and Stornetta landed using a cryptographic hashing algorithm to generate a unique ID for each document. The ID will change every time the document has been altered. The duo finally launched its own timestamp service called Surety.

Surety's main product, AbsoluteProof, is the best example of blockchain before Bitcoin. AbsoluteProof was designed to be a cryptographically generated seal for digital documents. The software is used to generate a cryptographic hash of a digital document that is subsequently sent to Surety to create a timestamp seal. The seal acts as the only ID that verifies authenticity.

A copy of the seal is then sent to what Surety called a "universal registry database" composed of hashed customer seals, creating an immutable register of all the seals of Surety's customers ever created.

The way Bitcoin's blockchain and Surety's AbsoluteProof differ is that Bitcoin's blockchain is decentralized, adding a layer of trust to technology invented earlier by Haber and Stornetta. [19659004Comeulterioreprova”assoluta”delprocessodiverificadiSuretylasocietĂ pubblicavainuovivalorihashaggiuntiognisettimanaalNewYorkTimesinunapiccolapubblicitĂ nellasezioneclassificataÈqueldiscopubblicatosulNewYorkTimesrisalentefinoal1995chefungedaprimaistanzadellatecnologiablockchaineispirerebbeilcreatorediBitcoinSatoshiNakamotoacreareBitcoinsullasciadellacrisifinanziariaglobaledel2008[19659004] In the Bitcoin white paper, Nakamoto actually mentioned three separate papers written by Haber and Stornetta on eight articles cited in the text. It is clear that Nakamoto used Surety's AbsoluteProof system as a source of inspiration for Bitcoin's blockchain, perfecting what Haber and Stornetta had initially decided to make.

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