Few modern inventions carry as much significance as cryptocurrencies. This entirely new way of facilitating transactions and creating value has been remarkably successful, with over 10,000 tokens available in 2022. This is highly impressive, considering there were only a handful of currencies in the early 2010s. Cryptocurrencies have flourished for various reasons. Blockchain technology genuinely has the capacity to change the world, while investors use cryptos to vastly inflate their wealth.
The basic story of how cryptocurrencies began almost always goes back to Bitcoin and the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. It launched in 2009, very quickly establishing itself as arguably the most exciting 21st-century phenomenon. But what most people don’t know is that cryptocurrency existed before this. The idea originated in the early 1980s, so there is much more history than you might have thought. Stay with us for an exploration!
Was there crypto before Bitcoin?
While Bitcoin was the first “true” cryptocurrency, other examples existed before its 2009 launch. The story starts in 1983 when the innovative cryptographer David Chaum set out his concept for an anonymous and entirely electronic currency that could work without any external influence from traditional institutions such as banks.
It would take Chaum almost a decade to create a solid example. He launched DigiCash, an early precursor to actual cryptocurrencies, in 1995. Users employed specific software and encrypted keys to withdraw money, but they still ultimately needed a bank at one stage of the transaction funnel.
Bit gold was another early trailblazer, often regarded as the most significant inspiration for Bitcoin. It was developed in 1998 by Nick Szabo, who built on the foundations established by Chaum a few years earlier. The only thing Szabo couldn’t solve was the double-spending conundrum. He still needed a central authority to oversee this, therefore just missing out on the decentralized currency dream.
Bitcoin: the start of a new era
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? We might never know. The anonymous person or group published a Bitcoin white paper in October 2008, setting out the rules for this groundbreaking new cryptocurrency. Nakamoto optimized the early foundations of blockchain technology to deliver a truly decentralized strategy of facilitating and recording financial transactions.
The first Bitcoin was “mined” in 2009, with an embedded newspaper headline ensuring the 2008 financial crisis was never forgotten. Bitcoin was meant to be a reaction against fluctuating markets and the hypocrisy of major global banks and investment funds making money from other people’s suffering.
In those early days, Bitcoin was virtually worthless. However, it didn’t take long for things to start moving. In April 2010, one Bitcoin was worth around $0.14. Less than a year later, it had increased to $1.06 before exploding to $8.89 in May 2011. One thing was certain: Bitcoin was here to stay.
What are the best cryptos going into 2023?
One of the most significant Bitcoin factors is its decentralized nature. Nakamoto made the blockchain principles free for others to use and expand on, naturally resulting in several cryptocurrencies popping up in the early 2010s. Nowadays, looking at a cryptocurrency list brings up thousands of options. Check below for the best ones:
Bitcoin is always worth a punt. The original modern cryptocurrency has had its ups and downs, but there is no better token for crypto investors looking to build their portfolios. Its growth has blown away all expectations over the last decade. Bitcoin is also increasingly enjoying real-world functionality, something we expect will continue in the next few years.
Originally written off as a meme, Shiba Inu has cemented itself as an important part of the crypto universe. Named after the adorable Japanese dog, it was launched in 2020 as a reaction against the successful Dogecoin. These days, it holds far more value and looks like a great token going into 2023.
Ethereum generally only comes second to Bitcoin in the overall crypto rankings. Its native token, ether, has been incredibly successful since its 2013 launch, but this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Ethereum. Its smart contract functionality is a key USP and will keep it relevant for years to come.
Other uses for blockchain technology
Blockchain technology hasn’t just made cryptocurrency possible – it is also responsible for several exciting developments, such as the metaverse and NFTs. The future of non-fungible tokens looks particularly exciting.