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The Origins of Cryptocurrency

Those with any knowledge of cryptocurrencies will already know the basics of cryptocurrency; a digital asset designed as a way to purchase something. In basic terms, any type of cryptocurrency is essentially digital money.

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Despite Bitcoin being arguably the most popular type of cryptocurrency in the world, the release of the Bitcoin in 2009 was not the origin of cryptocurrency. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the origins of cryptocurrency.


Bitcoin, which was originally released as open-source software in 2009, is believed to be the first decentralised cryptocurrency in the world. However, the first example of an anonymous electronic money was eCash.

Ecash was first thought up in 1983 by David Lee Chaum, an American computer scientist who founded DigiCash. Although originally conceived in the early eighties, Chaum was unable to bring his ideas to life until 1995. Through DigiCash, eCash was brought into existence.

Despite the excitement around eCash and its almost immediate success, DigiCash went bankrupt in 1998. Ultimately, it was purchased by eCash Technologies. This meant that eCash Technologies gained the eCash patents that had been established in recent years.

Bitcoin: World’s first decentralised digital currency

Bitcoin, a form of electronic cash, is thought of as the very first decentralised digital currency in the world. This means that it is a digital currency without a central bank, single administrator or controlling individual or group.

As Bitcoin is decentralised, it allows for digital currency (bitcoins, in this case) to be sent from user to user without the ‘middle man’.

Bitcoin’s invention isn’t as clear as that of eCash, as it was invented by an unknown individual or group. The creator or creators used the name Satoshi Nakamoto, ensuring that they remained anonymous.

This particular type of cryptocurrency was first released as open-source software in 2009 but didn’t immediately rise to prominence. Now, Bitcoin is arguably the most famous cryptocurrency in the world.

Studying cryptocurrencies

Looking at Bitcoin, we can see that prices in 2011 started at $0.30 per coin. In January 2018, prices started at $13,412.44 per coin. Evidently, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are more popular than ever, suggesting a need for detailed studies into the subject.

One notable study of cryptocurrencies is the one announced by the UK treasury in 2014. In the August of that year, the UK announced that its Treasury has been commissioned to conduct a study of cryptocurrencies. A key aim of this study was to discover what role digital currencies cold play in the future of the UK economy. Another aim was to give a definitive answer of whether regulation of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin should be put in place.

There is one thing that we all know for certain: cryptocurrency is both intriguing and controversial.