Just like it is said that Rome wasn’t built in a day, Blockchain Technology wasn’t built magically in a day. It took years of background research and then more than a decade of hard work since the starting of the first Blockchain-based network (i.e. Bitcoin) to actually propel the sector into prominence.
Blockchain Technology is now disrupting conventional industries around the world but to truly understand the purpose behind the tech, one needs to understand its evolution and timeline in detail.
Infancy and Background Work (1990s-2008)
This is often neglected by many cryptocurrency users themselves. This is the era when the groundwork for the new revolutionary cryptocurrency was being laid, often unwaveringly by computer scientists and economists. The first concept of a decentralized network was envisioned by Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta as early as 1991. This rudimentary system allowed decentralized consensus to help stop tampering of digital documents and ledgers. Various free-market economists, researchers and computer personalities also contributed to the development of an efficient, working blockchain network over the years.
Fast forward to 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym, published his Bitcoin paper and started the network itself later that year. Nakamoto believed that a universal, borderless, free currency was the perfect use case for a decentralized consensus network aka Blockchain because, with the help of it, money won’t be easily manipulated.
Early Bitcoin Network (2008-14)
The following six years saw Bitcoin Network slowly but surely growing in size and stature. Things really started going when in 2012, the network underwent a halving process successfully and scarcer supply meant that the value increased tremendously. With the popularity of Bitcoin, Blockchain Technology also came into focus and users began to explore other use cases of the tech. In 2013, Reddit started accepting Bitcoin for gold memberships. During this time, the first smaller networks in competition to Bitcoin were also released. They include the silver to Bitcoin’s gold Litecoin and of course the beginning of Ethereum. Ethereum founders Vitalik Buterin founded Bitcoin Magazine earlier in 2012.
Rise of Programmable Blockchain Networks and Tokenization (2014-18)
In the next phase, Blockchain Technology became a truly widely acknowledged technology. Ethereum, the world’s first programmable blockchain opened a new set of possibilities that helped a record influx of investment into the sector. The network also allowed other entities to release their own coins using the ERC-20 approach, so basically anyone could release their own coins. Due to this massive influx of money and increased speculation, the crypto sector grew astronomically and Bitcoin price rose from around $500 to $20000 in January 20, 2018. Bitcoin’s share of the market went below 50% as well consistently during this time frame due to the mushrooming of the smaller projects. However, the ferver died down because of recklessness of investors and the 1000+ smaller coins mostly forgotten over time.
Enterprise Solutions, Consolidation of Bitcoin (2018-Onwards)
Once the great price tank of 2020 occurred, the sector retrospected and since then, the focus on quick-launch coins with limited decentralization capability has largely been snubbed. Instead, serious work is being done to provide use cases for enterprises and businesses. The relative success of platforms like R3 Corda, Hyperledger and still others show that the industry has a lot to offer in addition to transparent cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Bitcoin, on the other hand, consolidated its standing within the crypto community and has regained its singular dominance with more than 50% of the market share. The network also underwent a much-anticipated halving on May 12, 2020.