I’m getting back into really trying to understand Bitcoin and other blockchain-based ecosystems. I really enjoyed Arvind Narayanan and Jeremy Clark’s deep dive into the many technical and academic threads that culminated in Bitcoin:
If you’ve read about bitcoin in the press and have some familiarity with academic research in the field of cryptography, you might reasonably come away with the following impression: Several decades’ worth of research on digital cash, beginning with David Chaum did not lead to commercial success because it required a centralized, banklike server controlling the system, and no banks wanted to sign on. Along came bitcoin, a radically different proposal for a decentralized cryptocurrency that didn’t need the banks, and digital cash finally succeeded. Its inventor, the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, was an academic outsider, and bitcoin bears no resemblance to earlier academic proposals.
This article challenges that view by showing that nearly all of the technical components of bitcoin originated in the academic literature of the 1980s and ’90s … Bitcoin’s intellectual history also serves as a case study demonstrating the relationships among academia, outside researchers, and practitioners, and offers lessons on how these groups can benefit from one another.
New to me but definitely worth a read.