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Bitcoin origins 

I don't believe we shall ever have a good money again before we take the thing out of the hands of government; that is, we can't take it violently out of the hands of government, all we can do is by some sly roundabout way introduce something that they can't stop— F.A. Hayek, 1984.

​By the 1980s, a group of people decided to defend privacy in communications through the development of encrypted systems, they were the so-called cypherpunks.

The fusion of their ideas with those of libertarian futurists led to dreams about the depolitization of money. 

The computer can be used as a tool to liberate and protect people, rather than to control them. (...) It's going to have to be a grass-roots activity, one in which individuals first learn of how much power they can have, and then demand it. — Hal Finney (1992).

Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. — A Cypherpunk's Manifesto by Eric Hughes (1993).

 

​The first attempts failed due to lack of decentralization: Hashcash by Adam Back (1997), B-Money by Wei Dai (1998), Reusable Proof of Work by Hal Finney (2004) and Bit Gold by Nick Szabo (2005), but someone behind the mysterious pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto figured it out.

The Bitcoin White Paper titled Bitcoin: a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was published at bitcoin.org on October 31, 2008.

The proposal was sent to the main cryptography mailing list. 9 days later Satoshi wrote: “I had to write all the code before I could convince myself that I could solve every problem, then I wrote the paper”. The code was ready.

The software was released as an open source project, and on January 3, 2009 the Bitcoin Network started to operate.​

The headline in that day's edition of The [London] Times is included in block 0 of the Bitcoin chain.​

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Nobody showed much interest except for Hal Finney, who was the first person to join the network.

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Although "The nature of Bitcoin is such that once version 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime" as Satoshi posted, new developers joined the project and contributed to improve the security of software.

On May 22, 2010, the first commercial exchange of bitcoin occurred: Laszlo Hanyecz posted a thread on Bitcointalk.org with the title "Pizza for bitcoins?" offering 10,000₿ for two pizzas. Another forum user took the offer and ordered and paid by phone two pizzas to Laszlo's home.

On April 23, 2011, Satoshi disappeared stating in an email "I've moved on to other things".

 

Appreciation for Bitcoin grew slowly.

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By 2020 the Bitcoin Network had become the most reliable and secure financial network in the world, supported by ten of thousands of nodes distributed globally.

What does make Bitcoin so unique?

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