Who’s Who: The Stalwarts of Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain have opened a whole new world of assets and trade, applications, and possibilities one could have only imagined as part of science fiction.

Owning currency in the digital form and being able to use it like the fiat currency is now possible thanks to the imagination and knowledge of these geniuses who devised methods for everyone to be an equal participant and embrace the freedom of spending and value appreciation without the hassles of security and spending a lot of money on operations.

Let us look at who these people are and what their motivation was in the creation of these platforms.

Satoshi Nakamoto

He/they is/are the man/men or the alter-ego who proposed this idea of creating digital currencies and solved the double-counting issue. They also created the blockchain for housing the digital currencies. They first brought the idea to life in 2009 and then actively built the system until December 2010.

Though their true identity remains hidden, people have speculated the nationality, profession, and even their assessed wealth in terms of the number and value of the bitcoins they own.

There have been many attempts to recognize and investigate the country or region from where this person/persons might originate. A few people have also turned up claiming to be Satoshi. However, the real identity still remains a mystery and perhaps adds to the aura and mystery of the bitcoin.

Vitalik Buterin

This lanky 23-year-old Russian-Canadian programmer is the co-founder and inventor of Ethereum, a popular Bitcoin alternative blockchain along with an accompanying currency. Ether is one of the most popular new coins to invest in and many look forward to it multiplying in the future. It has risen 4,100% year to date since its inception in 2013.

Buterin founded the Bitcoin Magazine in 2011 and later proposed the concept of Ethereum in 2013 and started work on it.

Ethereum came about with the idea of a scripting language for application development in Bitcoin, which failed to reach an agreement by other programmers. Buterin built his own platform with general scripting language that would accommodate decentralised mining and software development as well. Owing to this openness and Vitalik’s own involvement, many software applications and new currencies have come up on the Ethereum platform, making it vital and useful for.

Nick Szabo

A computer scientist, legal expert, and cryptographer known for coining the term and defining the usage of “smart contracts” in cryptocurrency, Nick Szabo is known for his research in digital contracts and currencies.

Szabo looked at the math of cryptography as a way to easily use contractual transactions which can be enforced on the basis of set rules of law embedded in them and would work like e-commerce protocols over the internet.

His invention of “bit gold” is considered as a precursor to the Bitcoin. He envisioned a way to create a growing chain of “gold” property over solving cryptographic puzzles which would be stored in a public registry called Byzantine and would get a “public key” assigned to each unique “gold.”

Each solution would create a new additional problem for the network of growing solvers and thus creating new time-stamped coins/gold. He looked at solving the “double-counting” problem in the data already created as it could be used to create duplicate coins. He did not want to create a centralized regulatory authority to keep a tab.

Other Influential Figures

Apart from these three famous figures, there are early adopters and venture capitalists who backed these new technologies and made pathways for wider acceptance to the public and industry bodies.

Marc Andreessen: An early pioneer of the internet and the creator of the first web browser, he was one of the earliest supporters of bitcoin. His piece in the New York Timestitled “Why Bitcoin Matters,” along with his investment in Coinbase, gave a boost up of confidence to other venture capitalists sitting on the fence on bitcoins.

Ross Ulbricht: He is the infamous creator and founder of Silk Road, the online hidden marketplace for all things illegal. Ulbricht and his creation propelled the use of Bitcoin and started a debate on the bitcoin anonymity as 26,000 bitcoins were seized in payments – worth $3.6 million. Later 144,000 bitcoins, worth $28.5 million, were seized as well which were later auctioned by the FBI.

Final Word

The world of cryptocurrencies and blockchains is growing by leaps and bounds and the veils of anonymity and secrecy is giving way to KYC norms (“Know your customers”) and identities.

While it is a boon to have an open-market source for these currencies, the bane of ignorance and fraud can only be done away with the involvement of regulatory and enforcement authorities.

There will be a growing list of masters of programming and marketing these platforms who will find new ingenious ways to make everyday tasks simpler and easier for the generations to come. Controlling it will be the new challenge.

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