Cryptocurrencies are a phenomenon at the junction of several areas at once, and that is why many find it so difficult to understand them. Even the term itself is more confusing than clear. However, on the other hand, this is precisely the strength of digital currencies.
When discussing cryptocurrency, we may be interested in the opinion of three types of specialists: cryptographers or computer science specialists, crypto-anarchists and financial experts, each of them having their perspective on the subject matter.
Bitcoin was invented and developed by the brilliant scientist Satoshi Nakamoto. Nobody knows his real name, but it is indisputable that he is an exceptionally experienced person in cryptography and software development (or a group of people).
Cryptography is a rather eclectic discipline where mathematical skills and programming skills are in demand. Satoshi is an excellent cryptographer and computer scientist, and this allowed him to find a solution to the problem that had long been tormented by many.
The problem of transferring valuables between distrusting parties for years has occupied the most brilliant minds — the invention of a mechanism for such transactions that do not require the trust of any agent could completely change the financial world.
Satoshi’s solution was called a blockchain – it is a distributed registry of all transactions that do not require participants to trust each other or third parties. And based on the blockchain a payment tool, Bitcoin (Bitcoin Bitcoin) was created.
Satoshi wrote about his discovery on a mailing list that brings together many of the world’s best cryptographers. Among them was Hal Finney, and he was one of the first to work with Satoshi. The first Bitcoin transaction in history was a test – Satoshi translated Finney’s cryptocurrency to check the correctness of the program.
Gradually, more and more cryptographers and scientists began to join the project, and in 2012, Satoshi suddenly disappeared. However, his colleagues continued to develop the protocol.
The second wave of enthusiasts of digital currency became crypto-anarchists – for them, Bitcoin became an opportunity to free the world from the power of governments and the financial system based on fiat currency. These people were idealists, unwilling to compromise with their principles.
This group rejects any attempts to regulate digital currency. For them, the main value is not in the possibility of enrichment or in making Bitcoin a generally accepted means of payment – they regard the network as a social and political movement.
Cryptanarchists are the heart and soul of Bitcoin, and they make every effort to keep the project decentralized and true to its underlying principles.
Somewhere at the end of 2013 cryptocurrency attracted the attention of specialists in finance. This group is usually less politically motivated and more inclined to compromise on issues such as regulation and taxation – their goal is to adopt universal cryptocurrency.
And in this financiers, many of whom have made a name for themselves on Wall Street, have achieved great success – with their help, bitcoin has largely infiltrated the traditional financial system, and as a result, the value of the digital currency has increased.
Some of them, for example, the Winkloss twins, tried to create an opportunity for ordinary investors to invest in Bitcoin, and although their application to create an exchange fund (ETF) this year was rejected, they have already appealed this decision. By the way, the recent staff changes in the Securities and Markets Commission may be in their hands.
Another example is Barry Silbert, who founded the Digital Currency Group, fully or partially owning several important Bitcoin companies, in particular, Grayscale Investments, which sponsors Bitcoin Investment Trust.
When it turned out that something was missing in existing cryptocurrencies, new ones started to be created, for example, Dash. Dash was founded by investment advisor Evan Duffield, who realized that bitcoin and other digital currencies lack a motivation system for network members.
Unlike Bitcoin, where full-fledged network nodes that store full copies of the blockchain, do not get anything for it, Duffield thought that reward should be paid for this and other work for the good of the network.
This summer, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission of the United States approved the application of LedgerX, which promises to launch a legal exchange for trading Bitcoin futures, which will facilitate participation by traditional investors and may also serve as a prerequisite for permission to register exchange funds.
Also in August, it became known that the Chicago Stock Options Exchange (CBOE) reached a partnership with Gemini crypto-gambling partnership, the purpose of which is to launch cryptocurrency derivatives trading in 2017.
Today, financiers are the main engine of accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment everywhere. With them, institutional investors’ money came into the world of cryptocurrency, and they continue to create new tools for investing in digital currencies.
At first glance, it may seem that the success of a cryptocurrency is due only to programmers and cryptographers, but this, of course, is not so – crypto-anarchists and financiers also played an important role.