International Finance

Blockchain, circa 1995

blockchain, cryptocurrency, cryptographers, Stuart Haber, Scott Stornetta, digital document
The technology in its premature stages was discovered by cryptographers Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta, and printed on The New York Times

The world loves blockchain. Many even imagine a future where this technology might be the fix to almost every problem. But no one really knows that blockchain’s future lies in its past.

This happened when two cryptographers Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta invented a timestamp in 1991: where a cryptographic hash algorithm is used to generate a unique ID for every digital document. The ID is said to change each time the document changed. The article: How to Time-Stamp a digital document notes the chief principles that later came to be known as blockchain.

Twenty four years ago, The New York Times prophesied the blockchain invention in its pages, printed weekly in the classifieds section when both cryptographers wrote each week ‘the digital imprint of their data’ in order to ‘guarantee the immutability of the register of their certification company’.

A section on The New York Times reads: “Confident in the potential of their discovery, the two men went up three years later their own certification company, called Surety. Internet being still in its infancy, there is no question of publishing the famous notebook. Haber and Stornetta decide to lodge it in the “Ads and found objects.”

Today, blockchain is at its peak, revolutionising almost every sector in the world.

Sangeetha Deepak

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