History of Crypto

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao deconstructs the true origins of crypto and how the mysterious figure known as “Satoshi Nakamoto” introduced it to the world. Then, Chris Dixon shares why cryptocurrency and Web3 are in a golden age.

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Topics include: Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto? • From the Fringes to the Mainstream • The Appeal of Freedom • The Future Is Here


- Most people think of the modern start of crypto as the introduction of Bitcoin. There were a lot of ideas, specifically technical ideas, which had been around for much longer, as with most kind of great inventions. Then there's also a lot of pre-history and things that lead up to it. - The fascinating part about this new technology is it solves a problem that has been with us for hundreds or thousands of years, right? The generals on the field coordinating attacks on a castle, on a strategic point, how do they coordinate? That's consensus. How do you send information a secure way, and how do you synchronize it? How do you maintain order without a central party? So the history of crypto technology is somewhat misunderstood. And also the word crypto is very confusing. Now the word is used so much, different people attach different meanings to it. I think some people view it as an industry with the crypto industry. Some call it the blockchain industry. In the old days, it was called the Bitcoin industry. Cryptography solves the middleman messaging problem. Even before computers, people use simple algorithms to encrypt. Say, look, offset every word by every letter-- by three letters. So people use those very simple mechanisms. World War II, the Enigma, the decryption-- World War II was won by decryption. The world would be very different today without that piece of the puzzle, without this technology. And then in 1960s, internet was invented. Internet is just a new technology for transferring information. Blockchain is just a new technology for transferring value. So when the internet was invented, of course, the first thing you do, it just transfers information in a clear text way. And then, of course, there are privacy issues. There are security issues. There's many other issues. And then we have to move to encrypted protocols. Today, most email transfers are protected by the HTTPS protocol, which is also used as encryption. So this is a very long history of progression. It's not an overnight invention. In 2008, the fall of Lehman triggered a global financial crisis. So that highlighted a number of key problems in our financial sectors. So then people are losing faith in centralized parties managing people's wealth, et cetera. And right as this was happening, Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper. And in 2009, that was deployed onto a live blockchain. I do believe that this is triggered by-- this whole Bitcoin, blockchain, crypto, Web3 industry was triggered by that. Satoshi saw a problem. He had a solution to it, and he published it, and then the world embraced it. So I definitely do think that the 2008 financial crisis definitely was a trigger point. So this shows that, when you have a failure, it also provides an opportunity. When there's a catastrophic failure, a strong solution emerges. And Satoshi Nakamoto is just a pseudo name. Nobody knows-- so far as I know, nobody ...

About the Instructor

Since Bitcoin’s launch in 2009, crypto has offered the hope of a stronger, more democratic financial system. And it’s raised plenty of questions as it continues to evolve. Now experts and skeptics at the center of the conversation are sharing a straightforward look at how this ecosystem is changing. Learn the basics, dive deep into the world of blockchain and Web3, and get the breakdown on what you need to know now.

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Chris Dixon, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, Emilie Choi, and Paul Krugman

Get critical intel on the evolving landscape of crypto. Learn the basics—or dive deep into the issues—with noted experts and skeptics.

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