History is extremely important. The past informs us about the future. If you don’t know where you have been, you can’t possibly know where you are going. In the realm of currency, this is particularly true. You cannot understand crypto without first understanding money and how it came to be.
The first thing that needs to be noted is that the concept of a monetary system has been around for thousands of years. It is a concept that developed as early societies became more complex and started to depend on trade with one another. This was not a trivial undertaking back then since there were few ways to go long distances before the advent of modern technology. The need to trade led to the need to develop a system that could facilitate and ensure commerce between parties.
This soon led to the development of bartering systems, which enabled people to exchange goods or services directly with one another without having any sort of intermediaries, like today’s banks or credit card companies. However, this led to problems with “double spending” since people could easily counterfeit goods themselves or get someone else to do it for them and then exchange them for something else at no cost. Eventually, a solution was found in the form of metals like gold, silver, copper and bronze—all of which were difficult or impossible to counterfeit.
The first true form of currency came about in China during the 8th century A.D when the government began to circulate paper money printed with their own designs. The first banknotes appeared in Europe around 1000 A.D. During the next 200 years, banknotes became more common, and they helped fuel the European Renaissance by allowing money to be moved more easily between countries, allowing merchants to avoid the time-consuming and costly practice of carrying large amounts of cash on their travels. In 1690, Sweden became the first country to begin issuing paper currency called banknotes – it was accepted by nine European countries at this time.
In 1694, the Bank of England issued the first modern-day banknote which was backed by gold reserves held by the bank. This eventually led to them becoming a central bank and issuing banknotes backed by its own reserves rather than gold or silver bullion deposits held by other banks or governments.
Since the beginning of society, people have used money to buy and sell goods and services. However, keeping track of all this money was difficult since there was no uniform tracking system. This all changed during the 18th century when banks were established. The First Bank of America was founded in 1790 to keep track of currency. This jump-started the centralised banking we see today. After the financial crisis in 2008 blockchain technology seemed to be the answer for transparency and security in banking transactions.
Cryptocurrencies, or digital money, have existed for over a decade but have only gained mainstream popularity in the last few years. The first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was created in 2009 by a programmer using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin is based on blockchain technology. Blockchain is a global public ledger that records transactions made using cryptocurrencies. In 2009, one Bitcoin was worth less than one U.S. dollar ($1). It reached an all-time high of $68,990.90. per coin in February 2021.
Cryptocurrencies can be used to buy goods and services, like dollars or euros. Cryptocurrencies use decentralised control as opposed to centralised electronic money and central banking systems. The decentralised control of each cryptocurrency works through distributed ledger technology, typically referred to as a blockchain, which serves as a public financial transaction database. Cryptocurrencies make it easier to transfer funds between two parties in a transaction; these transfers are facilitated through the use of public and private keys for security purposes. These fund transfers are done with minimal processing fees, allowing users to avoid the steep fees charged by most banks and financial institutions for wire transfers. In addition, cryptocurrencies can be traded around the world 24/7/365.
It’s common knowledge that the financial system is flawed. But what most people don’t know is that there are new solutions on the horizon. Blockchain technology has caught the eye of hedge funds, banks, venture capital firms and even governments. Today, there are more than a trillion dollars in cryptocurrency circulating around the world today so you can say that cryptocurrency isn’t going anywhere but up from here.