"Bitcoin and Blockchain: The Tangled History of Two Tech Buzzwords
Admit it, you’ve heard this hundreds, if not thousands, of times. (You might have even said it yourself.) And sure, people know what you’re saying, you’re talking about the “technology underlying bitcoin” and you sound smart enough.
Once it became known – or at least presumed – that you could apply in finance, in ways similar to how it’s used in bitcoin, everyone started making sure that statement fell from their lips. And that refrain – kicked off by bitcoin itself – remains powerful today.
Sounds plausible? Sure. But, interestingly, the word “blockchain” doesn’t actually appear in the original bitcoin white paper, released back in 2008. Rather, the white paper uses the words “block” and “chain” separately many times.
It describes the word “block” as the vehicle for a bundle bitcoin transactions. Then, these blocks of are linked together, forming a “chain” of “blocks.” That damn blockchain
Turns out, the origins of the word are not quite so revolutionary. “The word blockchain was never used in the early days,” former bitcoin developer Mike Hearn told CoinDesk. Although, Hearn did acknowledge that Satoshi often referred to bitcoin’s “proof-of-work chain” in discussions on forums.
It seems the first references to the word came about on Bitcoin Talk, a bitcoin-specific forum created by Satoshi, in July 2010 – more than a year after bitcoin’s release.
And at that time, these remarks weren’t about how innovative the technology was, but instead were complaints about how long it took to download the bitcoin “blockchain” (the entire history of bitcoin transactions). While compared to today, the download would have far faster, according to one Bitcoin Talk user: “The initial blockchain download is quite slow.” In other words, initially, blockchain was far from the sexy word it is today.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the word really took hold. .
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