Dubbed one of the best inventions of the century, cryptocurrencies have changed the financial sector as a result of their decentralized nature. Decentralized finance, under which cryptocurrency falls, enables the cheap and borderless transfer of funds at a very low cost. However, it was not simple to establish a global network of decentralized finance. In this article, we will discuss 10 people who created cryptocurrency and made it known and widely adopted.
What is cryptocurrency?
A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that exists on the blockchain and has no regulating authority. It is a peer-to-peer type of virtual currency that people use around the world. Individuals and institutions can send and receive it anywhere on earth as long as they have access to the blockchain and have the associated technology such as digital wallets.
All the crypto transactions are verified and recorded on the public ledger enabling all parties to view them. The Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto describes cryptocurrency as “a peer-to-peer version of cash” that enables people to make online payments without intermediaries.
The purpose of cryptocurrency
Cryptocurrency serves various purposes including being a medium of exchange, store of value, the unit of account, and investment asset.
The vision of the crypto creator Satoshi Nakamoto was to have digital money that acts as an alternative payment system, with no government or central control. As such, “he/she/they” wanted a digital currency that would be globally accepted as a payment for goods and services.
Therefore, most cryptocurrencies perform the major functions of money such as the unit of account and store of value.
Store of value: Some cryptocurrencies such as stablecoins can maintain their values for a long period. Although the prices of other tokens fluctuate significantly, many people keep them for long periods. The reason is that their values may appreciate over time as well. Therefore, to a large extent, they also maintain their purchasing power.
Unit of account: People use cryptocurrencies to measure the values of goods and services. However, currently, most individuals and businesses do not accept cryptocurrencies as means of payment.
Wealth accumulation: Many people around the world invest in cryptocurrencies to generate profit or earn interest. For example, some investors buy and hold certain cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, expecting their values to rise.
For example, Bitcoin was less than $1.00 in 2011 but currently, it is over $16,000. Interestingly, in November 2021 the price of BTC was above $60,000. Therefore, investors speculate on the values of cryptocurrencies and generate much wealth from that.
Money transfer: It is very fast, convenient, and cheap to send money in the form of cryptocurrencies around the world. Since cryptocurrencies do not involve intermediaries the cost of transferring them is very low. Notably, that cost does not vary based on distance or the geographical location of the receiver or sender.
Creators that have shaped the crypto world
Although many people have ventured into the crypto world and established blockchains and digital assets, there are pacesetters such as Satoshi Nakamoto, Vitalik Buterin, Charlie Lee, Justin Sun, Jackson Palmer, Jed McCaleb, and Chris Larsen. Let’s discuss how these cryptocurrency inventors shaped the crypto world.
Satoshi Nakamoto — the creator of Bitcoin
Most people want to know who Satoshi Nakamoto is. In simpler terms, Nakamoto is the Bitcoin creator, who is known as the founder of cryptocurrency. He created the Bitcoin code in 2007 before publishing the Bitcoin Whitepaper, which explains that Bitcoin facilitates direct internet transactions without using intermediaries such as banks. He published the Bitcoin whitepaper, on 31 October 2008.
Subsequently, Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first Bitcoin on 3 January 2009, heralding a new era of cryptocurrencies. On 22 May 2010, a Florida-based man was the first person to use BTC to buy a real-world product when he purchased a pizza for 10 000 BTC. That is the reason why people call 22 May “Pizza Day”.
Bitcoin’s whitepaper and Nakamoto’s mining of the first BTC laid the foundation for a cryptographically secure, transparent, tamper-proof, and censorship-resistant monetary system.
However, the identity of the Bitcoin creator whose pseudonym is Satoshi Nakamoto is shrouded in mystery. This is because people do not know whether Satoshi Nakamoto was a man, a woman, or a group of several individuals who used a single name.
However, the once-undervalued bitcoin has now reached the price of $21,703.9, topping out at $60,000 at its peak, which is the full history of bitcoin prices that investors can view on cryptocurrency exchanges like Gate.io.
Vitalik Buterin — the co-founder of Ethereum
One of the prominent crypto creators is Vitalik Buterin, the Ethereum founder. Buterin first heard about Bitcoin in 2011 from his father, Dmitry Buterin, a computer scientist. Vitalik’s knowledge of Bitcoin increased during the time he contributed articles to Bitcoin Magazine which used to publish issues related to the coin.
Since he developed a keen interest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, Buterin, a Russian-Canadian writer and programmer, traveled extensively to discuss with Bitcoin developers. When he had acquired much knowledge about Bitcoin he planned to develop a superior blockchain.
As a result, on 27 November 2013, Buterin launched the Ethereum whitepaper where he explained the concept of the blockchain he aimed to develop. Therefore, in 2013 Buterin launched the Ethereum blockchain, a decentralized and permissionless network.
In 2014, Buterin and his team held an initial coin offering where they raised 31,500 BTC worth $18 million. Currently, the Ether blockchain is the second largest based on the market cap of 180.4 billion and is now trading at $1503.54 per Ether, according to Gate.io cryptocurrency exchange data.
Craig Sellars and Reeve Collins — the creators of Tether USDT
The history of the blockchain cannot be complete without mentioning Craig Sellars and Reeve Collins, the creators of the third largest cryptocurrency – Tether USDT. Basically, Tether USDT is the biggest stable coin on the Market at the moment.
Brock Pierce, Reeve Collins, and Craig Sellars launched Tether USDT on 6 October 2014. They built Tether USDT, called Realcoin by that time, on the Omni Protocol since it enabled developers to create smart-contract-based properties on the Bitcoin blockchain.
The name Realcoin was changed to Tether USDT on 20 November 2014. Tether USDT, which uses the Proof of Reserves consensus mechanism, was first traded on Bitfinex in January 2015. It is also the same year that the owners of Bitfinex purchased Tether USDT. As of now, it supports the Ethereum, Algorand, TRON, EOS, OMG, and the Bitcoin networks.
Charlie Lee — the founder of Litecoin
Charlie Lee was among the first cryptocurrency creators following the successful launch of Bitcoin. In fact, Lee first learned about cryptocurrency in 2011 when he read about the Silk Road, a marketplace that used to accept Bitcoin.
Thereafter, Lee, a software engineer, chatted with Mike Hearn, one of the developers of the Bitcoin blockchain. It was Hearn who inspired Lee to develop his own cryptocurrency- Litecoin.
Lee, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, launched Litecoin in October 2011. Significantly; he developed the coin using Bitcoin technology and code, although he made some improvements to them. For instance, he improved on the Hash protocol, the transaction time, and the total supply.
However, Litecoin was not his first crypto project. Lee and a team of other developers created Fairbix which they cloned from another crypto project called Tenebix. However, Fairbix just like Tenebix failed before making a big impact on the crypto stage.
Justin Sun — the founder of TRON
Justin Sun, an advocate of cryptocurrency, NFT, and the metaverse, through the TRON foundation, founded TRON in 2017 with the major aim of decentralizing the web through smart contracts. In 2018 he purchased BitTorrent which offers decentralized service on a large scale. Bit Torrent, with a community of over 100 active users, helped TRON to expand rapidly.
Although TRON was first developed on the Ethereum blockchain it became a stand-alone network in July 2018. The major aim of Sun, a holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in History (Peking University) and a Master of Arts in East Asia Studies (University of Pennsylvania), was to develop TRON into an infrastructure that supports multiple gaming applications, trading platforms, and decentralized finance protocols.
Billy Markus and Jackson Palmer — founders of Dogecoin
Jackson Palmer and Billy Markus, who are software engineers and IT professionals, developed Dogecoin, a meme coin that they launched in December 2013. Basically, Dogecoin is a sarcastic meme coin, with a logo of a Shina Inu dog.
In fact, Palmer and Markus formed Dogecoin using the code from Litecoin, a hard fork of Bitcoin.
Soon after its launch, Dogecoin gained much support from major social media platforms such as Reddit, where it is used as a tipping currency. However, when they realized that the tokens had gained momentum, Palmer and Markus left the development efforts in the hands of a team of developers. Currently, Dogecoin is ranked number 9 with a market capitalization of over $9 billion.
Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb — Founders of Ripple (XRP)
In 2011, three engineers namely David Schwartz, Jed McCaleb, and Arthur Britto set out to develop a blockchain that was better than Bitcoin. Their aim was to have a network that would overcome the limitations of Bitcoin as well as create a sustainable cryptocurrency that would become an international means of payment.
Therefore, in June 2012, the team launched the XRP ledger consisting of the transaction protocol, the Ripple network, and Ripple (the digital asset). Soon after the launch, Chris Larsen joined the team. It is also important to note that in the early days, the digital asset was called Newcoin, later changed to OpenCoin, before being renamed Ripple (XRP).
Based on the Scrypt algorithm, the Ripple blockchain has faster transactions than the conventional decentralized networks. Presently, Ripple is the sixth largest blockchain with a market capitalization of over $17 billion.
We have discussed cryptocurrency creators who made the greatest impact on the crypto sector. These include Satoshi Nakamoto, Vitalik Buterin, Charlie Lee, Justin Sun, Jackson Palmer, Jed McCaleb, and Chris Larsen. Most of them are still actively working to create a better future for cryptocurrencies through making network upgrades and other related initiatives.