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A brief history of cryptocurrency drama, or, what could possible DAO wrong?

It makes SILICON VALLEY look like C-SPAN–and yet it’s a documentary. Yes, it’s Cryptocurrency!, the show! You already know it’s been the hit of the last half-decade in extreme-nerd, get-rich-quick, and/or libertarian-conspiracist circles. But the story so far may seem incredibly… well… cryptic. So if you’re just tuning in, here’s a timeline to catch you up before the new season begins:

October 2008 A pseudonymous figure or group called Satoshi Nakamoto publishes a white paper entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” This introduces a new data structure, the blockchain, which over the next eight years will create billions of dollars of value and cause intelligent people to seriously speculate that it could be used to replace the entire global financial system. The mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity is never solved. Compared to much of what follows, this all seems pretty reasonable and plausible.

May 2010 The first real-world Bitcoin purchase occurs: 10,000 btc, currently valued at ~$6.5 million, is used to purchase two large Papa John’s pepperoni pizzas in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Early Spring 2011 The rest of the world (including me) discovers Bitcoin. Reactions range from “this is a giant scam” to “the most dangerous project we’ve ever seen” to “this is our greatest hope for liberty” to “OMG they’re all totally crazy.” Each of these contradictory viewpoints is surprisingly convincing.

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