The Blockchain Was Born 20 Years Before Bitcoin.

Scott Stornetta gave a presentation this Saturday, the 30th of May 2020, curated by the Government Blockchain Association Of UAE. The birth of the blockchain is among the many topics he discussed. Scott Stornetta and Stuart Haber’s three papers were references in Satoshi Nakamoto’s 2009 bitcoin whitepaper. Hence, there was speculation that Scott Stornetta is Satoshi Nakomoto. For what it is worth, he denied being Satoshi Nakamoto in the Japanese language, which he speaks.

In late 80s, Stornetta joined the legendary Bell labs, he had come from the West Coast; where he had been working at Xerox
, another hotbed of innovation. When he came to Bell labs Stornetta was already working on an open problem. Stornetta had been witness to a scandal, which was the publication of a extreme result by someone; usually extreme results are the result of manipulation. This was only proven by the examination of some lab notebooks, the original results were proven to be altered using a different ink than the one originally used. Records would become more digital. Stornetta heard this, he grew concerned about the future of record keeping. As he also knew that digital records could be easily altered.

The problem of immutability of digital records became a mission. Stornetta was trained as a theoretical physicist. He did not direct expertise in digital documents or cryptography, but he continued to pursue his interest.

Xerox and Bell labs encouraged work on open projects. You could work on anything as long you stated the problem. No manager directed your work, results did not have to be on a timeline. The advantage of an environment like that is that it throws together brilliant people from multiple disciplines, sparking open collaboration. Many storied and world changing products were born from these two cauldrons.

In Bell Labs, Stornetta met Haber, a cryptographer. Stornetta…

Read More