Pre-Bitcoin, The first Blockchain to the world


Bitcoin: The origin of all the Blockchains? Even if it is gladly accepted: So that’s not true. Bitcoin brought us the Blockchain technology to some notoriety. However, the first block chains there were already earlier.

The Blockchain technology came first, with the growing popularity of Bitcoin (of course, still expandable) prominence. However, the idea of a “chain” of TRANS-action blocks, the cryptographically secured and decentralized, is older than the mother of all crypto-currencies.

Blockchain pioneers, Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta

Already in 1991, operated the two researchers Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta basic research for the cryptographic linking of individual transaction blocks. That was 17 years before the publication of the Bitcoin White Paper by Satoshi Nakomoto. In her work “How to time-stamp a digital document”, they dealt with the Problem of authorship in the age of digitization:

“The prospect of a world in which all Text, Audio, image and video documents in digital Form on easily modifiable media raises the question of how to confirm when a document was created or last modified. The Problem is that the data and not the Medium must be marked with a time stamp“,

it is stated in the Abstract of the work.

The digital fingerprint

In her introduction, Haber and Stornetta make your solution approach by example:

“A recognized method for time stamping a scientific idea is the daily Create notes on their own work in a laboratory notebook. The dated entries are sequentially registered in the memo book, with no page remains blank. The sequentially numbered, sewn-in pages of the notebook make it difficult to manipulate the record without leaving telltale signs. The note will be stamped in book then regularly by a notary or by a Director verified and signed, increases the validity of the claim.“

Already here you can see some of the properties of what later became known as the “Blockchain”: The traceability of entries, the manipulation resistance and the increasing validity through a continuous Review of the book by an independent party.

The individual pages of the lab journals correspond to the blocks; the fact that they are sewn, as an analogy to the cryptographic grasp for Daisy-chaining of the blocks. The regular rubber stamp of the book by a third instance is in this respect comparable with the control and consensus mechanisms of the Blockchain, since every confirmation of a new page. at the same time the entire book.

Absolute proofDie oldest Blockchain in the world?

The two researchers brought to maturity in their Reflections on the Business and founded in the year 1993 with “Surety” one of the first companies that would, in a sense, earned the name “Blockchain” – and in the year 15 before Bitcoin. Surety provides “absolute proof” a digital time-stamping service, which makes the tracking of the creation and modification time of digital documents. The User can seal data on your computer to cryptographically””. This is a kind of digital fingerprint that is sent in the Form of a hash of the absolute proof-database and archived there. The saved in the database “fingerprints” form values in a chain of Hash, in which the Manipulation of an entry would inevitably lead to the invalidity of the entire chain and, therefore, practically not possible.

The New York Times and the Blockchain

A special Gimmick is the way that Surety makes the integrity of your database is publicly verifiable. By weekly publication of the current Hash value in the largest daily newspaper in the world – the New York Times.

In the data sheet to absolute proof, it says:

“The unique sealing process’ of a Surety is to be fully monitored, so that it will not be possible for anyone, before ,to change sealed’ content without detection. Once per week, Surety publishes an integrity value in the […] the New York Times. The value represents the combined digital fingerprints of all electronic records, or objects that have been sealed by Surety since its origin,‘.”


This integrity value is in the Form of a Base64 hash and is therefore a public Bitcoin address (which is based on Base58) is not dissimilar. Also the aspect of public Accountability has in common the Surety Protocol with the “right” block chains à la Bitcoin. Nevertheless, the company will not succeed without a Central Server. This kept some, nevertheless, do not depend on Surety as the longest Blockchain in the world to call.

The longest running blockchain started in 1995 and is still running strong today. Current hash circled in red. Based on Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta

— Ittai Abraham (@ittaia) August 23, 2018

Haber and Stornetta have pulled back in the Blockchain research. The stone, with its basic research into the roles, however, remained in motion. Thereafter, Nick Szabo should come up with his design to Bits of Gold. But that is a different story.



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