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Annotated Whitepaper Collection
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Bitcoin whitepaper (October 31, 2008 – current)
Bitcoin is the first cryptocurrency: a privately-issued, digital money. Designed around 2007-2008 and released in early 2009 by “Satoshi Nakamoto,” Bitcoin was a response to the 2008 global economic crisis. But, Bitcoin was not the first private money, nor the first digital money, and not even the first to use cryptography (for example, David Chaum’s DigiCash system existed decades prior). Bitcoin is a peer to peer, ledger-based system of private money.
Transactions are validated and chained to form secure blocks and blocks are sequentially chained to form a “blockchain.” Blocks are replicated and distributed through a peer to peer network of computers that are responsible for independently verifying incoming blocks while creating a local copy. Local copies are kept in sync across the network by a consensus protocol. ~ Quinn DuPont
Ethereum whitepaper (December 2013 – current)
The original Ethereum whitepaper was written by Vitalik Buterin and published on his blog in December 2013. It was entitled “Ethereum: The Ultimate Smart Contract and Decentralized Application Platform.” The current version, which has been extensively revised since its inception, is stored on Github. Ethereum was inspired by Mastercoin and other early revisions of the Bitcoin blockchain, and is widely considered the first serious attempt to create a blockchain infrastructure capable of general distributed computing. It is used widely for running decentralized apps (Dapps) across many industries, including enterprise solutions. The Ethereum software is open source and actively, collaboratively produced by the community. The Ethereum Foundation supports and promotes development of the Ethereum ecosystem. The Ethereum whitepaper was substantially revised by the Ethereum Yellowpaper, written by Gavin Wood. ~ Quinn DuPont
Omni whitepaper (January 2015 – current); formerly Mastercoin (January 2012 – January 2015)
Mastercoin was one of the original, high-profile Bitcoin-related projects that sought to layer services on top of the existing Bitcoin blockchain. It inspired many others, such as Ethereum and Counterparty (see this history). As Omni, it remains tied to the Bitcoin blockchain and focuses on currency exchange and crowdfunding. Current specification (whitepaper) is stored on Github. Website. ~ Quinn DuPont
Perlin whitepaper (June 2018 – current)
A future, leaderless blockchain using metastable, quorum-focused consensus protocol to enable smart contracts and high-performance transaction processing. A market for distributed computing power is also projected, using a cryptographic function called a dioden to establish proof of elapsed time (needed to calculate compute availability and payment). Website. ~ Quinn DuPont