On the Origins and Variations of Blockchain Technologies

10/15/2018 ∙ by Alan T. Sherman, et al. ∙ 0

We explore the origins of blockchain technologies to better understand the enduring needs they address. We identify the five key elements of a blockchain, show embodiments of these elements, and examine how these elements come together to yield important properties in selected systems. To facilitate comparing the many variations of blockchains, we also describe the four crucial roles of blockchain participants common to all blockchains. Our historical exploration highlights the 1979 work of David Chaum whose vault system embodies many of the elements of blockchains.

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