In this article, we give a short introduction to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. The focus of the introduction is on Bitcoin, but many elements are shared by other blockchain implementations and alternative cryptoassets. The article covers the original idea and motivation, the mode of operation and possible applications of cryptocurrencies, and blockchain technology. We conclude that Bitcoin has a wide range of interesting applications and that cryptoassets are well suited to become an
important asset class.
Bitcoin originated with the white paper that was published in 2008 under the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto.” It was published via a mailing list for cryptography and has a similar appearance to an academic paper. The creators’ original motivation behind Bitcoin was to develop a cash-like payment system that permitted electronic transactions but that also included many of the advantageous characteristics of physical cash. To understand the specific features of physical monetary units and the desire to develop digital cash, we will begin our analysis by considering a simple cash transaction.