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Today’s world is at war on many fronts. The rules of international law and order put in place toward the end of World War II are being broken by U.S. foreign policy escalating its confrontation with countries that refrain from giving its companies control of their economic surpluses. Countries that do not give the United States control of their oil and financial sectors or privatize their key sectors are being isolated by the United States imposing trade sanctions and unilateral tariffs giving special advantages to U.S. producers in violation of free trade agreements with European, Asian and other countries.
This global fracture has an increasingly military cast. U.S. officials justify tariffs and import quotas illegal under WTO rules on “national security” grounds, claiming that the United States can do whatever it wants as the world’s “exceptional” nation. U.S. officials explain that this means that their nation is not obliged to adhere to international agreements or even to its own treaties and promises. This allegedly sovereign right to ignore on its international agreements was made explicit after Bill Clinton and his Secretary of State Madeline Albright broke the promise by President George Bush and Secretary of State James Baker that NATO would not expand eastward after 1991. (“You didn’t get it in writing,” was the U.S. response to the verbal agreements that were made.)
Likewise, the Trump administration repudiated the multilateral Iranian nuclear agreement signed by the Obama administration, and is escalating warfare with its proxy armies in the Near East. U.S. politicians are waging a New Cold War against Russia, China, Iran, and oil-exporting countries that the United States is seeking to isolate if cannot control their governments, central bank and foreign diplomacy.
The international framework that originally seemed equitable was pro-U.S. from the outset. In 1945 this was seen as a natural result of the fact that the U.S. economy was the least war-damaged and held by far most of the world’s monetary gold. Still, the postwar trade and financial framework was ostensibly set up on fair and equitable international principles. Other countries were expected to recover and grow, creating diplomatic, financial and trade parity with each other.
But the past decade has seen U.S. diplomacy become one-sided in turning the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, SWIFT bank-clearing system and world trade into an asymmetrically exploitative system. This unilateral U.S.-centered array of institutions is coming to be widely seen not only as unfair, but as blocking the progress of other countries whose growth and prosperity is seen by U.S. foreign policy as a threat to unilateral U.S. hegemony. What began as an ostensibly international order to promote peaceful prosperity has turned increasingly into an extension of U.S. nationalism, predatory rent-extraction and a more dangerous military confrontation.
Deterioration of international diplomacy into a more nakedly explicit pro-U.S. financial, trade and military aggression was implicit in the way in which economic diplomacy was shaped when the United Nations, IMF and World Bank were shaped mainly by U.S. economic strategists. Their economic belligerence is driving countries to withdraw from the global financial and trade order that has been turned into a New Cold War vehicle to impose unilateral U.S. hegemony. Nationalistic reactions are consolidating into new economic and political alliances from Europe to Asia.
We are still mired in the Oil War that escalated in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq, which quickly spread to Libya and Syria. American foreign policy has long been based largely on control of oil. This has led the United States to oppose the Paris accords to stem global warming. Its aim is to give U.S. officials the power to impose energy sanctions forcing other countries to “freeze in the dark” if they do not follow U.S. leadership.
To expand its oil monopoly, America is pressuring Europe to oppose the Nordstream II gas pipeline from Russia, claiming that this would make Germany and other countries dependent on Russia instead of on U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG). Likewise, American oil diplomacy has imposed unilateral sanctions against Iranian oil exports, until such time as a regime change opens up that country’s oil reserves to U.S., French, British and other allied oil majors.
U.S. control of dollarized money and credit is critical to this hegemony. As Congressman Brad Sherman of Los Angeles told a House Financial Services Committee hearing on May 9, 2019: “An awful lot of our international power comes from the fact that the U.S. dollar is the standard unit of international finance and transactions. Clearing through the New York Fed is critical for major oil and other transactions. It is the announced purpose of the supporters of cryptocurrency to take that power away from us, to put us in a position where the most significant sanctions we have against Iran, for example, would become irrelevant.”
The U.S. aim is to keep the dollar as the transactions currency for world trade, savings, central bank reserves and international lending. This monopoly status enables the U.S. Treasury and State Department to disrupt the financial payments system and trade for countries with which the United States is at economic or outright military war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin quickly responded by describing how “the degeneration of the universalist globalization model [is] turning into a parody, a caricature of itself, where common international rules are replaced with the laws… of one country.” That is the trajectory on which this deterioration of formerly open international trade and finance is now moving. It has been building up for a decade. On June 5, 2009, then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev cited this same disruptive U.S. dynamic at work in the wake of the U.S. junk mortgage and bank fraud crisis.
Those whose job it was to forecast events … were not ready for the depth of the crisis and turned out to be too rigid, unwieldy and slow in their response. The international financial organisations – and I think we need to state this up front and not try to hide it – were not up to their responsibilities, as has been said quite unambiguously at a number of major international events such as the two recent G20 summits of the world’s largest economies.
Furthermore, we have had confirmation that our pre-crisis analysis of global economic trends and the global economic system were correct. The artificially maintained uni-polar system and preservation of monopolies in key global economic sectors are root causes of the crisis. One big centre of consumption, financed by a growing deficit, and thus growing debts, one formerly strong reserve currency, and one dominant system of assessing assets and risks – these are all factors that led to an overall drop in the quality of regulation and the economic justification of assessments made, including assessments of macroeconomic policy. As a result, there was no avoiding a global crisis.
That crisis is what is now causing today’s break in global trade and payments.
Warfare on many fronts, with Dollarization being the main arena
Dissolution of the Soviet Union 1991 did not bring the disarmament that was widely expected. U.S. leadership celebrated the Soviet demise as signaling the end of foreign opposition to U.S.-sponsored neoliberalism and even as the End of History. NATO expanded to encircle Russia and sponsored “color revolutions” from Georgia to Ukraine, while carving up former Yugoslavia into small statelets. American diplomacy created a foreign legion of Wahabi fundamentalists from Afghanistan to Iran, Iraq, Syria and Libya in support of Saudi Arabian extremism and Israeli expansionism.
The United States is waging war for control of oil against Venezuela, where a military coup failed a few years ago, as did the 2018-19 stunt to recognize an unelected pro-American puppet regime. The Honduran coup under President Obama was more successful in overthrowing an elected president advocating land reform, continuing the tradition dating back to 1954 when the CIA overthrew Guatemala’s Arbenz regime.
U.S. officials bear a special hatred for countries that they have injured, ranging from Guatemala in 1954 to Iran, whose regime it overthrew to install the Shah as military dictator. Claiming to promote “democracy,” U.S. diplomacy has redefined the word to mean pro-American, and opposing land reform, national ownership of raw materials and public subsidy of foreign agriculture or industry as an “undemocratic” attack on “free markets,” meaning markets controlled by U.S. financial interests and absentee owners of land, natural resources and banks.
A major byproduct of warfare has always been refugees, and today’s wave fleeing ISIS, Al Qaeda and other U.S.-backed Near Eastern proxies is flooding Europe. A similar wave is fleeing the dictatorial regimes backed by the United States from Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia and neighboring countries. The refugee crisis has become a major factor leading to the resurgence of nationalist parties throughout Europe and for the white nationalism of Donald Trump in the United States.
Dollarization as the vehicle for U.S. nationalism
The Dollar Standard – U.S. Treasury debt to foreigners held by the world’s central banks – has replaced the gold-exchange standard for the world’s central bank reserves to settle payments imbalances among themselves. This has enabled the United States to uniquely run balance-of-payments deficits for nearly seventy years, despite the fact that these Treasury IOUs have little visible likelihood of being repaid except under arrangements where U.S. rent-seeking and outright financial tribute from other enables it to liquidate its official foreign debt.
The United States is the only nation that can run sustained balance-of-payments deficits without having to sell off its assets or raise interest rates to borrow foreign money. No other national economy in the world can could afford foreign military expenditures on any major scale without losing its exchange value. Without the Treasury-bill standard, the United States would be in this same position along with other nations. That is why Russia, China and other powers that U.S. strategists deem to be strategic rivals and enemies are looking to restore gold’s role as the preferred asset to settle payments imbalances.
The U.S. response is to impose regime change on countries that prefer gold or other foreign currencies to dollars for their exchange reserves. A case in point is the overthrow of Libya’s Omar Kaddafi after he sought to base his nation’s international reserves on gold. His liquidation stands as a military warning to other countries.
Thanks to the fact that payments-surplus economies invest their dollar inflows in U.S. Treasury bonds, the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit finances its domestic budget deficit. This foreign central-bank recycling of U.S. overseas military spending into purchases of U.S. Treasury securities gives the United States a free ride, financing its budget – also mainly military in character – so that it can taxing its own citizens.
Trump is forcing other countries to create an alternative to the Dollar Standard
The fact that Donald Trump’s economic policies are proving ineffective in restoring American manufacturing is creating rising nationalist pressure to exploit foreigners by arbitrary tariffs without regard for international law, and to impose trade sanctions and diplomatic meddling to disrupt regimes that pursue policies that U.S. diplomats do not like.
There is a parallel here with Rome in the late 1st century BC. It stripped its provinces to pay for its military deficit, the grain dole and land redistribution at the expense of Italian cities and Asia Minor. This created foreign opposition to drive Rome out. The U.S. economy is similar to Rome’s: extractive rather than productive, based mainly on land rents and money-interest. As the domestic market is impoverished, U.S. politicians are seeking to take from abroad what no longer is being produced at home.
What is so ironic – and so self-defeating of America’s free global ride – is that Trump’s simplistic aim of lowering the dollar’s exchange rate to make U.S. exports more price-competitive. He imagines commodity trade to be the entire balance of payments, as if there were no military spending, not to mention lending and investment. To lower the dollar’s exchange rate, he is demanding that China’s central bank and those of other countries stop supporting the dollar by recycling the dollars they receive for their exports into holdings of U.S. Treasury securities.
This tunnel vision leaves out of account the fact that the trade balance is not simply a matter of comparative international price levels. The United States has dissipated its supply of spare manufacturing capacity and local suppliers of parts and materials, while much of its industrial engineering and skilled manufacturing labor has retired. An immense shortfall must be filled by new capital investment, education and public infrastructure, whose charges are far above those of other economics.
Trump’s infrastructure ideology is a Public-Private Partnership characterized by high-cost financialization demanding high monopoly rents to cover its interest charges, stock dividends and management fees. This neoliberal policy raises the cost of living for the U.S. labor force, making it uncompetitive. The United States is unable to produce more at any price right now, because its has spent the past half-century dismantling its infrastructure, closing down its part suppliers and outsourcing its industrial technology.
The United States has privatized and financialized infrastructure and basic needs such as public health and medical care, education and transportation that other countries have kept in their public domain to make their economies more cost-efficient by providing essential services at subsidized prices or freely. The United States also has led the practice of debt pyramiding, from housing to corporate finance. This financial engineering and wealth creation by inflating debt-financed real estate and stock market bubbles has made the United States a high-cost economy that cannot compete successfully with well-managed mixed economies.
Unable to recover dominance in manufacturing, the United States is concentrating on rent-extracting sectors that it hopes monopolize, headed by information technology and military production. On the industrial front, it threatens to disrupt China and other mixed economies by imposing trade and financial sanctions.
The great gamble is whether these other countries will defend themselves by joining in alliances enabling them to bypass the U.S. economy. American strategists imagine their country to be the world’s essential economy, without whose market other countries must suffer depression. The Trump Administration thinks that There Is No Alternative (TINA) for other countries except for their own financial systems to rely on U.S. dollar credit.
To protect themselves from U.S. sanctions, countries would have to avoid using the dollar, and hence U.S. banks. This would require creation of a non-dollarized financial system for use among themselves, including their own alternative to the SWIFT bank clearing system. Table 1 lists some possible related defenses against U.S. nationalistic diplomacy.
As noted above, what also is ironic in President Trump’s accusation of China and other countries of artificially manipulating their exchange rate against the dollar (by recycling their trade and payments surpluses into Treasury securities to hold down their currency’s dollar valuation) involves dismantling the Treasury-bill standard. The main way that foreign economies have stabilized their exchange rate since 1971 has indeed been to recycle their dollar inflows into U.S. Treasury securities. Letting their currency’s value rise would threaten their export competitiveness against their rivals, although not necessarily benefit the United States.
Ending this practice leaves countries with the main way to protect their currencies from rising against the dollar is to reduce dollar inflows by blocking U.S. lending to domestic borrowers. They may levy floating tariffs proportioned to the dollar’s declining value. The U.S. has a long history since the 1920s of raising its tariffs against currencies that are depreciating: the American Selling Price (ASP) system. Other countries can impose their own floating tariffs against U.S. goods.
Trade dependency as an aim of the World Bank, IMF and US AID
The world today faces a problem much like what it faced on the eve of World War II. Like Germany then, the United States now poses the main threat of war, and equally destructive neoliberal economic regimes imposing austerity, economic shrinkage and depopulation. U.S. diplomats are threatening to destroy regimes and entire economies that seek to remain independent of this system, by trade and financial sanctions backed by direct military force.
Dedollarization will require creation of multilateral alternatives to U.S. “front” institutions such as the World Bank, IMF and other agencies in which the United States holds veto power to block any alternative policies deemed not to let it “win.” U.S. trade policy through the World Bank and U.S. foreign aid agencies aims at promoting dependency on U.S. food exports and other key commodities, while hiring U.S. engineering firms to build up export infrastructure to subsidize U.S. and other natural-resource investors. The financing is mainly in dollars, providing risk-free bonds to U.S. and other financial institutions. The resulting commercial and financial “interdependency” has led to a situation in which a sudden interruption of supply would disrupt foreign economies by causing a breakdown in their chain of payments and production. The effect is to lock client countries into dependency on the U.S. economy and its diplomacy, euphemized as “promoting growth and development.”
U.S. neoliberal policy via the IMF imposes austerity and opposes debt writedowns. Its economic model pretends that debtor countries can pay any volume of dollar debt simply by reducing wages to squeeze more income out of the labor force to pay foreign creditors. This ignores the fact that solving the domestic “budget problem” by taxing local revenue still faces the “transfer problem” of converting it into dollars or other hard currencies in which most international debt is denominated. The result is that the IMF’s “stabilization” programs actually destabilize and impoverish countries forced into following its advice.
IMF loans support pro-U.S. regimes such as Ukraine, and subsidize capital flight by supporting local currencies long enough to enable U.S. client oligarchies to flee their currencies at a pre-devaluation exchange rate for the dollar. When the local currency finally is allowed to collapse, debtor countries are advised to impose anti-labor austerity. This globalizes the class war of capital against labor while keeping debtor countries on a short U.S. financial leash.
U.S. diplomacy is capped by trade sanctions to disrupt economies that break away from U.S. aims. Sanctions are a form of economic sabotage, as lethal as outright military warfare in establishing U.S. control over foreign economies. The threat is to impoverish civilian populations, in the belief that this will lead them to replace their governments with pro-American regimes promising to restore prosperity by selling off their domestic infrastructure to U.S. and other multinational investors.
There are alternatives, on many fronts
Militarily, today’s leading alternative to NATO expansionism is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), along with Europe following France’s example under Charles de Gaulle and withdrawing. After all, there is no real threat of military invasion today in Europe. No nation can occupy another without an enormous military draft and such heavy personnel losses that domestic protests would unseat the government waging such a war. The U.S. anti-war movement in the 1960s signaled the end of the military draft, not only in the United States but in nearly all democratic countries. (Israel, Switzerland, Brazil and North Korea are exceptions.)
The enormous spending on armaments for a kind of war unlikely to be fought is not really military, but simply to provide profits to the military industrial complex. The arms are not really to be used. They are simply to be bought, and ultimately scrapped. The danger, of course, is that these not-for-use arms actually might be used, if only to create a need for new profitable production.
Likewise, foreign holdings of dollars are not really to be spent on purchases of U.S. exports or investments. They are like fine-wine collectibles, for saving rather than for drinking. The alternative to such dollarized holdings is to create a mutual use of national currencies, and a domestic bank-clearing payments system as an alternative to SWIFT. Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela already are said to be developing a crypto-currency payments to circumvent U.S. sanctions and hence financial control.
In the World Trade Organization, the United States has tried to claim that any industry receiving public infrastructure or credit subsidy deserves tariff retaliation in order to force privatization. In response to WTO rulings that U.S. tariffs are illegally imposed, the United States “has blocked all new appointments to the seven-member appellate body in protest, leaving it in danger of collapse because it may not have enough judges to allow it to hear new cases.” In the U.S. view, only privatized trade financed by private rather than public banks is “fair” trade.
An alternative to the WTO (or removal of its veto privilege given to the U.S. bloc) is needed to cope with U.S. neoliberal ideology and, most recently, the U.S. travesty claiming “national security” exemption to free-trade treaties, impose tariffs on steel, aluminum, and on European countries that circumvent sanctions on Iran or threaten to buy oil from Russia via the Nordstream II pipeline instead of high-cost liquified “freedom gas” from the United States.
In the realm of development lending, China’s bank along with its Belt and Road initiative is an incipient alternative to the World Bank, whose main role has been to promote foreign dependency on U.S. suppliers. The IMF for its part now functions as an extension of the U.S. Department of Defense to subsidize client regimes such as Ukraine while financially isolating countries not subservient to U.S. diplomacy.
To save debt-strapped economies suffering Greek-style austerity, the world needs to replace neoliberal economic theory with an analytic logic for debt writedowns based on the ability to pay. The guiding principle of the needed development-oriented logic of international law should be that no nation should be obliged to pay foreign creditors by having to sell of the public domain and rent-extraction rights to foreign creditors. The defining character of nationhood should be the fiscal right to tax natural resource rents and financial returns, and to create its own monetary system.
The United States refuses to join the International Criminal Court. To be effective, it needs enforcement power for its judgments and penalties, capped by the ability to bring charges of war crimes in the tradition of the Nuremberg tribunal. U.S. to such a court, combined with its military buildup now threatening World War III, suggests a new alignment of countries akin to the Non-Aligned Nations movement of the 1950s and 1960s. Non-aligned in this case means freedom from U.S. diplomatic control or threats.
Such institutions require a more realistic economic theory and philosophy of operations to replace the neoliberal logic for anti-government privatization, anti-labor austerity, and opposition to domestic budget deficits and debt writedowns. Today’s neoliberal doctrine counts financial late fees and rising housing prices as adding to “real output” (GDP), but deems public investment as deadweight spending, not a contribution to output. The aim of such logic is to convince governments to pay their foreign creditors by selling off their public infrastructure and other assets in the public domain.
Just as the “capacity to pay” principle was the foundation stone of the Bank for International Settlements in 1931, a similar basis is needed to measure today’s ability to pay debts and hence to write down bad loans that have been made without a corresponding ability of debtors to pay. Without such an institution and body of analysis, the IMF’s neoliberal principle of imposing economic depression and falling living standards to pay U.S. and other foreign creditors will impose global poverty.
The above proposals provide an alternative to the U.S. “exceptionalist” refusal to join any international organization that has a say over its affairs. Other countries must be willing to turn the tables and isolate U.S. banks, U.S. exporters, and to avoid using U.S. dollars and routing payments via U.S. banks. To protect their ability to create a countervailing power requires an international court and its sponsoring organization.
The first existential objective is to avoid the current threat of war by winding down U.S. military interference in foreign countries and removing U.S. military bases as relics of neocolonialism. Their danger to world peace and prosperity threatens a reversion to the pre-World War II colonialism, ruling by client elites along lines similar to the 2014 Ukrainian coup by neo-Nazi groups sponsored by the U.S. State Department and National Endowment for Democracy. Such control recalls the dictators that U.S. diplomacy established throughout Latin America in the 1950s. Today’s ethnic terrorism by U.S.-sponsored Wahabi-Saudi Islam recalls the behavior of Nazi Germany in the 1940s.
Global warming is the second major existentialist threat. Blocking attempts to reverse it is a bedrock of American foreign policy, because it is based on control of oil. So the military, refugee and global warming threats are interconnected.
The U.S. military poses the greatest immediate danger. Today’s warfare is fundamentally changed from what it used to be. Prior to the 1970s, nations conquering others had to invade and occupy them with armies recruited by a military draft. But no democracy in today’s world can revive such a draft without triggering widespread refusal to fight, voting the government out of power. The only way the United States – or other countries – can fight other nations is to bomb them. And as noted above, economic sanctions have as destructive an effect on civilian populations in countries deemed to be U.S. adversaries as overt warfare. The United States can sponsor political coups (as in Honduras and Pinochet’s Chile), but cannot occupy. It is unwilling to rebuild, to say nothing of taking responsibility for the waves of refugees that our bombing and sanctions are causing from Latin America to the Near East.
U.S. ideologues view their nation’s coercive military expansion and political subversion and neoliberal economic policy of privatization and financialization as an irreversible victory signaling the End of History. To the rest of the world it is a threat to human survival.
The American promise is that the victory of neoliberalism is the End of History, offering prosperity to the entire world. But beneath the rhetoric of free choice and free markets is the reality of corruption, subversion, coercion, debt peonage and neofeudalism. The reality is the creation and subsidy of polarized economies bifurcated between a privileged rentier class and its clients, their debtors and renters. America is to be permitted to monopolize trade in oil and food grains, and high-technology rent-yielding monopolies, living off its dependent customers. Unlike medieval serfdom, people subject to this End of History scenario can choose to live wherever they want. But wherever they live, they must take on a lifetime of debt to obtain access to a home of their own, and rely on U.S.-sponsored control of their basic needs, money and credit by adhering to U.S. financial planning of their economies. This dystopian scenario confirms Rosa Luxemburg’s recognition that the ultimate choice facing nations in today’s world is between socialism and barbarism.
Keynote Paper delivered at the 14th Forum of the World Association for Political Economy, July 21, 2019.
 Billy Bambrough, “Bitcoin Threatens To ‘Take Power’ From The U.S. Federal Reserve,” Forbes, May 15, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/sites/billybambrough/2019/05/15/a-u-s-congressman-is-so-scared-of-bitcoin-and-crypto-he-wants-it-banned/#36b2700b6405
 Vladimir Putin, keynote address to the Economic Forum, June 5-6 2019. Putin went on to warn of “a policy of completely unlimited economic egoism and a forced breakdown.” This fragmenting of the global economic space “is the road to endless conflict, trade wars and maybe not just trade wars. Figuratively, this is the road to the ultimate fight of all against all.”
 Address to St Petersburg International Economic Forum’s Plenary Session, St Petersburg, Kremlin.ru, June 5, 2009, from Johnson’s Russia List, June 8, 2009, #8,
. Already in the late 1950s the Forgash Plan proposed a World Bank for Economic Acceleration. Designed by Terence McCarthy and sponsored by Florida Senator Morris Forgash, the bank would have been a more truly development-oriented institution to guide foreign development to create balanced economies self-sufficient in food and other essentials. The proposal was opposed by U.S. interests on the ground that countries pursuing land reform tended to be anti-American. More to the point, they would have avoided trade and financial dependency on U.S. suppliers and banks, and hence on U.S. trade and financial sanctions to prevent them from following policies at odds with U.S. diplomatic demands.
 Don Weinland, “WTO rules against US in tariff dispute with China,” Financial Times, July 17, 2019. https://xenagoguevicene.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/u-s-economic-warfare-and-likely-foreign-defenses-by-michael-hudson-%e2%80%a2-23-july-2019/
A (live/editable) timeline of historical events directly or indirectly related to the creation of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies
*still workin' on this so check back later and more will be added, if you have any suggested dates/events feel free to lemme know...
This timeline includes dates pertaining to:
- Forms of money
- Banking models
- Bank Bailouts
- Widely accepted economic systems
- Widely accepted forms of government
- Inventions which advanced FinTech
- Inventions in computer science and related technology
- Inventions which connected the world via transportation, communication and information
- Development of cryptography and cyberwar
- Notable Social Movements
- Hyperinflation and National Debts
Ancient Bartering – first recorded in Egypt (resources, services...) – doesn’t scale
Tally sticks were used, making notches in bones or wood, as a form of money of account
9000-6000 BC Livestock considered the first form of currency
c3200 BC Clay tablets used in Uruk (Iraq) for accounting (believed to be the earliest form of writing)
3000 BC Grain is used as a currency, measured out in Shekels
3000 BC Banking developed in Mesopotamia
3000 BC? Punches used to stamp symbols on coins were a precursor to the printing press and modern coins
? BC Since ancient Persia and all the way up until the invention and expansion of the telegraph Homing Pigeons were used to carry messages
2000 BC Merchants in Assyria, India and Sumeria lent grain to farmers and traders as a precursor to banks
1700 BC In Babylon at the time of Hammurabi, in the 18th century BC, there are records of loans made by the priests of the temple.
1200 BC Shell money first used in China
1000-600 BC Crude metal coins first appear in China
640 BC Precious metal coins – Gold & Silver first used in ancient Lydia and coastal Greek cities featuring face to face heads of a bull and a lion – first official minted currency made from electrum, a mixture of gold and silver
600-500 BC Atbash Cipher
A substitution Cipher used by ancient Hebrew scholars mapping the alphabet in reverse, for example, in English an A would be a Z, B a Y etc.
400 BC Skytale used by Sparta
474 BC Hundreds of gold coins from this era were discovered in Rome in 2018
350 BC Greek hydraulic semaphore system, an optical communication system developed by Aeneas Tacticus.
c200 BC Polybius Square
??? Wealthy stored coins in temples, where priests also lent them out
??? Rome was the first to create banking institutions apart from temples
118 BC First banknote in the form of 1 foot sq pieces of white deerskin
100-1 AD Caesar Cipher
193 Aureus, a gold coin of ancient Rome, minted by Septimius Severus
324 Solidus, pure gold coin, minted under Constantine’s rule, lasted until the late 8th century
600s Paper currency first developed in Tang Dynasty China during the 7th century, although true paper money did not appear until the 11th century, during the Song Dynasty, 960–1279
c757–796 Silver pennies based on the Roman denarius became the staple coin of Mercia in Great Britain around the time of King Offa
806 First paper banknotes used in China but isn’t widely accepted in China until 960
1024 The first series of standard government notes were issued in 1024 with denominations like 1 guàn (貫, or 700 wén), 1 mín (緡, or 1000 wén), up to 10 guàn. In 1039 only banknotes of 5 guàn and 10 guàn were issued, and in 1068 a denomination of 1 guàn was introduced which became forty percent of all circulating Jiaozi banknotes.
1040 The first movable type printer was invented in China and made of porcelain
? Some of the earliest forms of long distance communication were drums used by Native Africans and smoke signals used by Native Americans and Chinese
1088 Movable type in Song Dynasty China
1120 By the 1120s the central government officially stepped in and produced their own state-issued paper money (using woodblock printing)
1150 The Knights Templar issued bank notes to pilgrims. Pilgrims deposited their valuables with a local Templar preceptory before embarking, received a document indicating the value of their deposit, then used that document upon arrival in the Holy Land to retrieve their funds in an amount of treasure of equal value.
1200s-1300s During the 13th century bankers from north Italy, collectively known as Lombards, gradually replace the Jews in their traditional role as money-lenders to the rich and powerful. – Florence, Venice and Genoa - The Bardi and Peruzzi Families dominated banking in 14th century Florence, establishing branches in many other parts of Europe
1200 By the time Marco Polo visited China they’d move from coins to paper money, who introduced the concept to Europe. An inscription warned, "All counterfeiters will be decapitated." Before the use of paper, the Chinese used coins that were circular, with a rectangular hole in the middle. Several coins could be strung together on a rope. Merchants in China, if they became rich enough, found that their strings of coins were too heavy to carry around easily. To solve this problem, coins were often left with a trustworthy person, and the merchant was given a slip of paper recording how much money they had with that person. Marco Polo's account of paper money during the Yuan Dynasty is the subject of a chapter of his book, The Travels of Marco Polo, titled "How the Great Kaan Causeth the Bark of Trees, Made Into Something Like Paper, to Pass for Money All Over his Country."
1252 Florin minted in Florence, becomes the hard currency of its day helping Florence thrive economically
1340 Double-entry bookkeeping - The clerk keeping the accounts for the Genoese firm of Massari painstakingly fills in the ledger for the year 1340.
1397 Medici Bank established
1450 Johannes Gutenberg builds the printing press – printed words no longer just for the rich
1455 Paper money disappears from China
1466 Polyalphabetic Cipher
1466 Rotating cipher disks – Vatican – greatest crypto invention in 1000 yrs – the first system to challenge frequency analysis
1466 First known mechanical cipher machine
1472 The oldest bank still in existence founded, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, headquartered in Siena, Italy
1494 Double-entry bookkeeping system codified by Luca Pacioli
1535 Wampum, a form of currency used by Native Americans, a string of beads made from clamshells, is first document.
1553 Vigenere Cipher
1557 Phillip II of Spain managed to burden his kingdom with so much debt (as the result of several pointless wars) that he caused the world's first national bankruptcy — as well as the world's second, third and fourth, in rapid succession.
1577 Newspaper in Korea
1586 The Babington Plot
1590 Cabinet Noir was established in France. Its mission was to open, read and reseal letters, and great expertise was developed in the restoration of broken seals. In the knowledge that mail was being opened, correspondents began to develop systems to encrypt and decrypt their letters. The breaking of these codes gave birth to modern systematic scientific code breaking.
1600s Promissory banknotes began in London
1600s By the early 17th century banking begins also to exist in its modern sense - as a commercial service for customers rather than kings. – Late 17th century we see cheques slowly gains acceptance
The total of the money left on deposit by a bank's customers is a large sum, only a fraction of which is usually required for withdrawals. A proportion of the rest can be lent out at interest, bringing profit to the bank. When the customers later come to realize this hidden value of their unused funds, the bank's profit becomes the difference between the rates of interest paid to depositors and demanded from debtors.
The transformation from moneylenders into private banks is a gradual one during the 17th and 18th centuries. In England it is achieved by various families of goldsmiths who early in the period accept money on deposit purely for safe-keeping. Then they begin to lend some of it out. Finally, by the 18th century, they make banking their business in place of their original craft as goldsmiths.
1605 Newspaper in Straussburg
c1627 Great Cipher
1637 Wampum is declared as legal tender in the U.S. (where we got the slang word “clams” for money)
1656 Johan Palmstruch establishes the Stockholm Banco
1661 Paper Currency reappears in Europe, soon became common - The goldsmith-bankers of London began to give out the receipts as payable to the bearer of the document rather than the original depositor
1661 Palmstruch issues credit notes which can be exchanged, on presentation to his bank, for a stated number of silver coins
1666 Stockholms Banco, the predecessor to the Central Bank of Sweden issues the first paper money in Europe. Soon went bankrupt for printing too much money.
1667 He issues more notes than his bank can afford to redeem with silver and winds up in disgrace, facing a death penalty (commuted to imprisonment) for fraud.
1668 Bank of Sweden – today the 2nd oldest surviving bank
1694 First Central Bank established in the UK was the first bank to initiate the permanent issue of banknotes
Served as model for most modern central banks.
The modern banknote rests on the assumption that money is determined by a social and legal consensus. A gold coin's value is simply a reflection of the supply and demand mechanism of a society exchanging goods in a free market, as opposed to stemming from any intrinsic property of the metal. By the late 17th century, this new conceptual outlook helped to stimulate the issue of banknotes.
1700s Throughout the commercially energetic 18th century there are frequent further experiments with bank notes - deriving from a recognized need to expand the currency supply beyond the availability of precious metals.
1712 First commercial steam engine
1717 Master of the Royal Mint Sir Isaac Newton established a new mint ratio between silver and gold that had the effect of driving silver out of circulation (bimetalism) and putting Britain on a gold standard.
1735 Classical Economics – markets regulate themselves when free of intervention
1744 Mayer Amschel Rothschild, Founder of the Rothschild Banking Empire, is Born in Frankfurt, Germany
Mayer Amschel Rothschild extended his banking empire across Europe by carefully placing his five sons in key positions. They set up banks in Frankfurt, Vienna, London, Naples, and Paris. By the mid 1800’s they dominated the banking industry, lending to governments around the world and people such as the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, and Cecil Rhodes.
1745 There was a gradual move toward the issuance of fixed denomination notes in England standardized printed notes ranging from £20 to £1,000 were being printed.
1748 First recorded use of the word buck for a dollar, stemming from the Colonial period in America when buck skins were commonly traded
1757 Colonial Scrip Issued in US
1760s Mayer Amschel Rothschild establishes his banking business
1769 First steam powered car
1775-1938 US Diplomatic Codes & Ciphers by Ralph E Weber used – problems were security and distribution
1776 American Independence
1776 Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand theory helped bankers and money-lenders limit government interference in the banking sector
1781 The Bank of North America was a private bank first adopted created the US Nation's first de facto central bank. When shares in the bank were sold to the public, the Bank of North America became the country's first initial public offering. It lasted less than ten years.
1783 First steamboat
1791 Congress Creates the First US Bank – A Private Company, Partly Owned by Foreigners – to Handle the Financial Needs of the New Central Government. First Bank of the United States, a National bank, chartered for a term of twenty years, it was not renewed in 1811.
Previously, the 13 states had their own banks, currencies and financial institutions, which had an average lifespan of about 5 years.
1792 First optical telegraph invented where towers with telescopes were dispersed across France 12-25 km apart, relaying signals according to positions of arms extended from the top of the towers.
1795 Thomas Jefferson invents the Jefferson Disk Cipher or Wheel Cipher
1797 to 1821 Restriction Period by England of trading banknotes for silver during Napoleonic Wars
1797 Currency Crisis
Although the Bank was originally a private institution, by the end of the 18th century it was increasingly being regarded as a public authority with civic responsibility toward the upkeep of a healthy financial system.
1799 First paper machine
1800 Banque de France – France’s central bank opens to try to improve financing of the war
1800 Invention of the battery
1801 Rotchschild Dynasty begins in Frankfurt, Holy Roman Empire – established international banking family through his 5 sons who established themselves in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Vienna, and Naples
1804 Steam locomotive
1807 Internal combustion engine and automobile
1807 Robert Fulton expands water transportation and trade with the workable steamboat.
1811 First powered printing press, also first to use a cylinder
1816 The Privately Owned Second Bank of the US was Chartered – It Served as the Main Depository for Government Revenue, Making it a Highly Profitable Bank – charter not renewed in 1836
1816 The first working telegraph was built using static electricity
1816 Gold becomes the official standard of value in England
1820 Industrial Revolution
c1820 Neoclassical Economics
1821 British gov introduces the gold standard - With governments issuing the bank notes, the inherent danger is no longer bankruptcy but inflation.
1822 Charles Babbage, considered the "father of the computer", begins building the first programmable mechanical computer.
1832 Andrew Jackson Campaigns Against the 2nd Bank of the US and Vetoes Bank Charter Renewal
Andrew Jackson was skeptical of the central banking system and believed it gave too few men too much power and caused inflation. He was also a proponent of gold and silver and an outspoken opponent of the 2nd National Bank. The Charter expired in 1836.
1833 President Jackson Issues Executive Order to Stop Depositing Government Funds Into Bank of US
By September 1833, government funds were being deposited into state chartered banks.
1833-1837 Manufactured “boom” created by central bankers – money supply Increases 84%, Spurred by the 2nd Bank of the US
The total money supply rose from $150 million to $267 million
1835 Jackson Escapes Assassination. Assassin misfired twice.
1837-1862 The “Free Banking Era” there was no formal central bank in the US, and banks issued their own notes again
1838 First Telegram sent using Morse Code across 3 km, in 1844 he sent a message across 71 km from Washington DC to Baltimore.
1843 Ada Lovelace published the first algorithm for computing
1844 Modern central bank of England established - meaning only the central bank of England could issue banknotes – prior to that commercial banks could issue their own and were the primary form of currency throughout England
the Bank of England was restricted to issue new banknotes only if they were 100% backed by gold or up to £14 million in government debt.
1848 Communist Manifesto
1850 The first undersea telegraphic communications cable connected France in England after latex produced from the sap of the Palaquium gutta tree in 1845 was proposed as insulation for the underwater cables.
1852 Many countries in Europe build telegram networks, however post remained the primary means of communication to distant countries.
1855 In England fully printed notes that did not require the name of the payee and the cashier's signature first appeared
1855 The printing telegraph made it possible for a machine with 26 alphabetic keys to print the messages automatically and was soon adopted worldwide.
1856 Belgian engineer Charles Bourseul proposed telephony
1856 The Atlantic Telegraph company was formed in London to stretch a commercial telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean, completed in 1866.
1860 The Pony Express was founded, able to deliver mail of wealthy individuals or government officials from coast to coast in 10 days.
1861 The East coast was connected to the West when Western Union completed the transcontinental telegraph line, putting an end to unprofitable The Pony Express.
1862-1863 First US banknotes - Lincoln Over Rules Debt-Based Money and Issues Greenbacks to Fund Civil War
Bankers would only lend the government money under certain conditions and at high interest rates, so Lincoln issued his own currency – “greenbacks” – through the US Treasury, and made them legal tender. His soldiers went on to win the war, followed by great economic expansion.
1863 to 1932 “National Banking Era” Commercial banks in the United States had legally issued banknotes before there was a national currency; however, these became subject to government authorization from 1863 to 1932
1864 Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first rural credit union in Heddesdorf (now part of Neuwied) in Germany. By the time of Raiffeisen's death in 1888, credit unions had spread to Italy, France, the Netherlands, England, Austria, and other nations
1870 Long-distance telegraph lines connected Britain and India.
c1871 Marginalism - The doctrines of marginalism and the Marginal Revolution are often interpreted as a response to the rise of the worker's movement, Marxian economics and the earlier (Ricardian) socialist theories of the exploitation of labour.
1871 Carl Menger’s Principles of Economics – Austrian School
1872 Marx’s Das Capital
1872 Australia becomes the first nation to be connected to the rest of the world via submarine telegraph cables.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, first called the electric speech machine – revolutionized communication
1877 Thomas Edison – Phonograph
1878 Western Union, the leading telegraph provider of the U.S., begins to lose out to the telephone technology of the National Bell Telephone Company.
1881 President James Garfield, Staunch Proponent of “Honest Money” Backed by Gold and Silver, was Assassinated
Garfield opposed fiat currency (money that was not backed by any physical object). He had the second shortest Presidency in history.
1882 First description of the one-time pad
1886 First gas powered car
1888 Ballpoint pen
1895 System of wireless communication using radio waves
1896 First successful intercontinental telegram
1899 Nickel-cadmium battery
1907 Banking Panic of 1907
The New York Stock Exchange dropped dramatically as everyone tried to get their money out of the banks at the same time across the nation. This banking panic spurred debate for banking reform. JP Morgan and others gathered to create an image of concern and stability in the face of the panic, which eventually led to the formation of the Federal Reserve. The founders of the Federal Reserve pretended like the bankers were opposed to the idea of its formation in order to mislead the public into believing that the Federal Reserve would help to regulate bankers when in fact it really gave even more power to private bankers, but in a less transparent way.
1908 St Mary’s Bank – first credit union in US
1908 JP Morgan Associate and Rockefeller Relative Nelson Aldrich Heads New National Monetary Commission
Senate Republican leader, Nelson Aldrich, heads the new National Monetary Commission that was created to study the cause of the banking panic. Aldrich had close ties with J.P. Morgan and his daughter married John D. Rockefeller.
1910 Bankers Meet Secretly on Jekyll Island to Draft Federal Reserve Banking Legislation
Over the course of a week, some of the nation’s most powerful bankers met secretly off the coast of Georgia, drafting a proposal for a private Central Banking system.
1913 Federal Reserve Act Passed
Two days before Christmas, while many members of Congress were away on vacation, the Federal Reserve Act was passed, creating the Central banking system we have today, originally with gold backed Federal Reserve Notes. It was based on the Aldrich plan drafted on Jekyll Island and gave private bankers supreme authority over the economy. They are now able to create money out of nothing (and loan it out at interest), make decisions without government approval, and control the amount of money in circulation.
1913 Income tax established -16th Amendment Ratified
Taxes ensured that citizens would cover the payment of debt due to the Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, which was also created in 1913.The 16th Amendment stated: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”
1914 November, Federal Reserve Banks Open
JP Morgan and Co. Profits from Financing both sides of War and Purchasing Weapons
J.P. Morgan and Co. made a deal with the Bank of England to give them a monopoly on underwriting war bonds for the UK and France. They also invested in the suppliers of war equipment to Britain and France.
1917 Teletype cipher
1917 The one-time pad
1917 Zimmerman Telegram intercepted and decoded by Room 40, the cryptanalysis department of the British Military during WWI.
1918 GB returns to gold standard post-war but it didn’t work out
1919 First rotor machine, an electro-mechanical stream ciphering and decrypting machine.
1919 Founding of The Cipher Bureau, Poland’s intelligence and cryptography agency.
1919-1929 The Black Chamber, a forerunner of the NSA, was the first U.S. cryptanalytic organization. Worked with the telegraph company Western Union to illegally acquire foreign communications of foreign embassies and representatives. It was shut down in 1929 as funding was removed after it was deemed unethical to intercept private domestic radio signals.
1920s Department stores, hotel chains and service staions begin offering customers charge cards
1921-1929 The “Roaring 20’s” – The Federal Reserve Floods the Economy with Cash and Credit
From 1921 to 1929 the Federal Reserve increased the money supply by $28 billion, almost a 62% increase over an eight-year period. This artificially created another “boom”.
1927 Quartz clock
1928 First experimental Television broadcast in the US.
1929 Federal Reserve Contracts the Money Supply
In 1929, the Federal Reserve began to pull money out of circulation as loans were paid back. They created a “bust” which was inevitable after issuing so much credit in the years before. The Federal Reserve’s actions triggered the banking crisis, which led to the Great Depression.
1929 October 24, “Black Thursday”, Stock Market Crash
The most devastating stock market crash in history. Billions of dollars in value were consolidated into the private banker’s hands at the expense of everyone else.
1930s The Great Depression marked the end of the gold standard
1931 German Enigma machines attained and reconstructed.
1932 Turbo jet engine patented
1933 SEC founded - passed the Glass–Steagall Act, which separated investment banking and commercial banking. This was to avoid more risky investment banking activities from ever again causing commercial bank failures.
1933 FM Radio
1933 Germany begins Telex, a network of teleprinters sending and receiving text based messages. Post WWII Telex networks began to spread around the world.
1936 Austrian engineer Paul Eisler invented Printed circuit board
1936 Beginning of the Keynesian Revolution
1937 Typex, British encryption machines which were upgraded versions of Enigma machines.
1927 Founding of highly secret and unofficial Signal Intelligence Service, SIS, the U.S. Army’s codebreaking division.
1937 Made illegal for Americans to own gold
1938 Z1 built by Konrad Zuse is the first freely programmable computer in the world.
1939 WWII – decline of the gold standard which greatly restricted policy making
1939-45 Codetalkers - The Navajo code is the only spoken military code never to have been deciphered - "Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never have taken Iwo Jima."—Howard Connor
1942 Deciphering Japanese coded messages leads to a turning point victory for the U.S. in WWII.
1943 At Bletchley Park, Alan Turing and team build a specialized cipher-breaking machine called Heath Robinson.
1943 Colossus computer built in London to crack the German Lorenz cipher.
1944 Bretton Woods – convenient after the US had most of the gold
1945 Manhattan Project – Atom Bomb
1945 Transatlantic telephone cable
1945 Claude E. Shannon published "A mathematical theory of cryptography", commonly accepted as the starting point for development of modern cryptography.
C1946 Crypto Wars begin and last to this day
1946 Charg-it card created by John C Biggins
1948 Atomic clock
1948 Claude Shannon writes a paper that establishes the mathematical basis of information theory
1949 Info theorist Claude Shannon asks “What does an ideal cipher look like?” – one time pad – what if the keys are not truly random
1950 First credit card released by the Diners Club, able to be used in 20 restaurants in NYC
1951 NSA, National Security Agency founded and creates the KL-7, an off-line rotor encryption machine
1952 First thermonuclear weapon
1953 First videotape recorder
1953 Term “Hash” first used meaning to “chop” or “make a mess” out of something
1954 Atomic Energy Act (no mention of crypto)
1957 The NSA begins producing ROMOLUS encryption machines, soon to be used by NATO
1957 First PC – IBM
1957 First Satellite – Sputnik 1
1958 Western Union begins building a nationwide Telex network in the U.S.
1960s Machine readable codes were added to the bottom of cheques in MICR format, which speeded up the clearing and sorting process
1960s Financial organizations were beginning to require strong commercial encryption on the rapidly growing field of wired money transfer.
1961 Electronic clock
1963 June 4, Kennedy Issued an Executive Order (11110) that Authorized the US Treasury to Issue Silver Certificates, Threatening the Federal Reserve’s Monopoly on Money
This government issued currency would bypass the governments need to borrow from bankers at interest.
1963 Electronic calculator
1963 Nov. 22, Kennedy Assassinated
1963 Johnson Reverses Kennedy’s Banking Rule and Restores Power to the Federal Reserve
1964 LAN, Local Area Networks adapters
1965 Moore’s Law by CEO of Intel Gordon Moore observes that the number of components per integrated circuit doubles every year, and projected this rate of growth would continue for at least another decade. In 1975 he revised it to every two years.
1967 First ATM installed at Barclay’s Bank in London
1968 Cassette Player introduced
1969 First connections of ARPANET, predecessor of the internet, are made. started – SF, SB, UCLA, Utah (now Darpa) – made to stay ahead of the Soviets – there were other networks being built around the world but it was very hard to connect them – CERN in Europe
1970s Stagflation – unemployment + inflation, which Keynesian theory could not explain
1970s Business/commercial applications for Crypto emerge – prior to this time it was militarily used – ATMs 1st got people thinking about commercial applications of cryptography – data being sent over telephone lines
1970s The public developments of the 1970s broke the near monopoly on high quality cryptography held by government organizations.
Use of checks increased in 70s – bringing about ACH
One way functions...
A few companies began selling access to private networks – but weren’t allowed to connect to the internet – business and universities using Arpanet had no commercial traffic – internet was used for research, not for commerce or advertising
1970 Railroads threatened by the growing popularity of air travel. Penn Central Railroad declares bankruptcy resulting in a $3.2 billion bailout
1970 Conjugate coding used in an attempt to design “money physically impossible to counterfeit”
1971 The US officially removes the gold standard
1971 Email invented
1971 First microcomputer on a chip
1971 Lockheed Bailout - $1.4 billion – Lockheed was a major government defense contractor
1972 First programmable word processor
1972 First video game console
1973 SWIFT established
1973 Ethernet invented, standardized in ‘83
1973 Mobile phone
1973 First commercial GUI – Xerox Alto
1973 First touchscreen
1973 Emails made up more than ¾ of ARPANET’s packets – people had to keep a map of the network by their desk – so DNS was created
1974 A protocol for packet network intercommunication – TCP/IP – Cerf and Kahn
1974 Franklin National Bank Bailout - $1.5 billion (valued at that time) - At the time, it was the largest bank failure in US history
1975 New York City Bailout - $9.4 billion – NYC was overextended
1975 W DES - meant that commercial uses of high quality encryption would become common, and serious problems of export control began to arise.
1975 DES, Data Encryption Standard developed at IBM, seeking to develop secure electronic communications for banks and large financial organizations. DES was the first publicly accessible cipher to be 'blessed' by a national agency such as the NSA. Its release stimulated an explosion of public and academic interest in cryptography.
1975 Digital camera
1975 Altair 8800 sparks the microprocessor revolution
1976 Bretton Woods ratified (lasted 30 years) – by 80’s all nations were using floating currencies
1976 New Directions in Cryptography published by Diffie & Hellman – this terrified Fort Meade – previously this technique was classified, now it’s public
1976 Apple I Computer – Steve Wozniak
1976 Asymmetric key cryptosystem published by Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman.
1976 Hellman and Diffie publish New Directions in Cryptography, introducing a radically new method of distributing cryptographic keys, contributing much to solving key distribution one of the fundamental problems of cryptography. It brought about the almost immediate public development of asymmetric key algorithms. - where people can have 2 sets of keys, public and private
1977 Diffie & Hellman receive letter from NSA employee JA Meyer that they’re violating Federal Laws comparable to arms export – this raises the question, “Can the gov prevent academics from publishing on crypto?
1977 DES considered insecure
1977 First handheld electronic game
1977 RSA public key encryption invented
1978 McEliece Cryptosystem invented, first asymmetric encryption algorithm to use randomization in the encryption process
1980s Large data centers began being built to store files and give users a better faster experience – companies rented space from them - Data centers would not only store data but scour it to show people what they might want to see and in some cases, sell data
1980s Reaganomics and Thatcherism
1980 A decade of intense bank failures begins; the FDIC reports that 1,600 were either closed or received financial assistance from 1980 to 1994
1980 Chrysler Bailout – lost over $1 billion due to major hubris on the part of its executives - $1.5 billion one of the largest payouts ever made to a single corporation.
1980 Protocols for public key cryptosystems – Ralph Merkle
1980 Flash memory invented – public in ‘84
1981 “Untraceable Electronic Mail, Return Addresses and Digital Pseudonumns” – Chaum
1981 EFTPOS, Electronic funds transfer at point of sale is created
1981 IBM Personal Computer
1982 “The Ethics of Liberty” Murray Rothbard
1982 Commodore 64
1983 Satellite TV
1983 First built in hard drive
1983 Blind signatures for untraceable payments
Mid 1980s Use of ATMs becomes more widespread
1984 Continental Illinois National Bank and Trust bailed out due to overly aggressive lending styles and - the bank’s downfall could be directly traced to risk taking and a lack of due diligence on the part of bank officers - $9.5 billion in 2008 money
1984 Macintosh Computer - the first mass-market personal computer that featured a graphical user interface, built-in screen and mouse
1984 CD Rom
1985 Zero-Knowledge Proofs first proposed
1985 300,000 simultaneous telephone conversations over single optical fiber
1985 Elliptic Curve Cryptography
1987 ARPANET had connected over 20k guarded computers by this time
1988 First private networks email servers connected to NSFNET
1988 The Crypto Anarchists Manifesto – Timothy C May
1988 ISDN, Integrated Services Digital Network
1989 Savings & Loan Bailout - After the widespread failure of savings and loan institutions, President George H. W. Bush signed and Congress enacted the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act - This was a taxpayer bailout of about $200 billion
1989 First commercial emails sent
1989 Digicash - Chaum
1989 Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau built the prototype system which became the World Wide Web, WWW
1989 First ISPs – companies with no network of their own which connected people to a local network and to the internet - To connect to a network your computer placed a phone call through a modem which translated analog signals to digital signals – dial-up was used to connect computers as phone lines already had an extensive network across the U.S. – but phone lines weren’t designed for high pitched sounds that could change fast to transmit large amounts of data
1990s Cryptowars really heat up...
1990s Some countries started to change their laws to allow "truncation"
1990s Encryption export controls became a matter of public concern with the introduction of the personal computer. Phil Zimmermann's PGP cryptosystem and its distribution on the Internet in 1991 was the first major 'individual level' challenge to controls on export of cryptography. The growth of electronic commerce in the 1990s created additional pressure for reduced restrictions. Shortly afterward, Netscape's SSL technology was widely adopted as a method for protecting credit card transactions using public key cryptography.
1990 NSFNET replaced Arpanet as backbone of the internet with more than 500k users
Early 90s Dial up provided through AOL and Compuserve
People were leery to use credit cards on the internet
1991 How to time-stamp a digital doc - Stornetta
1991 Phil Zimmermann releases the public key encryption program Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) along with its source code, which quickly appears on the Internet. He distributed a freeware version of PGP when he felt threatened by legislation then under consideration by the US Government that would require backdoors to be included in all cryptographic products developed within the US. Expanded the market to include anyone wanting to use cryptography on a personal computer (before only military, governments, large corporations)
1991 WWW (Tim Berners Lee) – made public in ‘93 – flatten the “tree” structure of the internet using hypertext – reason for HTTP//:WWW – LATER HTTPS for more security
1992 Erwise – first Internet Browser w a graphical Interface
1992 Congress passed a law allowing for commercial traffic on NSFNET
1992 Cpherpunks, Eric Hughes, Tim C May and John Gilmore – online privacy and safety from gov – cypherpunks write code so it can be spread and not shut down (in my earlier chapter)
1993 Mosaic – popularized surfing the web ‘til Netscape Navigator in ’94 – whose code was later used in Firefox
1993 A Cypherpunks Manifesto – Eric Hughes
1994 World’s first online cyberbank, First Virtual, opened for business
1994 First DVD player
1994 Stanford Federal Credit Union becomes the first financial institution to offer online internet banking services to all of its members in October 1994
1994 Internet only used by a few
1994 Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption protocol released by Netscape. Making financial transactions possible.
1994 One of the first online purchases was made, a Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza with mushrooms and extra cheese
1994 Cyphernomicon published – social implication where gov can’t do anything about it
1994-1999 Social Networking – GeoCities (combining creators and users) – had 19M users by ’99 – 3rd most popular after AOL and Yahoo – GeoCities purchased by Yahoo for $3.6B but took a hit after dotcom bubble popped and never recovered – GC shut down in ‘99
1995-2000 Dotcom bubble – Google, Amazon, Facebook: get over 600M visitors/year
1995 MP3 term coined for MP3 files, the earlier development of which stretches back into the ‘70s, where MP files themselves where developed throughout the ‘90s
1995 NSFNET shut down and handed everything over to the ISPs
1995 NSA publishes the SHA1 hash algorithm as part of its Digital Signature Standard.
1996, 2000 President Bill Clinton signing the Executive order 13026 transferring the commercial encryption from the Munition List to the Commerce Control List. This order permitted the United States Department of Commerce to implement rules that greatly simplified the export of proprietary and open source software containing cryptography, which they did in 2000 - The successful cracking of DES likely helped gather both political and technical support for more advanced encryption in the hands of ordinary citizens - NSA considers AES strong enough to protect information classified at the Top Secret level
1997 WAP, Wireless Access Point
1997 NSA researchers published how to mint e cash
1997 Adam Back – HashCash – used PoW – coins could only be used once
1997 Nick Szabo – smart contracts “Formalizing and Securing Relationships on Public Networks”
1998 OSS, Open-source software Initiative Founded
1998 Wei Dai – B-money – decentralized database to record txs
1998 First backdoor created by hackers from Cult of the Dead Cow
1998 Musk and Thiel founded PayPal
1998 Nick Szabo says crypto can protect land titles even if thugs take it by force – said it could be done with a timestamped database
1999 Much of the Glass-Steagal Act repealed - this saw US retail banks embark on big rounds of mergers and acquisitions and also engage in investment banking activities.
1999 Milton Friedman says, “I think that the Internet is going to be one of the major forces for reducing the role of government. The one thing that's missing, but that will soon be developed, is a reliable e-cash - a method whereby on the Internet you can transfer funds from A to B without A knowing B or B knowing A.”
1999 European banks began offering mobile banking with the first smartphones
1999 The Financial Services Modernization Act Allows Banks to Grow Even Larger
Many economists and politicians have recognized that this legislation played a key part in the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007.
1999-2001 Napster, P2P file sharing – was one of the fastest growing businesses in history – bankrupt for paying musicians for copyright infringement
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