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This introduction explains the most important thing about cryptocurrencies. After you‘ve read it, you‘ll know more about it than most other humans. Today cryptocurrencies have become a global phenomenon known to most people. While still somehow geeky and not understood by most people, banks, governments and many companies are aware of its importance. In 2016, you‘ll have a hard time finding a major bank, a big accounting firm, a prominent software company or a government that did not research cryptocurrencies, publish a paper about it or start a so-called blockchain-project.

“Virtual currencies, perhaps most notably Bitcoin, have captured the imagination of some, struck fear among others, and confused the heck out of the rest of us.” – Thomas Carper, US-Senator

But beyond the noise and the press releases the overwhelming majority of people – even bankers, consultants, scientists, and developers – have a very limited knowledge about cryptocurrencies. They often fail to even understand the basic concepts. So let‘s walk through the whole story. What are cryptocurrencies?

Where did cryptocurrency originate? Why should you learn about cryptocurrency? And what do you need to know about cryptocurrency?

What is cryptocurrency and how cryptocurrencies emerged as a side product of digital cash... Few people know, but cryptocurrencies emerged as a side product of another invention. Satoshi Nakamoto, the unknown inventor of Bitcoin, the first and still most important cryptocurrency, never intended to invent a currency.

Announcing the first release of Bitcoin, a new electronic cash system that uses a peer-to-peer network to prevent double-spending. It’s completely decentralized with no server or central authority.  – Satoshi Nakamoto, 09 January 2009, announcing Bitcoin on SourceForge. The single most important part of Satoshi‘s invention was that he found a way to build a decentralized digital cash system. In the nineties, there have been many attempts to create digital money, but they all failed.… after more than a decade of failed Trusted Third Party based systems (Digicash, etc), they see it as a lost cause. I hope they can make the distinction, that this is the first time I know of that we’re trying a non-trust based system. – Satoshi Nakamoto in an E-Mail to Dustin Trammell