Bitcoin’s long gestation and early opposition indicates it is an example of the ‘Worse is Better’ paradigm in which an ugly complex design with few attractive theoretical properties compared to purer competitors nevertheless successfully takes over a niche, survives, and becomes gradually refined. Who am I gwern bitcoin price, what have I done, what am I like? Bitcoin involves no major intellectual breakthroughs, so Satoshi need have no credentials in cryptography or be anything but a self-taught programmer!
So the first answer to Why Now? I can’t tell you why it took as long for weblogs to happen as it did, except to say it had absolutely nothing to do with technology. We had every bit of technology we needed to do weblogs the day Mosaic launched the first forms-capable browser. Every single piece of it was right there. Why did we get Geocities and not weblogs? We didn’t know what we were doing. All that was lacking was a Satoshi to start a Bitcoin.
But with the benefit of this hindsight, one can wonder – why this delay? Why did Bitcoin take a decade to be born? There must be an answer. Is the problem one of resources? A block header with no transactions would be about 80 bytes.
With computer systems typically selling with 2GB of RAM as of 2008, and Moore’s Law predicting current growth of 1. 2GB per year, storage should not be a problem even if the block headers must be kept in memory. That’s fine to say in 2008, after many doublings. Would memory be a problem in the 1990s?
It doesn’t have to be. Bitcoin was begun in the early 1990s, the changeover would simply have occurred sooner. And with all the investment money desperately investing in the first Internet bubble, it would be quite easy to start such a service regardless of the technical demands. Bitcoin was a known idea, where are they?