The digital cash “Bitcoin” exploded last year to all-time highs and became a household name, but it was not the first virtual currency. Here are a few predecessors that might surprise you.

Early First Credit Cards 1958-1966

Bank of America’s BankAmericard was first issued in 1958, then spun off into Visa the same year. The card was able to be used at participating merchants only.

DigiCash Inc. 1989

David Chaum founded this electronic money corporation, creating the first anonymous electronic payment system using cryptographic protocols.

This allowed for privacy in online transactions and detected double spending. Could David be the real Nakamoto Satoshi?

Internet’s Birth 1990

Without the invention of the World Wide Web, electronic transfers would not be possible in the pure electronic form we see today.

E-Gold Digital Cash 1996-2009

Gold & Silver Reserve Inc. under E-Gold Ltd., was the first successful digital cash system to gain widespread adoption. Founders Douglas Jackson and Barry Downey had over one million clients by 2004.

Federal Reserve Quantitative Easing

We all know about inflation when governments print money, but heating up the printing press is not always the case. After the 2008 market crash, the Federal Reserve bought bonds from banks and paid the bill in “electronic cash”.

Conclusion

Digital Cash

One-world electronic cash – or many – seems like the next logical progression. Since only about 8% of the world’s money is paper, have we already arrived? There may be no turning back from digital cash.

Robert Connor
Aviation technician by day/blogger by night. In my spare time I love to read and write about technology and how it will change our everyday lives. When autonomous vehicles talk to each other, will we still need traffic lights?

By Robert Connor