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Blockchain technology is about to transform every trust-based interaction of our lives, from financial services to identity, from health care to our Internet of Things devices. In this podcast, host Laura Shin talks with industry pioneers across tech, financial services, health care, government and other sectors about how the blockchain and cryptocurrency will open up new opportunities for incumbents, startups and everyday people to interact more efficiently, directly and globally.

Aug 18, 2020

David Chaum, the inventor of eCash and CEO of xx network, and Adam Back, the inventor of Hashcash and the cofounder and CEO of Blockstream, discuss their involvement in digital currency well before Bitcoin existed. In this episode, they discuss:

  • how they each became enamored with the idea of digital currency years before such an idea was widely discussed
  • the crypto wars of the 1990s and the U.S. government’s attempts to control access to advanced cryptography
  • Digicash, the creation of eCash, and the difficulties of implementing the system with the technology available at the time
  • the innovation of blind signatures used in eCash
  • what caused the demise of Digicash, and David's role in that
  • the development of Hashcash and the problems Adam was trying to solve by creating it
  • their initial reactions to learning about Bitcoin for the first time
  • how they think Bitcoin might improve in the future
  • the stock-to-flow Model, and where they believe the Bitcoin price might go next
  • why the Hashcash proof-of-work mechanism became so widely used 


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Episode links: 

Adam Back:


Adam's website:


David Chaum:


XX Network:


Previous Unchained episode on the history of digital currency:


Wired article on “e-money”:  


Translated Dutch article on why DigiCash failed:


Aaron Van Wirdum's Bitcoin Magazine series on the history of digital currency: 


David Chaum's e-Cash: