How we got here
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How we got here

First, there was money

Money is a medium of exchange.
I give you one apple, you give me money, I buy something else with the money.
Throughout history, various things were used to represent units of value: shells, beads, cocoa beans, lumps of precious metals, bits of paper with famous faces on them…
Over time, governments and central banks gained control over all money and what could be considered “legal tender”.
The temptation for these central bodies to just print more money has been, at times, overwhelming. See Weimar Germany in the 1920s, Republic of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, and Zimbabwe in 2007.
These are just the worst examples of hyperinflation, but even “stable” governments like to mess around with the money supply. This usually leaves everyday citizens worse off over time.
Governments also have an annoying tendency to misuse this incredible power, even when they don’t mess up totally.

Along came Satoshi Nakamoto

The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks. - Bitcoin Genesis Block
 
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that allows payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. - The Bitcoin White Paper
 
Bitcoin emerged from the Cypherpunk movement—a practical approach to cryptography and privacy-focused technology. This philosophical background is important and should not be overlooked. Bitcoin was designed to protect personal liberty and provide a form of money free from control by any government, institution, or authority. It was created with the aim of preserving the financial freedoms of individuals, and providing them with a financial system that was untethered from any centralized organization. If you have any interest in cryptocurrency you should endeavour to remember this point, and revisit it periodically.

Then there were smart contracts

Vitalik Buterin realised that if a bitcoin-like technology had a scripting language it could also be a software platform.
💣 Boom - Ethereum was born.
With the introduction of smart contracts, Ethereum could be a general-purpose “global computer” capable of running decentralized applications.
(As well as facilitating the free flow of money).

Then more solutions were proposed

Other networks like EOS, Cardano, Polkadot, Cosmos, Solana etc appeared and claimed to do what Ethereum does, but better…
This will keep happening. They may or may not be right. Please for the love of God don’t spend all your time arguing about this.

And Web3?

Is what we hopefully get when we use this technology to the fullest.
And we don’t act like dicks.
Seriously, with great power comes great responsibility…
Remember the bank bailouts mentioned in the Bitcoin Genesis Block.