Before Bitcoin became the king of crypto as we know it today, there were other cryptos that were introduced but never reached the same level of success. However, Bitcoin would’ve never existed without them.

I know most people on this sub refer to BTC as the king of crypto. But I don't think most people are aware that there were a few cryptos that came along and built the foundation for BTC. So I did some reading and hope to share it with you guys. I hope there will be some ultra-veterans here in this sub and I would absolutely love to hear some of the experiences using some of these cryptos.

E-cash withdrawal interface


Developed by David Chaum, who is considered the father of cryptocurrency, in 1982. He published the first idea of anonymous digital money in a paper titled Blind Signatures for Untraceable Payments and launched E-Cash from his company DigiCash in 1994. E-Cash utilised RSA Blind Signatures to encrypt the digital money, so it cannot be read by anyone other than the owner. There were actually a lot of institutional interest in E-Cash back in the days, where Deustche Bank, Credit Suisse and many others signed deals with DigiCash to use E-Cash on their platform. However, only one small bank, Mark Twain Bank, ever implemented it as a product on its platform. DigiCash went bankrupt in 1998 and was sold to eCash Technologies. If you Google E-cash, you will likely stumble upon this crypto, but it has nothing to do with David Chaum.


Around 1998, a computer engineer by the name of Wei Dai introduced B-Money as a form of anonymous electronic cash system. He described B-Money as “a scheme for a group of untraceable digital pseudonyms to pay each other with money and to enforce contracts amongst themselves without outside help.” and also quoted that he envisioned digital currency to be part of a “crypto-anarchy“. As you can infer from his statement, B-Money is probably the closest predecessor of BTC and you are right. Satoshi Nakamoto actually sent emails to Wei Dai to express his interest in B-Money and his own whitepaper for BTC took inspiration from Wei Dai's work. B-Money was never implemented but its spirit lived on in Bitcoin. Another fun fact related to this is that gas (Gwei) for Ethereum is named after Wei Dai to pay homage to his contributions.

Bit Gold

There was a particular movement, Cypherpunks, amongst computer engineers and privacy advocates in the 1990s who wanted to use cryptography to make currency more secure and trustless. Nick Szabo was one of these cypherpunks and developed Bit Gold with many of the characteristics of Bitcoin like peer-to-peer networking, mining, Proof-of-Work, a public ledger, cryptography etc. In fact, Bit Gold biggest breakthrough was a shift towards decentralization and the idea of using computers to solve cryptographic puzzles (mining). Due to its similarities to Bitcoin, many speculated that Nick Szabo was actually Satoshi Nakamoto, but he denied it.


Adam Back developed HashCash in 1997 and proposed that it could be used for preventing DDos attacks and email spams. Adam published this concept in 2002 as “Hashcash – A Denial of Service Counter-Measure” and this crypto also used a hash-based Proof-of-Work algorithm to generate and distribute new coins. Eventually, this coin would fizzle out due to the increasing processing power needed as time went on.

Looking at this list of coins made me feel in awe about Bitcoin, especially since there were many that came before and never achieved what BTC was able to achieve. At the same time, every one of them set the stage for BTC to shine. Thanks for reading!

reddit image

50 thoughts on “Before Bitcoin became the king of crypto as we know it today, there were other cryptos that were introduced but never reached the same level of success. However, Bitcoin would’ve never existed without them.”

  1. I remember having an e-cash card, probably mid 90’s. Can’t remember how it was recharged though, but it was used by swiping it like a normal credit/debit card back in the day.

    Then in the late 00’s my bank had a similar solution where the debit card could be charged with « electronic cash », but maximum like 20 euros, which could be used for small transactions without needing PIN. That was a local project between the biggest banks in my country though…

    I wonder how much those projects were levering the technology you’re talking about (maybe the e-cash was actually THE e-cash) though, or if they were more into the digital cash like the mobile phone cash which was (is?) so popular in some African countries…

  2. Thanks for the information. I never knew other crypto existed before Bitcoin.

  3. First of all bitcoin isn’t crypto. And bitcoin wouldn’t exist if it werent for silk road

  4. EVERYTHING is built on things that came before it. As obvious as that sounds, it has to be said. Even the cryptos in this list that came before bitcoin built on concepts and platforms that came before it.


  6. I like the info, interesting to see what was the inspiration behind btc. Never heard of most of them but privacy at the heart the government probably stopped them

  7. I think another huge thing that Bitcoin benefited from was computers already being an integral part of a lot of the worlds infrastructure.
    So there’s multiple reasons why the timing was just perfect

  8. Hash Cash would be a good name for one of those payment apps like CannaPay that let’s you pay at dispensaries. Though those will not be needed once they start accepting credit cards or crypto.

  9. Why are those coins name without innovation. Sounds like coins that will rugpull anytime

  10. Where is emeralds, worldcoin, feathercoin and tigercoin? The true OGs edit: nevermind not the first forks but rather predating bitcoin. This is cool history. Also, Bleh I’m a dumb.

  11. Yeah ecash today is one of the abcbtc whatever bitcoin forks that rebranded itself if im not mistaken. The one in the list is wild.. imagine had it worked out…

  12. I absolutely love studying the cypherpunks that led to BTC. Hal Finney, Len Sassaman, Wei Dai, Adam Beck. Bitcoin was truly built on the shoulders of giants (and was possibly created by some of the people I just mentioned.)

    The one thing I would caution against is thinking that this timeline leads up to a “better” digital asset replacing bitcoin in the near future. Even big ones like ETH go against the principles espoused by these great cryptographers.

    Proof-of-Work was the concept that made digital cash a reality (especially the reusable PoW’s created by Finney, RPOW’s). Ethereum and most other altcoins use consensus mechanisms that don’t offer the same security level as PoW.

    Even BTC forks like Dogecoin, which run on similar PoW’s, aren’t realistic competitors since they don’t enjoy the same network effect. That’s why the US considers BTC a commodity, and everything else a security.

  13. I believe one of the denominations of Ethereum (the Wei) is a fedora tip to Wei Dai.

    There were also E gold and Liberty reserve. There was something developed for like the railway or subway in Europe in the 80s-90s (digi-somethin) that I read about when researching digital currencies and the cypherpunks in 2016.

    Bitcoin is not an original idea just the first to solve the double spend and centralization issues of its predecessors.

  14. I never knew that there were some form of crypto that has existed before Bitcoin until now. Another lesson learned from this sub.

  15. Bitcoin was a result of an evolving movement and previous trials cryptography is 2 decades older than Bitcoin .

  16. Bitcoin is the brainchild and the merging of 2 big emerging technologies back in the day, distributed computing and peer to peer. You can think of crypto as a merge of Seti@Home & bittorent if you want.

  17. Well they’re not really cryptocurrencies, but yes they were the building blocks for Bitcoin.

  18. Thanks for posting. Was intersting to learn about the precursors of BTC, never heard of them before.

  19. Proof of Work was the real innovation.

    Satoshi most likely used Hal Finney’s RPoW as motivation for Bitcoin’s PoW.

Comments are closed.