The story behind the Internet currency that’s one part science fiction, one part libertarian wet dream.
In 2009, Satoshi Nakomoto (possibly a real person, possibly a pseudonym for one or more hackers) invented Bitcoin, the first peer-to-peer currency. Bitcoin, which works along the same lines as the Bittorrent network you might use to download movies and music, isn’t the first online currency. Linden Dollars, the unit of exchange in Second Life, are widely traded and regulated by game's maker, Linden Lab. Nakomoto’s innovation was using math-heavy cryptography techniques to create a medium of exchange that doesn’t require a central authority or physical tangibility (like gold) to deter counterfeiters and regulate the money supply.