ARPANET’s First Mark Into Networked Computing
Created in February 1958, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was a response to the Soviet launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite, to research and develop projects in technology and science beyond direct U.S. military applications.
Bob Taylor, an ARPA computer scientist, convinced a colleague to support a research project using funding from a ballistic missile defense program. Following three years of research, the ARPANET project was launched as the first network to connect two geographically-distinct computers.
On October 29, 1969 at 10:30 p.m. PT, the first successful message, “LO,”was sent from UCLA in Los Angeles to Stanford University in Silicon Valley. The message was supposed to be ‘“LOGIN”’ but the system crashed. Over seven years later, Queen Elizabeth II was sending her first email from a computer installed in the U.K.
Unbeknownst to most, ARPANET was morphing into a small but fast-growing global communication network.
Rising Computer Network Protocols
The ARPANET was the first public implementation of TCP/IP, two major protocols that now form an integral part of the Internet Protocol Suite. Taken together, this suite constitutes what we know as “the internet,” the global interconnected network that hundreds of millions of humans use daily without ever being aware of it. As additional computer nodes joined the ARPANET in different countries, novel technologies were developed to make the growing network more usable, most notably through standard network protocols.
Public computer protocols were created to govern how data is created, exchanged and interpreted between clients and servers on the same interconnected network, including Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to send and receive emails, File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to exchange and read files or Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to structure and display web pages that we browse today.
HTTP is one of the most well-known public protocols. It turned ARPANET into the World Wide Web that is now commonly called the internet or the web and established a standard for computers to communicate on the application layer of the internet, having built on other layers of public protocols and open-source technologies.
The Internet’s Onion Shape
The internet is built in layers, first abstracted in a framework called the Open Interconnection System (OSI) model, which was later reinterpreted by a simpler version based on the TCP/IP architecture. The OSI model is a logical construction that defines network communication used by various computer systems that interact with each other.
As the internet morphed into a more sophisticated global network of computers, the OSI model was published to help decouple seven distinct layers of public protocols useful in the creation, exchange and interpretation of data flows.
As a hierarchical system, public computer network protocols coordinate how data moves across the internet’s seven layers. Each layer is solely responsible for performing assigned tasks and transferring completed tasks to the next layer for further processing.
This clear specialization ensures performance, reliability and scalability of the internet.
The internet is a multi-layered global distributed network of computers that we use every day for many things without ever questioning its existence. Though only 20 years old, the internet powers an immense amount of trades between an ever-growing number of consumers, companies and nations, accounting for roughly $28 trillion in 2016.
Long before Amazon was a thing, in 1972, students from Stanford and MIT conducted the first ever online transaction using ARPANET. The first good ever sold on the internet was marijuana. Many projects followed as commercial and academic attempts to create electronic cash making commerce native on the internet. All incommensurably failed from the late 1980s to the early 2000s, including B-money, Digicash, Hashcash and bit gold.
Technology capacity limits, regulatory hurdles and centralization particularly prevented mainstream digital currencies from ever taking off.
The Missing Monetary Layer Of The Web
Regardless, for users to directly trade with geographically-distinct neighbors on the internet, one essential component has been absent until now: a monetary layer to store, exchange and measure value natively on the web without being required to use legacy financial institutions.
Over two decades,…