What Is B-Money?

What Is B-Money?

In 1998, a computer scientist named Wei Dai disclosed a digital cash system named B-money, which was designed to be decentralized and anonymous. Although it was never formally released, B-money featured many of the same characteristics that are present in modern-day cryptocurrencies. The concept of B-money is quite similar to that of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.


In 1998, computer scientist Wei Dai introduced the groundbreaking concept of B-money, an early cryptocurrency that never materialized into an official launch. This visionary proposal envisioned an anonymous and distributed electronic cash system, incorporating features that foreshadowed the characteristics prevalent in modern cryptocurrencies.

The Genesis of B-Money: A Glimpse Into Cryptocurrency's Evolution

In 1998, Wei Dai, a University of Washington graduate and computer engineer, unveiled a pioneering concept called B-money in an essay. The paper outlined a revolutionary scheme for untraceable digital pseudonyms to engage in monetary transactions and enforce contracts without external assistance.

Dai's B-money blueprint featured distinctive elements now commonplace in contemporary cryptocurrencies, such as the necessity for computational work to facilitate the digital currency, community verification of this work through a collective ledger, and the reward of contributors. To maintain transaction orderliness, Dai proposed collective bookkeeping with cryptographic protocols for transaction authentication, resembling today's blockchain technology. Additionally, he advocated for using digital signatures and public keys for transaction authentication and contract enforcement.

Dai presented two B-money proposals. The first involved broadcasting a computational problem solution for B-money generation, coupled with a synchronous and unjammable broadcast channel, which he deemed impractical. The second proposal closely mirrors the structure of contemporary blockchain systems. Despite B-money's overshadowing by more recent cryptocurrency successes, Dai's contribution remains pivotal in the industry's early evolution. Notably, the smallest unit of Ethereum's digital currency, ether, is named "wei" in tribute to Dai's work and the B-money concept.

Exploring Contrasts: B-Money vs. Bitcoin

B-money, existing solely as a proposal, was never officially launched but persisted as a concept documented in a white paper by Wei Dai. Despite its non-materialization, Dai's influence did not escape notice. Notably, when Satoshi Nakamoto, the enigmatic founder of Bitcoin, was developing the world's largest cryptocurrency about a decade after Dai's B-money proposal, Nakamoto reached out to Dai before engaging with other developers. Dai, alongside cryptocurrency trailblazers like Nick Szabo and Hal Finney, supported Nakamoto's initiative.

Despite apparent similarities between the B-money proposal and Bitcoin, and subsequently other digital tokens and coins, determining the precise relationship between B-money and Bitcoin proves challenging. In recent years, Dai revealed that the creator of Bitcoin reinvented the idea without initially consulting his article, only crediting Dai afterward, resulting in a limited connection to the project. Speculations within the cryptocurrency community suggest that due to the resemblances between B-money and Bitcoin, Wei Dai might eventually be unveiled as the true identity of the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto.

Objectives of B-Money

In conceiving B-money, Dai envisioned a community where violence would be minimized through the anonymity of physical locations and real identities. This envisioned community, devoid of violence, would ideally operate without needing a government.

Recognizing that eliminating the need for government required peer-to-peer communication and transactions, Dai acknowledged the theoretical ambiguity surrounding the operation of such a community. He remarked, "Until now, it's not clear, even theoretically, how such a community could operate." Efficient cooperation within a community, traditionally facilitated by the government, necessitates a medium of exchange (money) and a mechanism for enforcing contracts, typically provided exclusively to legal entities. B-money's protocol was designed to address these challenges, enabling privacy preservation for all participants while serving as a medium of exchange and offering executable contracts to the community.


B-money was a pioneering concept presented by computer engineer Wei Dai. It is considered to be the initial idea for constructing cryptocurrencies. Although, the proposal was never implemented, several concepts from the proposal have been integrated into the blockchains that we use today.

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