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Anxiety is perhaps the best way to describe the attitude that dominated the minds of investors and the general public toward financial markets by the end of 2008. The 2008 financial crisis is considered by numerous economists to have been the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The years leading up to the crisis saw a flood of irresponsible mortgage lending and a massive systemic failure of financial regulation and supervision. The fallout was so immense that it threatened the collapse of large financial institutions. National governments had to intercede to bail out major banks. This chapter begins with a discussion about the 2008 financial crisis, and then we discuss the aftermath, which led to an environment where a new banking system and alternative currency such as Bitcoin could thrive. Then, we dive into the technology stack that powers Bitcoin. Remarkably, the components of this stack are not entirely new, but they are strung together in an ingenious design. Finally, we end the discussion by talking about the heightened interest in blockchain, a major technical breakthrough that has the potential to revolutionize several industries.
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