The paper – titled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-toPeer Electronic Cash System’ was posted to an obscure mailing list viewed by a handful of so-called ‘cypherpunks’ who believed cryptography and computer science could provide a meaningful route to social – economic and political change.

Just over two months later on 3 January 2009 the first ever cryptocurrency was officially launched in the form of the bitcoin network.

Within a few years, it would be worth more than $10 billion and would eventually peak above $300 billion – surpassing the market cap of the payments giant Visa.

Yet despite this success bitcoin and the thousands of cryptocurrencies that have since appeared are still largely a fringe technology – unable to truly break into the mainstream.

On its 10th anniversary The Independent spoke to a number of crypto experts who explain why this is and suggest how this might be about to change.