W. Scott Stornetta

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W. Scott Stornetta
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BornJune 1959
  • Physicist
  • Scientific researcher

Wakefield Scott Stornetta (born June 1959) is an American physicist and scientific researcher. His 1991 paper "How to Time-Stamp a Digital Document”,[1] co-authored with Stuart Haber, won the 1992 Discover Award for Computer Software and is considered to be one of the most important papers in the development of cryptocurrencies.[2][3]

Stornetta is currently a fellow at the Creative Destruction Lab,[4] a science and technology-based startup accelerator at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. He is also a founding partner and chief scientist of Yugen Partners,[5] a blockchain-focused venture capital firm that counsels investors on blockchain startup opportunities and governments on blockchain policy, as well as the Director of the Board of Advisors for the American Blockchain PAC.[6]


Stornetta was educated at Brigham Young University as an undergraduate, graduating with a Bachelor of Science|B.S. in Physics in 1983. From 1983 to 1986, Stornetta was awarded a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship.

Stornetta subsequently received his Doctor of Philosophy|PhD in physics from Stanford University in 1989. During his time at Stanford, he was an active member of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI).


In 1989, Stornetta began working as a scientific researcher at Bell Communications Research (Bellcore), where he met Stuart Haber, his future scientific partner and collaborator.

In 1994, Stornetta and Haber co-founded Surety Technologies, a spinoff of Bellcore. In 1995, Surety’s offering constituted the first commercial deployment of a blockchain and is currently the oldest running blockchain.[7]

In 2019, Stornetta and Haber delivered the keynote address at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics at the University of Chicago Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains Conference.[8] He also spoke in both the Distinguished Lecture Series at Virginia Tech|Virginia Tech University and the Decentralized Learning Series at the University of Nicosia.


Stornetta's research during his tenure at Bellcore, along with Stuart Haber, is widely considered to be the foundation for Bitcoin and other digital currencies.[9] Stornetta and Haber are the most cited authors in Satoshi Nakamoto’s original Bitcoin white paper, of the eight citations, three reference their work.[10]

Their 1991 paper "How to Time-Stamp a Digital Document” is where they first describe a digital hierarchy system called "Blockchain".[11] In this study, Stornetta and Haber sought to create mechanisms to create digital time stamps, offering a solution for maintaining the integrity of digital records and ensuring that they could not be modified or manipulated.

In 1992, Stornetta, Haber, and Dave Bayer incorporated Merkle trees into their design, improving its efficiency by allowing many document certificates to be collected into one block.[12][13][14]

Stornetta is a co-author of "Central Bank Digital Currencies and a Euro for the Future", a report published in June 2021 by the EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum.[15] The report addresses the latest trends and developments of digital currencies and discusses the future of blockchain in Europe and the rest of the world.


  1. Haber, Stuart; Stornetta, W. Scott (1991-01-01). "How to time-stamp a digital document". Journal of Cryptology. 3 (2): 99–111. doi:10.1007/BF00196791. ISSN 1432-1378.
  2. "1992 Discover Awards: Computer Software". Discover Magazine. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  3. Bambysheva, Nina. "Satoshi & Company: The 10 Most Important Scientific White Papers In Development Of Cryptocurrencies". Forbes. Retrieved 2022-02-28.
  4. "Scott Stornetta". Creative Destruction Lab. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  5. "Team". Yugen Partners. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  6. "Who We Are – American Blockchain PAC". 2021-11-10. Retrieved 2022-03-14.
  7. "The World's Oldest Blockchain Has Been Hiding in the New York Times Since 1995". www.vice.com. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  8. "Cryptocurrencies and Blockchains Conference". BFI. Retrieved 2022-02-23.
  9. "Stuart Haber and Scott Stornetta: How our timestamping mechanism was used in Bitcoin". CoinGeek. 2021-10-28. Retrieved 2022-03-14.
  10. Nakamoto, Satoshi. "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  11. Haber, Stuart; Stornetta, W. Scott (1991-01-01). "How to time-stamp a digital document". Journal of Cryptology. 3 (2): 99–111. doi:10.1007/BF00196791. ISSN 1432-1378.
  12. Narayanan, Arvind; Bonneau, Joseph; Felten, Edward W.; Miller, Andrew; Goldfeder, Steven; Clark, Jeremy (2016). Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies : a comprehensive introduction. Princeton, New Jersey. ISBN 978-0-691-17169-2. OCLC 948878724.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  13. Bayer, Dave; Haber, Stuart; Stornetta, W. Scott (1993), Capocelli, Renato; De Santis, Alfredo; Vaccaro, Ugo (eds.), "Improving the Efficiency and Reliability of Digital Time-Stamping", Sequences II, New York, NY: Springer New York, pp. 329–334, doi:10.1007/978-1-4613-9323-8_24, ISBN 978-1-4613-9325-2, retrieved 2022-03-08
  14. Narayanan, Arvind; Clark, Jeremy (2017-11-27). "Bitcoin's academic pedigree". Communications of the ACM. 60 (12): 36–45. doi:10.1145/3132259. ISSN 0001-0782.
  15. "Central Bank Digital Currencies and a Euro for the Future" (PDF). EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum. 5 June 2021. Retrieved 23 February 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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