Bitcoin, what took ye gwern bitcoin exchange long? So asks gwern in a spectacular display of hindsight.
Bitcoin ideas were nowhere remotely close to being as obvious gwern suggests. While the security technology is very far from trivial, the “why” was by far the biggest stumbling block — nearly everybody who heard the general idea thought it was a very bad idea. The “why” requires coming to an accurate understanding of the nature of two difficult and almost always misunderstood topics, namely trust and the nature of money. The overlap between cryptographic experts and libertarians who might sympathize with such a “gold bug” idea is already rather small, since most cryptographic experts earn their living in academia and share its political biases.