If you go to the P2P forum where Satoshi Nakamoto first announced the Bitcoin project – https://p2pfoundation.ning.com/forum/topics/bitcoin-open-source – you will see that there a nearly instant interest in the project from two guys.
1. Is Sepp Hasslberger https://p2pfoundation.ning.com/profile/Sepp
2. Joerg Baach https://p2pfoundation.ning.com/profile/JoergBaach
What is very interesting about this person is that you can see that on his profile page he is linking a project called https://opencoin.org/
Here is a little excerpt from the website:
”open source electronic cash
The opencoin project is about “digital cash”. We develop a protocol to use the original idea of electronic cash in daily life. For this we also develop a system consisting of minting software, wallet software and everything that is necessary to have a system for anonymous electronic transactions.
opencoin defines standards and provides an implementation around the blind-signature system as invented by David Chaum, known as electronic cash / digicash. The software and specs are Open-Source under a GPL License.
See also: what is opencoin?
In 2008, we created a first draft of the protocol, which was reviewed by our crypto experts, and no obvious flaws were found. A legal report documents how an opencoin system could be used within the EU. We had also created some sample implementations (including a S60 mobile client ), mostly to test the protocol and as a proof of concept.”
Notice how they started the project before Bitcoin was launched.
When you click on ”what is opencoin” link it is being compared to Bitcoin.