The IRC protocol was developed over the last 4 years since it was first implemented as a means for users on a BBS to chat amongst themselves. Now it supports a world-wide network of servers and clients, and is stringing to cope with growth. Over the past 2 years, the average number of users connected to the main IRC network has grown by a factor of 10.
– J. Oikarinen, D. Reed; Internet Relay Chat Protocol; RFC 1459; May 1993.
Who invented Internet Relay Chat? IRC was invented by Jarkko Oikarinen for use on the Internet in 1988. However, there has also been an interesting history to the development of distributed chat communications that goes back to the early 1970’s. The following subsections provide more information:
Other resources. The BITNET network also provided a real-time chat system called Relay.