Who are the CypherPunks?

11 Feb 2015

Digital signature, key, transactions, stamp, hash, senderThe origins of Bitcoin can be traced to the CypherPunk movement.

The Cypher punk movement started arguably on the back of work by David Chaum – one of the usual suspects to be Satoshi Nakomoto.

David Chaum published a paper in 1985 discussing anonymous digital cash and pseudonymous reputation protocols – Security without Identification: Transaction Systems to Make Big Brother Obsolete.

The original group of Cypherpunks met in 1992 in San Francisco. This then grew into a global mailing list with over 700 members. The set of topics amalgamated mathematics, cryptography, politics and philosophy and computer science.

The main tenets of the movement can be gleamed from a quote by Eric Hughes in his Cypherpunk’s manifesto of 1993:

Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age...

We cannot expect governments, corporations, or other large, faceless organizations to grant us privacy...

We must defend our own privacy if we expect to have any...

Cypherpunks write code. We know that someone has to write software to defend privacy, and ... we're going to write it...

The Cypherpunk mailing list gradually evolved into different forms – for example anonymous and Cryptoparty , but the same underlying libertarian beliefs of rights to privacy and anonymity remained in various forms.

Satoshi Nakomoto release his Bitcoin paper on one of these groups – the cryptography mailing list at Metzdowd.com in November 2008 - and published the Bitcoin software soon after on January the third 2009.

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