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Why We Need Cryptopunks


John Gilmore is one of the most important rebels in our history.

Gilmore, in the early 1990s started a small, informal discussion group at his office, Cygnus Solutions. It met in the San Francisco Bay Area. The topic of the discussion was formalized as digital privacy. Informally, they were on a mission to destroy the government.

The secret gathering of minds included Eric Hughes, Timothy C. May and other radical geniuses. They saw two possible outcomes for the Internet.

In the first scenario the government could spy on anyone at any time: it would be a dystopia of Orwellian proportions where there would be no privacy on the Internet and the right to free speech would slowly disappear.

In the second scenario the privacy of citizens would be protected. This would allow for free speech and secure financial transactions on the internet, which is good for the economy and business.

You have two choices: dystopia, or utopia. The key was Public cryptography.

Since 3,000 BC, cryptography has been used to protect military communications. Julius Ceasar was a Spartan, while the Nazis also used it. The watershed moment was in 1976 when this math paper revealed the…

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