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Author Topic: [2016-04-10]Bitcoin and the Rise of the CypherpunksFrom bitcoin to blockchain to  (Read 207 times)
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April 10, 2016, 11:52:34 AM

From bitcoin to blockchain to distributed ledgers, the cryptocurrency space is fast evolving, to the point where it can be difficult to see in which direction it's headed.

But, we're not without clues. While many of the innovations in the space are new, they're built on decades of work that led to this point. By tracing this history, we can understand the motivations behind the movement that spawned bitcoin and share its vision for the future.

Before the 1970s, cryptography was primarily practiced in secret by military or spy agencies. But, that changed when two publications brought it into the open: the US government publication of the Data Encryption Standard and the first publicly available work on public-key cryptography, "New Directions in Cryptography" by Dr Whitfield Diffie and Dr Martin Hellman.

In the 1980s, Dr David Chaum wrote extensively on topics such as anonymous digital cash and pseudonymous reputation systems, which he described in his paper "Security without Identification: Transaction Systems to Make Big Brother Obsolete".

Over the next several years, these ideas coalesced into a movement.

In late 1992, Eric Hughes, Timothy C May, and John Gilmore founded a small group that met monthly at Gilmore's company Cygnus Solutions in the San Francisco Bay Area. The group was humorously termed “cypherpunks” as a derivation of “cipher” and “cyberpunk.”

The Cypherpunks mailing list was formed at about the same time, and just a few months later, Eric Hughes published "A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto".

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