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Author Topic: The Cypherpunks and Bitcoin. The years before bitcointalk.  (Read 148 times)
xtraelv
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May 30, 2018, 02:26:57 AM
Merited by qwk (3), Jet Cash (1)
 #1

Two publications brought electronic encryption into the public domain. (EDITED)
(The application of cryptography to computer data.)
The US government publication of the Data Encryption Standard and
Dr Whitfield Diffie and Dr Martin Hellmans public-key cryptography, "New Directions in Cryptography"

Prior to this electronic encryption was developed mainly by the military - in secret.
A lot of millitary research and early computer development revolved around the coding and code-breaking of war messages.
i.e. Arthur Scherbius' Enigma electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines and Alan Turing who worked at the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park, (Britain's codebreaking centre) who created the "Turing machine"  (A mathematical model of computation).

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".

In late 1992, Eric Hughes, Timothy C May, and John Gilmore founded a small group.  At one of the first meetings, Jude Milhon (a hacker and author better known by her pseudonym St. Jude) described the group as the “Cypherpunks”.


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

Quote
"Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something one doesn't want the whole world to know, but a secret matter is something one doesn't want anybody to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world."

The Cypherpunks mailing list was started in 1992, and by 1994 had 700 subscribers

Some notable Cypherpunks and their achievements:

Jacob Appelbaum: Tor developer
Julian Assange: Founder of WikiLeaks
Dr Adam Back: Inventor of Hashcash, co-founder of Blockstream
Wei Dai : creator of B-money
Bram Cohen: Creator of BitTorrent
Philip Zimmermann: Creator of PGP 1.0
Hal Finney: Main author of PGP 2.0, creator of Reusable Proof of Work
Tim Hudson: Co-author of SSLeay, the precursor to OpenSSL
Paul Kocher: Co-author of SSL 3.0
Moxie Marlinspike: Founder of Open Whisper Systems (developer of Signal)
Steven Schear: Creator of the concept of the "warrant canary"
Bruce Schneier: Well-known security author
Zooko Wilcox-O'Hearn: DigiCash developer, Founder of Zcash
Dr Pieter Wuille: authored BIP32, hierarchical deterministic (HD) wallets, which makes it much simpler for bitcoin wallets to manage addresses.
Peter Todd:  Stealth Addresses
Justus Ranvier:  BIP47
Justin Newton: BIP75 Out of Band Address Exchange
Gregory Maxwell: CoinJoin CoinSwap  
Chris Belcher: JoinMarket

In 1997, Dr Adam Back created Hashcash, which was designed as an anti-spam mechanism that would add time and computational cost to sending email, thus making spam uneconomical.

Later in 1998, Wei Dai published a proposal for "b-money", a practical way to enforce contractual agreements between anonymous parties.

In 2004, Hal Finney  created reusable proof of work (RPOW), which built on Back's Hashcash.

Bitcoin uses the Hashcash “proof of work (POW)” concept while quite a few other cryptocurrencies have implemented a variant known as "proof of stake" (POS).

Nick Szabo published a proposal for "bit gold" in 2005 – a digital collectible that built upon Finney's RPOW proposal.

Finally, in 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for a still-unidentified individual or individuals, published the bitcoin whitepaper, citing both hashcash and b-money.  Satoshi emailed Wei Dai directly and mentioned that he learned about b-money from Dr Back.

Cypherpunks are pro open-source
Cypherpunks Anti-License (CPL)
The CPL is written from a mindset which derides the very concept of Intellectual Property restrictions as being incompatible with a free society.


Sources:
https://www.cryptocompare.com/coins/guides/who-are-the-cypherpunks/
https://medium.com/swlh/the-untold-history-of-bitcoin-enter-the-cypherpunks-f764dee962a1
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypherpunk
https://blockonomi.com/cryptography-cypherpunks/
https://itsblockchain.com/cypherpunk/
https://www.coindesk.com/the-rise-of-the-cypherpunks/

Further reading:
http://projects.csmonitor.com/cypherpunk

This is a work in progress - I intend to edit it to include more links and information. Corrections, additions and comments are welcomed.

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May 30, 2018, 03:28:36 PM
Merited by xtraelv (1)
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Two publications brought cryptography into the public domain.
The US government publication of the Data Encryption Standard and
Dr Whitfield Diffie and Dr Martin Hellmans public-key cryptography, "New Directions in Cryptography"

Prior to this Cryptography was a military secret.


Beg you pardon but...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_cipher

and it has been used in business for many centuries. Why do people tend to think that the world was born with them?

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May 30, 2018, 04:56:35 PM
Merited by xtraelv (1)
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--snip--

Prior to this Cryptography was a military secret.


Beg you pardon but...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_cipher

and it has been used in business for many centuries. Why do people tend to think that the world was born with them?


You are probably pointing to the fact that "encryption" was well known and not so much a military secret. Encryption achieved by mechanical methods or simple juggling techniques surely existed but the techniques of cryptography in electronic communication is something that wasn't publicly known.
If a method could be intercepted, it could be interpreted. A lot of millitary research and early computer development revolved around the coding and code-breaking of war messages. Enigma and Alan Turing come to mind.

These techniques evolved much more and were pretty much secret till the cypherpunk movement decided that normal individuals should have access to privacy and encryption techniques which would be as powerful as those employed by the government agencies.


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June 01, 2018, 03:12:10 AM
 #4

--snip--

Prior to this Cryptography was a military secret.


Beg you pardon but...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesar_cipher

and it has been used in business for many centuries. Why do people tend to think that the world was born with them?


You are probably pointing to the fact that "encryption" was well known and not so much a military secret. Encryption achieved by mechanical methods or simple juggling techniques surely existed but the techniques of cryptography in electronic communication is something that wasn't publicly known.
If a method could be intercepted, it could be interpreted. A lot of millitary research and early computer development revolved around the coding and code-breaking of war messages. Enigma and Alan Turing come to mind.

These techniques evolved much more and were pretty much secret till the cypherpunk movement decided that normal individuals should have access to privacy and encryption techniques which would be as powerful as those employed by the government agencies.

paxmao and amishmanish

Thank you for pointing this out. I've updated the post to reflect your corrections. I've also added a link to a great post by subvolatil

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