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Author Topic: The Cypherpunks and Bitcoin. The years before bitcointalk.  (Read 624 times)
xtraelv
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May 30, 2018, 02:26:57 AM
Last edit: June 04, 2018, 10:47:07 PM by xtraelv
Merited by suchmoon (4), chimk (4), qwk (3), JayJuanGee (1), BitcoinFX (1), ETFbitcoin (1), Jet Cash (1), buwaytress (1), hugeblack (1), iasenko (1), fillippone (1), VB1001 (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.

Contributions:
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May 30, 2018, 03:28:36 PM
Merited by JayJuanGee (1), xtraelv (1)
 #2

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 JayJuanGee (1), xtraelv (1)
 #3

--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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September 05, 2018, 06:07:05 AM
 #5

Thank you for this small gem. I know very few of these guys well enough, recalling that actually my very first knowledge of Bitcoin was because of its cypherpunk roots and somewhat anarchist ideals (noting that today there is no defining philosophy for Bitcoin).

I know this is about the years before bitcointalk, but I wonder if it's also worth mentioning those active today in promoting the same ideals as those in the list. Always first on my list would be Amir Taaki, for example. His very active work in Syria encouraging Bitcoin economies and work on open-source tech, plus his former (or current?) links to Dark Wallet.

A lot of people find him detestable, I know, and he seems erratic in his messages but hey, so few in Bitcoin have ever been ideologically consistent.

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September 05, 2018, 05:56:54 PM
 #6

Thank you for this small gem. I know very few of these guys well enough, recalling that actually my very first knowledge of Bitcoin was because of its cypherpunk roots and somewhat anarchist ideals (noting that today there is no defining philosophy for Bitcoin).

I know this is about the years before bitcointalk, but I wonder if it's also worth mentioning those active today in promoting the same ideals as those in the list. Always first on my list would be Amir Taaki, for example. His very active work in Syria encouraging Bitcoin economies and work on open-source tech, plus his former (or current?) links to Dark Wallet.

A lot of people find him detestable, I know, and he seems erratic in his messages but hey, so few in Bitcoin have ever been ideologically consistent.

Money and age changes people. There are a lot of pressures on ideals. Especially when there is a balance between running a successful business employing many people and serving many customers - and some of those ideals - if applied to your business can shut it down and result in incarceration.

A lot of the early people involved in bitcoin started businesses involving bitcoin. The stick that legislation wields is a motive to compromise on ideals for some people.

I've seen active idealistic environmental lawyers turn into corporate raiders and investing in open cast gold mines.

But there are also still many that have retained their ideals. Usually they have not gained great wealth.

We are surrounded by legends on this forum. Phenomenal successes and catastrophic failures. Then there are the scams. This forum is a digital museum.  
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September 05, 2018, 08:02:42 PM
 #7

No doubt there was already pockets of individuals discussing topics that may have eventually lead up to blockchain technology. There are people who know who Satoshi is, people who he surely consulted with when developing the conceptus behind the technology. Just like there are niche groups in society, there must have been a super small niche surround Satoshi Nakamoto as it is unlikely he developed and released the entire thing without even seeking any advice or having a target audience to cater to.

 
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September 06, 2018, 02:55:37 AM
 #8

No doubt there was already pockets of individuals discussing topics that may have eventually lead up to blockchain technology. There are people who know who Satoshi is, people who he surely consulted with when developing the conceptus behind the technology. Just like there are niche groups in society, there must have been a super small niche surround Satoshi Nakamoto as it is unlikely he developed and released the entire thing without even seeking any advice or having a target audience to cater to.

In this day and age when dealing with people on the internet often friendships can be formed based on a username, real name or alt without actually meeting those people. Often due to geographical distances.

There are numerous people that I consider friends - good friends - that I have never met. Some of whom I don't really know their identity other than their username.

Of course there are people out there that "catfish". But in privacy oriented fields of discussion there are really good reasons to remain anonymous.

Something I have become more aware of since venturing into the world of bitcoin.

Phil Zimmermann was subjected to a two year criminal investigation for allegedly violating the Arms Export Control Act by disclosing PGP protocol.

I think Satoshi was careful not to disclose his identity.  I think people close to him suspect who he is but are not certain.

They can never be forced to disclose his identity because they are not certain.








 

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September 06, 2018, 04:08:48 PM
Merited by JayJuanGee (1)
 #9

Thank you for this small gem. I know very few of these guys well enough, recalling that actually my very first knowledge of Bitcoin was because of its cypherpunk roots and somewhat anarchist ideals (noting that today there is no defining philosophy for Bitcoin).

I know this is about the years before bitcointalk, but I wonder if it's also worth mentioning those active today in promoting the same ideals as those in the list. Always first on my list would be Amir Taaki, for example. His very active work in Syria encouraging Bitcoin economies and work on open-source tech, plus his former (or current?) links to Dark Wallet.

A lot of people find him detestable, I know, and he seems erratic in his messages but hey, so few in Bitcoin have ever been ideologically consistent.

Money and age changes people. There are a lot of pressures on ideals. Especially when there is a balance between running a successful business employing many people and serving many customers - and some of those ideals - if applied to your business can shut it down and result in incarceration.

A lot of the early people involved in bitcoin started businesses involving bitcoin. The stick that legislation wields is a motive to compromise on ideals for some people.

I've seen active idealistic environmental lawyers turn into corporate raiders and investing in open cast gold mines.

But there are also still many that have retained their ideals. Usually they have not gained great wealth.

Indeed. And it would be foolish to rate someone's contribution - past and present - only on their ability to hold steadfast to some ideal imagined to be set in stone. I've worked plenty myself to know that ideals don't need martyrs to propagate. This space can sometimes be unforgiving in that sense, almost as if you have to be a purist to gain respect.

Speaking of ideal retainers who have not gained great wealth, Andreas Antonopoulos always comes first to mind. Bitcoin past, present and surely future, and yet derided by some for not having secured his own financial future from his subject of livelihood.

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January 19, 2019, 12:22:19 AM
 #10

Was anyone else here using the "C2.org" anonymous re mailers and such? I did... Funny times. Telnet, College FTP servers.... Black and white/No GUI internet dialup into a Digital Equipment Corp VAX server at the local library with nothing but Lynx as a browser.... Cheesy

Usenet downloads of porn pictures that were 20x bigger than my monitor.... Converting giant globs of text thru DOS binaries to uudecode the attachments. Oh life was grand. Especially if you had unix shell access... Wink

Cool topic Extraelv, keep up the good work! Cheesy
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September 08, 2019, 02:53:41 PM
 #11

A small contribution about cypherpunks on spanish
https://servisaberlo.com/articulos-5000-palabras/cypherpunks-definicion/
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November 15, 2019, 09:42:32 AM
 #12

Having seen this gem of a thread bumped in a while so giving it a little bump. Also, @xtralv - Have you paid for advertising this thread through bitcointalk adds or theymos is doing it himself? Noticed it a couple of times on the banner section today.

Also, this book by Julian Assange is a good read:https://www.amazon.com/Cypherpunks-Freedom-Internet-Julian-Assange/dp/1944869085


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November 15, 2019, 12:18:27 PM
 #13

This is indeed an amazing journey. Its really amazing to see how it all started just like not knowing it will become this big time now. Its a matter of time and how it was used to make it profitable. What we do now will also lead to the improvements in the future. We cannot say that what we have now is already what it is. There's always people, effort and time involved to achieve or to get into what we can be. Bitcointalk is maybe a simple thing for some people today. Imagine how it will be in the future.

 
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November 15, 2019, 03:22:05 PM
 #14

I did not know about it, thank you for the information provided.
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November 15, 2019, 03:34:42 PM
 #15

Cipher can be around for many many hundreds years but it’s only coming to the limelight in the last few years which totally get me caught unexpected, it should be all the contribution to everyone sparing their free time for a project that doesn’t really have a place in the life for most people, seriously it is a worthless project from its infancy.

Self hating nerd that want to escape from reality into the cyberpunk.
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November 16, 2019, 12:47:54 PM
 #16

Hi, would recommend adding https://www.metzdowd.com/pipermail/cryptography/ to your list.

It contains the archived mailing list history and provides great insights into the early days of the movement.


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amishmanish
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November 23, 2019, 12:39:59 PM
 #17

Having seen this gem of a thread bumped in a while so giving it a little bump. Also, @xtralv - Have you paid for advertising this thread through bitcointalk adds or theymos is doing it himself? Noticed it a couple of times on the banner section today.

Also, this book by Julian Assange is a good read:https://www.amazon.com/Cypherpunks-Freedom-Internet-Julian-Assange/dp/1944869085

Theymos started a thread where anybody could share a caption and the most iconic posts in the last 10 years. I think he has randomed the ads section to contain one of those captioned posts.
Here is the link to all of those captioned posts:
https://bitcointalk.org/captions.php?info
hatshepsut93
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November 23, 2019, 02:04:27 PM
 #18

If someone really wants to find Satoshi, then the Cypherpunks mailing list is their main place for looking, there's very-very high chance that they were a member of this list for a long time, and then just assumed a new identity when they have published Bitcoin. Perhaps someone can try using machine learning to analyze the writing style of Satoshi and match it against the members of the mailing list. If there's enough data for it, it might actually work by producing a good list of candidates.

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