What: A movement that started in 1992 by Tim May, John Gilmore, and Eric Hughes consisting of an informal group of programmers with libertarian leanings. May (author of the “”Crypto Anarchist Manifesto“) was influenced by Ayn Rand, Milton Friedman, and Murray Rothbard who co-founded the Mises Institute.

Why: Cypherpunks believe widespread cryptography (such as public key cryptography) helps protect an individual’s anonymity in a “digital society” In May 1975 that concept became a reality when Whitfield Diffie and Martin Hellman created public-key cryptography which started a wave of security innovation with the formation of RSA, PGP, and eventually Bitcoin. They “foresaw the day when people would be not only communicating electronically, but conducting business that way as well. They would need the digital equivalent of contracts and notarized statements.” (R1)


Pic: Photo by Michael Geiger on Unsplash

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