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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Tim May, Father of Crypto Anarchy, Is Dead at 67

By: Jim Epstein
Reason

Photo: CoinSpice

Tim May, co-founder of the influential Cypherpunks mailing list and a significant influence on both bitcoin and WikiLeaks, passed away last week at his home in Corralitos, California.

The news was announced Saturday on a Facebook post written by his friend Lucky Green.

In his influential 1992 essay, "The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto," May predicted that advances in computer technology would eventually allow "individuals and groups to communicate and interact with each other" anonymously and without government intrusion. "These developments will alter completely the nature of government regulation [and] the ability to tax and control economic interactions," he wrote.

A deeply private person, May's aversion to outside intrusions defined his philosophical outlook.

"'Leave me alone,'" he wrote, is "at the root of libertarianism more so than formal theories about the nature of man."

"My political philosophy is keep your hands off my stuff....Out of my files, out of my office, off what I eat, drink, and smoke," he once told journalist Andy Greenberg.

Read more at Reason.



The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto


A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of crypto anarchy.

Computer technology is on the verge of providing the ability for individuals and groups to communicate and interact with each other in a totally anonymous manner.

Two persons may exchange messages, conduct business, and negotiate electronic contracts without ever knowing the True Name, or legal identity, of the other.

Interactions over networks will be untraceable, via extensive re-routing of encrypted packets and tamper-proof boxes which implement cryptographic protocols with nearly perfect assurance against any tampering.

Reputations will be of central importance, far more important in dealings than even the credit ratings of today.

These developments will alter completely the nature of government regulation, the ability to tax and control economic interactions, the ability to keep information secret, and will even alter the nature of trust and reputation.

The technology for this revolution--and it surely will be both a social and economic revolution--has existed in theory for the past decade. The methods are based upon public-key encryption, zero-knowledge interactive proof systems, and various software protocols for interaction, authentication, and verification.

The focus has until now been on academic conferences in Europe and the U.S., conferences monitored closely by the National Security Agency. But only recently have computer networks and personal computers attained sufficient speed to make the ideas practically realizable.

And the next ten years will bring enough additional speed to make the ideas economically feasible and essentially unstoppable.

High-speed networks, ISDN, tamper-proof boxes, smart cards, satellites, Ku-band transmitters, multi-MIPS personal computers, and encryption chips now under development will be some of the enabling technologies.

The State will of course try to slow or halt the spread of this technology, citing national security concerns, use of the technology by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of societal disintegration. Many of these concerns will be valid; crypto anarchy will allow national secrets to be traded freely and will allow illicit and stolen materials to be traded.

An anonymous computerized market will even make possible abhorrent markets for assassinations and extortion. Various criminal and foreign elements will be active users of CryptoNet. But this will not halt the spread of crypto anarchy.

Just as the technology of printing altered and reduced the power of medieval guilds and the social power structure, so too will cryptologic methods fundamentally alter the nature of corporations and of government interference in economic transactions.

Combined with emerging information markets, crypto anarchy will create a liquid market for any and all material which can be put into words and pictures.

And just as a seemingly minor invention like barbed wire made possible the fencing-off of vast ranches and farms, thus altering forever the concepts of land and property rights in the frontier West, so too will the seemingly minor discovery out of an arcane branch of mathematics come to be the wire clippers which dismantle the barbed wire around intellectual property.

Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!


(THL) RIP, Tim.

Further reading:
A Declaration of The Independence of Cyberspace
Smartest Guy In The World Says Bitcoin Is Evil
How Gold Became Money and Why Bitcoin Is Like Gold

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