The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto – Cyphernomicon

(Wikipedia) Cyphernomicon is a document written by Timothy C. May in 1994 for the cypherpunks mailing list. It outlines some ideas behind, and the effects of crypto-anarchism,[1] and constitutes one of the philosophy’s founding documents.

The document is written and formatted as a lengthy FAQ. It contains many short notes on ideas, questions and claims ordered in sections. It also contains the crypto anarchist manifesto, in paragraph 16.4.2. …

            The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto

            Timothy  C.  May

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

            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

            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 trade
            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

            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!

Read Cyphernomicon:

1 comment
  1. Reblogged this on BITCOINSTAR and commented:
    One of my favorite passages ever written. Thank you, May….and Co. of course.


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