Sypherpunks and roots of Bitcoin
Bitcoin has a long history, even before Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper. BTCMEX dives back into ’80s to look at Crypto Anarchy and the roots of Bitcoin.
Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin whitepaper in 2008, but much earlier before that an ideological movement Crypto Anarchy started. The basis of digital currency and peer-to-peer payment system lies within the philosophies of the Cypherpunks.
The word Cypherpunk derives from cipher and cyberpunk and refers to a group of activists advocating for the use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technology as a route to social and political change. The movement started in the late 1980s and flourished in the ’90s leading to the creation of Bitcoin – the first successful cryptocurrency.
The idea of the movement is expressed in “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto” – written by founding member Eric Hughes in 1993.
“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.”
These are the words that shaped the idea of anonymous transactions behind modern cryptocurrencies.
The Cypherpunk’s word spread worldwide and resulted in a mailing list. The mailing list incorporated the early Internet and email. The mailing list grew in numbers. Well-known figures such as Julian Assange, Hal Finney and Adam Beck all joined the movement.
The first attempt at creating an anonymous transacting system was made by Dr. Adam Back, who designed HashCash in 1997. In the following year, Wei Dai published a proposal for B-Money. Both Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake transaction verification systems find their roots in these two inventions.
Later in 2004, Hal Finney introduced Reusable Proof-of-Work, and in 2005 Nick Szabo published a proposal for BitGold. As can be seen, various people from across the world have been working tirelessly on the blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies since the 1990s.
In October 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown individual or group of individuals, sent a Bitcoin whitepaper to the cypherpunk mailing list at metzdowd.com. The paper attracted a lot of criticism from skeptics, but Nakamoto continued until the Genesis Block of Bitcoin was mined on 3 January 2009.