Satoshi Revolution – Chapter 2: Technology Meets Anarchy. Both Profit (Part 2)


The Satoshi Revolution: A Revolution of Rising Expectations.
Section 1: The Trusted Third Party Problem
Chapter 2: Monetary Theory
by Wendy McElroy

Technology Meets Anarchy. Both Profit (Chapter 2, Part 2)

Bitcoin is the catalyst for peaceful anarchy and freedom. It was built as a reaction against corrupt governments and financial institutions. It was not solely created for the sake of improving financial technology. But some people adulterate this truth. In reality, Bitcoin was meant to function as a monetary weapon, as a cryptocurrency poised to undermine authority. Now it is whitewashed. It is seen as a polite and unassuming technology in order to appease politicians, banksters, and soccer moms. Its purpose is sometimes concealed in order to make the tech palatable to the unwashed masses and power elite. However, no one should forget or deny why the protocol was written.–Sterlin Lujan


Technology Meets Anarchy. Both Profit.

Cryptocurrency was not created to make money; the blockchain was not forged to render banking more efficient. The core developers did not use open source or eschew patents because they were proprietary or wanted to reap a fortune. They wanted privacy and freedom to be available without cost to all. Anyone who believes Bitcoin was designed for financial gain knows nothing about its history or the idealism built into its algorithms. Profiting from cryptocurrency and using blockchains to economic advantage are laudable by-products, but Bitcoin was conceived as a vehicle for creating political and social change by empowering individuals and weakening government. The developers were revolutionaries. Bitcoin was a blast of rebellion.

It came not a moment too soon. The galloping growth of the Internet gave government an incredible weapon against which individuals would have had scant protection without cryptography, the art of secret communication.


The Radical History of Bitcoin

Before Satoshi, there was the engineer and scientist Timothy C. May to whom Bitcoin is sometimes traced. May’s “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto” (1988) first appeared when it was distributed to a few techno-anarchists at the Crypto ’88 conference. The six-paragraph manifesto called for a computer technology based on cryptographic protocols which would “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….But only recently have computer networks and personal computers attained sufficient speed to make the ideas practically realizable.”

The manifesto ended with a cry to arms, “Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!” The “barbed wire” reference is quintessentially American. It evokes images of land out West being sectioned off by sharp fences that were snipped apart by cowboys who demanded an open landscape.

Even in 1988, May could draw upon crypto-history. In the mid-1970s, cryptography ceased to be the nearly-exclusive domain of military and intelligence agencies who operated in secrecy. The academic research that surged forward was openly shared. One event in particular broke government’s grip on the field. In 1975, computer guru Whitfield Diffie and electrical engineering professor Martin Hellman invented public-key encryption and published their results the next year in the essay “New Directions in Cryptography.” (Arguably, the public key was a re-invention as the British had developed “nonsecret encryption” in 1973 but chose to be silent on the subject, as governments generally do.) In 1977, cryptographers Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir and Leonard Adleman created the RSA encryption algorithm, which was one of the first practical public-key systems.

Public-key encryption hit the computer community like an explosion. It is brilliant in its simplicity. Every user has two keys – a public and a private one – both of which are unique. The public key scrambles the text of a message which can be unscrambled only by the private key. The public key can be thrown to the wind but the private one is closely guarded. The result is close to impenetrable privacy.

Diffie had been inspired by the trusted third party problem. The book “High Noon on the Electronic Frontier: Conceptual Issues in Cyberspace” (1996) quoted him as saying, “You may have protected files, but if a subpoena was served to the system manager, it wouldn’t do you any good. The administrators would sell you out, because they’d have no interest in going to…

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