Bitcoin has a deep history in cryptography and the cypherpunk movement of the 90’s.


An advanced supporting well-known use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political change is Cypherpunk.

Originally communicating through the Cypherpunks electronic mailing list, informal groups expected to achieve privacy and security through proactive use of cryptography.

Cypherpunks have been involved in an active movement since the late 1980s, seriously influenced by the hacker practice and by libertarian ideas. Many cypherpunks were pretty active in the strong political and legal controversies around cryptography of the 90s, and most have remained active into the 21st century.

Do not get confused with Cyberpunk. An advanced person who use encryption when accessing a computer network in order to ensure privacy, especially from government authorities.

Cypherpunks are advanced users who support the use of cryptographic technology to encourage freedom and uproot social and political change.

“Privacy is Necessary for an Open Society in the Electronic Age” — The Cypherpunk Manifesto, Eric Hughes, 1993

“If govt. can’t crack encryption, then people are walking around ‘with a Swiss bank account in their pocket’.” Obama

Cypherpunks have confidence in that privacy is an essential right of every human, including privacy from governments. They understand that the weakening of a system’s security for any reason, including access by “trusted authorities”, makes the system insecure for everyone who uses it.

Cypherpunks write code, they know that somebody has to write software to protect privacy, and therefore they take up the task. They distribute their code so that related Cypherpunks might learn from it and take benefit from it, attack it and improve upon it. Their code is free for anyone to use. Cypherpunks don’t care if you don’t approve of the software they write. They know that software can’t be damaged and that extensively spread systems can’t be shut down.

Several individuals are familiar with the hacker or cyberpunk subgroup that has jumped from the formation of the Internet and the advancement of the information age. Less well known are some of the smaller groups that make up the larger cyberpunk subgroups, such as cypherpunk, which combines the term “cryptograph,” to show the interest in cryptography, with punk, to indicate a certain disregard for authority. “Cypherpunk” can be used interchangeably to refer to either individual activists or to an overall philosophy. Primarily, cypherpunks support the use of cryptography as a tool for the protection of groups and individuals in a world where personal information has become more and more easily reachable. Cypherpunks also promote the use of technology and cryptology as a means to effect political change.

The cypherpunk movement began as a roughly connected group in the late 1980s and early ’90s that communicated primarily through online mailing lists. It was seriously influenced by the hacker subgroup, the rising concern over personal civil rights and the disturbing consequences of government monitoring. This made the cypherpunk movement one of the first to recognize the growing issue of online privacy. To address these concerns, cypherpunks placed a large importance on the execution of technology that supports their agenda, such as private encryption for secure anonymous networks, email, web browsing and financial transactions.

It has been said many times: the decentralized cryptocurrency bitcoin was born from the open-minded ideas of the cypherpunk movement. Just recently Bitcoin.com chatted with cypherpunk Steve Schear, interim Chief Operating Officer at Stash Crypto, to discuss the history of this movement and the emerging technologies pushing it forward.

“Cypherpunks is gripping, vital reading, explaining clearly the way in which corporate and government control of the internet poses a fundamental threat to our freedom and democracy.”
Oliver Stone

Cypherpunk, a word that appeared in Eric Hughes’ “A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto” in 1993, combines the ideas of cyberpunk, the spirit of individualism in cyberspace, with the use of solid encryption (ciphertext is encrypted text) to preserve privacy. Cypherpunk advocates believe that the use of strong encryption algorithms will enable individuals to have safely private transactions and keep their privacy. They oppose any kind of government regulation of cryptography. They admit the likelihood that criminals and terrorists will damage the use of strong encryption systems, but accept the risk as the price to be paid for the individual’s right to privacy.