A few words about Cypherpunks
Do not underestimate the importance of this group of enthusiasts for the cryptoworld. Surely, they were the beginning of the modern era of cryptography, the rapid growth of which we can see now.
The topic of privacy and encryption has always interested specialists and scientists. Modern cryptography was born during the Second World War, as a response to the widespread use of radio. By the time this technology became so popular that small radio stations had become a nightmare for secret military conversations. The United States and Britain began to use the developed mechanisms of encryption and coding, the technology was improved after the war. In the 1970s, the idea of public key encryption appeared on the basis of mathematical calculations. But the real development of cryptography was precisely with the emergence of a network that connects thousands of computers around the world — the Internet.
By this time, the issue of privacy was not only interested in government officials involved in security matters, but also ordinary Internet users, as well as computer specialists. The ideas of the 80s about a secure network were to become a reality. At the end of 1992, a group of people called themselves “Cypherpunk” (Cypherpunks), using the words “cypher” and “cyberpunk” — a genre of fiction, which described the technological society of the future. They were people of different professions — Eric Hughes, mathematician, Tim May, businessman, Jude Milhon, hacker, John Gilmore, computer scientist and Sunmicrosystems employee, and their friends . These people disagreed with the government’s desire to gain full control over the Internet and use cyberspace for their own purposes. Thanks to Philip Zimmermann, the PGP program appeared, which provided military-grade encryption capabilities for ordinary people to work with regular documents and e-mail. In order to convey their ideas to other cryptography enthusiasts, the group began to issue regular mailings. Cypherpunks always put confidentiality and personal freedom above any arguments.
In 1993, the “Cypherpunk manifesto” was released, in which the main ideas of the group, their principles, which are still relevant today, were presented.
“Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private matter is something that does not want the whole world to know. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world. “
Cypherpunks are responsible for the appearance of HashCash, an algorithm for creating blocks, based on verifying the real computing work of the equipment. In 1997, this algorithm was developed to protect electronic correspondence from spam. The idea was to attach a certain “stamp” to the email, that a certain capacity of the computer was spent to send an email, which would make the sending of spam costly and slow. The next year, the concept of the electronic currency B-Money was invented. Then the idea of the POS algorithm appeared. In 2001, Bram Cohen created the P2P protocol and wrote the first BitTorrent client program. The main purpose was to make it possible to download files from different sources simultaneously, speeding up the download time. It is this technology that underlies the modern system of file exchange through torrents.
Many members of the group were opposed to the government. Not all liked their ideology, the dissenting members of the intellectual community invented new ways of hacking their ciphers, and cypherpunks created new methods of encryption in order to protect their own ideas.
It was in the company of the cypherpunks that a person (or a group of people) appeared, known as Satoshi Nakamoto. The theme of the mystery of this person still gives rise to many rumors and speculations. In 2008, he published a document called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Despite numerous criticisms, in 2009 the first Bitcoin block was produced.
It is thanks to the cypherpunks that we are obliged to the appearance of modern encryption systems available to the public, the existence of crypto-currencies, as well as to the very idea of crypto-revolution and privacy in the network. And also the ideas of cyberpunk, which today have become a reality.
Original article: https://medium.com/@BitWhite/a-few-words-about-cypherpunks-c23e3f5ae68a