News - The rebellious cypherpunks: without them there would be no Bitcoin

By Mike Hesp

The rebellious cypherpunks: without them there would be no Bitcoin

Bitcoin (BTC)

30 years ago, a revolt began out of which Bitcoin emerged - against Big Brother and the state. Their pioneers are now being honored with art.

Bitcoin saw the light of day in 2009. The invention of Satoshi Nakamoto, the secret inventor behind it, was a big bang that changed the nature of digital currencies forever. His vision, a utopia: a financial system without banks. Uncontrollable. Complete transparency. Within a few years, it spread like wildfire across the net. But the origins of many of the ideas go back much further, to the 1980s, to a group of anarchists, hackers, do-gooders - the Cypherpunks. "Rebels with a mission," the tech magazine Wired once called them. Starting today, in the Swiss Bitcoin stronghold of Lugano, these tech visionaries will be celebrated with a personal exhibition.

Twelve of the most important masterminds are honored with their own portrait paintings. They were created by renowned Austrian artist Oskar Stocker. Among them: Julian Assange, Bram Crohen and important Bitcoin pioneers like Nick Szabo and Adam Back. They were all cypherphunks, mostly from the beginning. And often they still are today.

A brief history of cypherpunks

The movement originated in San Francisco starting in 1992. A year later, there were regular meetings, a growing mailing list and a manifesto still considered the bible of hackers: "A Cypherphunks Manifesto," published by Eric Hughes in 1993. In it he writes:

Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy. A private thing is something you don't want the whole world to know, but a secret thing is something you don't want anyone to know at all. Privacy is the power to selectively reveal yourself to the world.

Eric Hughes

It is a declaration of war. To Big Brother and the American state, using code and especially: cryptography, encrypting data. Also part of this vision: digital money. Over the years, various designs for it were tested, ideas shared and passed around until Satoshi Nakamoto brought a number of them together in his white paper in 2009 - to form a new concept: Bitcoin.

In the obsessive circling of shooting up and down crypto prices and Bitcoin spot ETF fantasies, is now increasingly lost on what Bitcoin was actually about: the rebellion that began with the cypherpunks. Not about wealth. But the preservation of essential human rights. Privacy. Freedom. Equality. In the form of a new digital money. Fairer, better, open, private - for everyone.

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