Profile picture
Alex Hardy 🦊🦔 @CantHardyWait
, 16 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
Recently finished "This Machine Kills Secrets" by Andy Greenberg (2012). It provides a fantastic primer of the cypherpunk movement.

It's impossible to understand Bitcoin without context of the cypherpunk movement, and this book is good place to start.

amazon.com/This-Machine-K…
The book covers everything from the Pentagon Papers, to the PGP saga of the 90s, to WikiLeaks, Cablegate, and NSA surveillance, and much more.

It's also a digestible, non-technical explainer on public key cryptography, Tor, and other crypto building blocks.
It explains the contributions of cypherpunk forefathers like David Chaum, Tim May Eric Hughes, Phil Zimmerman, John Young, and Julian Assange.
A couple of favorite quotes:

"Edgar Allan Poe said 'human ingenuity cannot concoct a cipher which human ingenuity cannot resolve.' Poe, in other words, believed no seemingly unbreakable cipher (encryption) exists that can’t be outsmarted by some other, cleverer cryptographer...
"...But Poe had been proven wrong...by the implementation of public key encryption invented by three MIT scientists, what would come to be known as RSA...the scheme was evidence that just such a practical, unbreakable form of encryption was possible."
The origin of "cypherpunk"

Sci-fi authors W. Gibson & Neal Stephenson adopted the “cyberpunk” genre, stories of bohemian hackers fighting steely megacorporations in virtual worlds. [Hughes'] group wasn’t composed of mere cyberpunks, but a new genre of hacker: “cypherpunks.”
The “Cypherpunk’s Manifesto,” laid out the group’s common mission and the tenets of its newborn subculture.

It's famous catchphrase: “Cypherpunks write code.”

activism.net/cypherpunk/man…
The slogan represented action instead of rhetoric, writing tools that would shape the world of technology so that when the government belatedly arrived to regulate it, the feds would find an untamable landscape populated by crypto-wielding civilian.
On Chaum's major contribution -- "Mix Networks"

Users of a Mix Network can digitally give the slip to anyone who might be tracking them just as they would in the real world: by getting lost in the crowd
Chaum took encryption, which masks the content of a message, and applied it to create anonymity, which protects something else altogether: the identity of the people communicating.

cs.umd.edu/class/fall2015…
On Why Assange believes leaks are so important:

"Leaks give practical methods for preventing important communication between authoritarian conspirators, foment strong resistance to authoritarian planning & create powerful incentives for more humane forms of governance.
Leaks empowered the regime’s enemies with damning facts. But more importantly, they induced the regime to stop communicating internally, a kind of calcification of its circulatory system more deadly than any outside enemy."
The paradox of Tor ("The Onion Router"), which was created by the government:

Without a diverse set of users, an anonymity network like Tor cld never be anonymous, so the military set it free, to be both maintained & used by everyone from hackers to revolutionaries to criminals.
Even if the govt had sensed that the software it was funding for masking users’ identities was a dangerous weapon, it couldn’t keep the program to itself. To be effective, Tor had to be shared with everyone—even those who'd use it against the very institutions that created it.
Highly recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about the cypherpunk movement, and its importance in the world of cryptocurrency.
For more cypherpunk literature, I recommend checking out the Nakamoto Institute (h/t @bitstein @pierre_rochard). It's a goldmine for resources on this important movement.

nakamotoinstitute.org/literature/
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Alex Hardy 🦊🦔
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!