Cypherpunks Mailing List

Although originally formed of members from the Bay area of San Francisco the movement began to take off and it was soon decided to set up a mailing list to reach out to other like minded folks or should I say Cypherpunks.

The mailing list soon expanded and included hundreds of subscribers, keen to discuss developments in Mathematics, Computer Science, Cryptography, Politics and Philosophy, to debate, exchange ideas, and test cyphers on a daily basis.

The new, PGP encryption method was used to ensure complete privacy to the exchanges which meant ideas could be freely discussed and shared. It became an open forum where personal privacy and personal liberty were held above all other considerations.

The Cypherpunks mailing list consisted of many notable names still active today…. let’s take a look at the original bad boys and see how they have shaped today’s technological society….

  • Jacob AppelbaumTor developer, political advocate
  • Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder, deniable cryptography inventor, journalist; co-author of Underground; author of Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet; member of the International Subversives. Assange has stated that he joined the list in late 1993 or early 1994. An archive of his cypherpunks mailing list posts is at the Mailing List Archives.
  • Derek Atkins: computer scientist, computer security expert, and one of the people who factored RSA-129
  • Adam Back: inventor of Hashcash and of NNTP-based Eternity networks; co-founder of Blockstream
  • Jim Bell: author of Assassination Politics’
  • Steven Bellovin: Bell Labs researcher; later Columbia professor; Chief Technologist for the US Federal Trade Commission in 2012
  • Matt Blaze: Bell Labs researcher; later professor at University of Pennsylvania; found flaws in the Clipper Chip
  • Eric Blossom: designer of the Starium cryptographically secured mobile phone; founder of the GNU Radio project
  • Jon Callas: technical lead on OpenPGP specification; co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of PGP Corporation; co-founder with Philip Zimmermann of Silent Circle
  • Bram Cohen: creator of BitTorrent
  • Lance Cottrell: original author of the Mixmaster Remailer software; founder of Anonymizer
  • Matt Curtin: founder of Interhack Corporation; first faculty advisor of the Ohio State University Open Source Club; lecturer at Ohio State University
  • Hugh Daniel (deceased): former Sun Microsystems employee; manager of the FreeS/WAN project (an early and important freeware IPsec implementation)
  • Suelette Dreyfus: deniable cryptography co-inventor, journalist, co-author of Underground
  • Hal Finney (deceased): cryptographer; main author of PGP 2.0 and the core crypto libraries of later versions of PGP; designer of RPOW
  • Eva Galperin: malware researcher and security advocate; Electronic Frontier Foundation activist
  • *John Gilmore*: Sun Microsystems’ fifth employee; co-founder of the Cypherpunks and the Electronic Frontier Foundation; project leader for FreeS/WAN
  • Mike Godwin: Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer; electronic rights advocate
  • Ian Goldberg*: professor at University of Waterloo; designer of the off-the-record messaging protocol
  • Rop Gonggrijp: founder of XS4ALL; co-creator of the Cryptophone
  • Sean Hastings: founding CEO of Havenco; co-author of the book God Wants You Dead
  • Johan Helsingius: creator and operator of Penet remailer
  • Nadia Heninger: assistant professor at University of Pennsylvania; security researcher
  • Robert Hettinga: founder of the International Conference on Financial Cryptography; originator of the idea of Financial cryptography as an applied subset of cryptography
  • Marc Horowitz: author of the first PGP key server
  • Tim Hudson: co-author of SSLeay, the precursor to OpenSSL
  • *Eric Hughes*: founding member of Cypherpunks; author of A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto
  • Peter Junger (deceased): law professor at Case Western Reserve University
  • Werner Koch: author of GNU Privacy Guard
  • Paul Kocher: president of Cryptography Research, Inc.; co-author of the SSL 3.0 protocol
  • Ryan Lackey: co-founder of HavenCo, the world’s first data haven
  • Brian LaMacchia: designer of XKMS; research head at Microsoft Research
  • Ben Laurie: founder of The Bunker, core OpenSSL team member, Google engineer.
  • Moxie Marlinspike: founder of Open Whisper Systems (developer of Signal); author of the Convergence SSL authenticity system, co-author of the Signal Protocol and the Double Ratchet Algorithm (with Trevor Perrin).
  • Morgan Marquis-Boire: researcher, security engineer, and privacy activist
  • *Timothy C. May*(deceased): former Assistant Chief Scientist at Intel; author of A Crypto Anarchist Manifesto and the Cyphernomicon; a founding member of the Cypherpunks mailing list
  • *Jude Milhon* (deceased; aka “St. Jude”): a founding member of the Cypherpunks mailing list, credited with naming the group; co-creator of Mondo 2000 magazine
  • Vincent Moscaritolo: founder of Mac Crypto Workshop; Principal Cryptographic Engineer for PGP Corporation; co-founder of Silent Circle and 4th-A Technologies, LLC
  • Sameer Parekh: former CEO of C2Net and co-founder of the CryptoRights Foundation human rights non-profit
  • Vipul Ved Prakash: co-founder of Sense/Net; author of Vipul’s Razor; founder of Cloudmark
  • Runa Sandvik: Tor developer, political advocate
  • Len Sassaman (deceased): maintainer of the Mixmaster Remailer software; researcher at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; biopunk
  • Bruce Schneier: well-known security author; founder of Counterpane
  • Nick Szabo: inventor of smart contracts; designer of bit gold, a precursor to Bitcoin
  • Zooko Wilcox-O’Hearn: DigiCash and MojoNation developer; founder of Zcash; co-designer of Tahoe-LAFS
  • Jillian C. York: Director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
  • John Young: anti-secrecy activist and co-founder of Cryptome
  • Philip Zimmermann: original creator of PGP v1.0 (1991); co-founder of PGP Inc. (1996); co-founder with Jon Callas of Silent Circle

The mailing list continued after the 90’s using different formats.

Who would you add to this list, past or present? (leave comments below) follow on @Twitter the #CryptoGirlGang @HODLER_J @BITCOINSHELLY @SARAH_SATOSHI @CrypoQueen___

A Brief History of CypherPunks & Crypto Currency

Dr David Chaum1980’s, Dr David Chaum wrote numerous papers on subjects including; “Security without Identification: Transaction Systems to Make Big Brother Obsolete” and “Numbers Can Be a Better Form of Cash than Paper. Chaum basically predicted the anonymous use of electronic money as opposed to paper money, which we all now know, as Crypto-Currencies.

Eric Hughes1992, Eric Hughes, drafts the Cypherpunks Manifesto in which he states ‘privacy in an open society requires anonymous transaction systems. Until now, cash has been the primary such system. An anonymous transaction system is not a secret transaction system. An anonymous system empowers individuals to reveal their identity when desired and only when desired; this is the essence of privacy.’

Adam Back1997, Adam Back creates Hashcash an anti-spam mechanism which adds a time and computational power cost to sending email, making the sending of spam uneconomical. The sender would have to prove that they had expended computational power to create a stamp in the header of an email (similar to the proof of work (POW) use in Bitcoin) before they can send it.

Wei Dai1998, Wei Dai, publishes a proposal for B-Money. This included two methods of maintaining transaction data; a) every participant to the network would maintain a separate database of how much money belongs to users and, b) all records are kept by a specific group of users. WithIn the second option the group of users who have custody over the records are incentivised to be honest because they have deposited their own money into a special account and stand to lose it if they are not. This method is known as “proof of stake” (POS) and the specific groups of users (or master nodes) will lose all the funds they have staked if they attempt to process any fraudulent transaction.

Hal Finney2004, Hal Finney, created Reusable Proofs of Work which borrowed from the principles of Backs’ Hashcash

Nick Szabo2005, Nick Szabo publishes his proposal for Bitgold, built on previous ideas developed by Hal Finney and others.

Satoshi Nakamoto2008, Satoshi Nakamoto, an anonymous individual or group of individuals, sends a paper to the cypherpunk mailing titled, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. This paper makes direct references to b-money and hashcash and addresses many of the issues that previous developers had such as, double spending (the risk that a single token is used multiple times to purchase goods). Even though the papergarnered a lot of criticism from sceptics, Nakamoto continued on and mined the genesis block of Bitcoin on 3 January 2009.

Follow on Twitter @Hodler_J @Sarah_Satoshi @CryptoQueen___ @BitcoinShelly #CryptoGirlGang for more info and NFT cypherpunk collectibles.