Bitcoin And The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto


Some of Bitcoin’s properties sound abstract. Properties like digital ownership, censorship resistance, decentralization and more. But the deeper you dig into the Bitcoin rabbit hole, the more you realize that Satoshi Nakamoto even implemented some mutually exclusive properties simultaneously: freedom of privacy and property rights. In fact, Bitcoin reconciles an uncensorable pseudonymous system and an extreme form of property rights. I would like to show why this combination was actually almost impossible by using an analogy based on the example of barbed wire in Timothy C. May’s “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto.”

We first find the “barbed wire” analogy in one of the shortest but most exciting texts of the cypherpunk movement, the aforementioned “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto.” While the common man had never heard of the internet at the time, the minds of the cypherpunks, who were only forming in the early 1990s, had already painted a clear picture of the information age and its promises and dangers. Those who find the thesis in “The Sovereign Individual” to be prophetic should definitely keep in mind what the cryptography anarchists were already discussing a decade earlier.

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