What is Cypherpunk?

What is Cypherpunk?

Cryptocurrencies have brought humanity a level of financial freedom that it has dreamed of since the advent of money. But what contributed to this? Who stands behind the most sophisticated technology that has allowed the dream to come true?

Cypherpunk-Real-time science fiction

Cypherpunk is a group of people who engage in digital activism, with a particular focus on protecting the privacy and security of digital users, using the best that cryptocurrency has to offer.

Un cypherpunk is an activist who advocates the idea of using powerful and better cryptography technologies to protect people’s privacy. The word cipherpunk is one of the most popular words in the cryptocurrency world since the 80s. These activists played a crucial role in the development of cryptographic technologies used everywhere today, and in protecting our privacy in what we know today as the Internet.

The word cipherpunk was first coined by the famous hacker Jude Milhon in 1992. To do this, he combined “cipher” (encryption) and “punk” (rebel). Simply put, cipherpunk is the “rebels of the cryptographers”. In addition, this word has a previously known drift-cyberpunk. The word is used to refer to the futuristic, sci-fi, and literary genre of dystopia, in which technology plays a central role in the plot.

But where did they start? Who are they? What were their biggest achievements? And more importantly, what are they doing in the world today? Well, we will see all this and much more below.

The beginning of the cipherpunk movement

The encryption movement began as soon as computing began to demonstrate its potential to transform the security of public information through cryptography in 1970. At the time, people interested in cryptocurrency wanted to bring such a technology into an area beyond purely military use. A situation that seemed necessary because of the future prospects of a digital world interconnected by computers. And even more, knowing that this network will store all our data, and will be accessible from anywhere in the world.

The Internet was not designed for security. It was designed not to fail for military purposes, but also not to be safe. One of the first to increase security was Ralph Merkle. Merkle, while still a student, was able to develop the basics of various modern cryptographic systems. In fact, Merkle is recognized as the creator of the first functional system of asymmetric cryptography. A fact that many people have forgotten because his work was perceived as a joke.

However, the joint work of Ralph Merkle, Martin Hellman, and Whitfield Diffie led to the first publicly available asymmetric cryptographic systems. At the time, DES (the data encryption standard) was its counterpart in symmetric cryptography, and was published by the US government.

It is from this moment that cryptography will begin to change the world. And the moment when cipherpunk becomes very important in its development.

80-e-the emergence of cipherpunks

Undoubtedly, the development of asymmetric and symmetric cryptography in the 70s was important. But many experts considered this progress insufficient. On the one hand, DES was considered insufficient for many security applications. This is in addition to suspicions that the standard was deliberately relaxed to allow espionage by the United States.

As for asymmetric cryptographic systems, the low computing power and its complexity made it difficult to implement these developments. But this did not stop those who were interested in developing these systems. With the rapid growth of the ARPANET and the development of TCP / IP, the 1980s would be the beginning of the great global information network. Because of the prospects for this development, brilliant minds like David Chaum, Shafi Goldwasser, or Silvio Micali have begun to focus on the crypto issues of the future.

Of all of them, David Chaum is the most prolific and “rebellious” of them all. Chaum was focused on maximizing the use of crypto technologies. Everything to protect people’s privacy. It was a struggle between people and governments that want to control everything. A battle in which advanced technology and cryptocurrency were the weapons. Tack Chaum created highly secure crypto systems, such as blind signatures, group signatures, cryptographic credentials, and the first example of cryptographically secure digital money.

All of this would make David Chaum the first person to be identified as a cryptographer. A fact that continues to affect our lives today, and that would open the doors of the right to privacy movement around the world.

The Cypherpunks mailing

By the early 90s, the Internet had already become a reality. A network of networks around the world. It worked, although it was of a limited size compared to today. However, this was the case, and it allowed thousands of people to exchange information from anywhere in the world without a physical presence.

At that time, mailing lists were widely used as places to meet and discuss various topics. Of these lists, the Cypherpunks mailing list, created in 1992, was something special. It featured such personalities as Adam Back, Jude Milhon, David Chaum, Eric Hughes, Timothy S. May, John Gilmore, Fen Labalm, Lance Cottrell, Nick Szabo, Richard Stallman, Romana Machado, Ron Rivest, Tatu Ilonen, Tim Berners-Lee, and Ulf Moeller.

From 1992 to the present day, the Cypherpunk list has been the epicenter of many crypto projects in the world. These projects are as important as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) or Open Privacy.

But in addition to this, the list of cryptographers became the birthplace of the” Manifesto of Crypto-anarchists “and”The Cyphernomicon”. Not to mention the technological advances that will lead us to the creation of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, as in the case of HashCash de Adam Back.

Was the encryption movement vital to the development of computers today?

The influence of the cipherpunk movement on the development of computers is invaluable. His strong belief in privacy and the creation of tools focused on security and cryptocurrency has changed computing, allowing us to safely use them at any time, especially after the creation of a network of networks-the Internet.

The main achievements of cipherpunk in its history

As we mentioned, chiromancy trying my best to create tools that help us to fight for our privacy. But what were these tools? And more importantly, what impact have they had on our lives and our privacy? Well, we’ll take a look at some of these achievements:

  • The Internet

The network of networks is partly a result of Shirobokov. In fact, Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the Internet, was a well-known cryptographer. Throughout his life, Berners-Lee promoted the idea of open government data around the world and fought for rights such as net neutrality, privacy, and openness.

  • SSL encryption for web servers

At an early stage of development of the Internet connection to the servers is implemented without encryption. This meant that every connection could be monitored and its contents fully verified. This clearly undermines the security and privacy of people online. The solution was provided by Ben Laurie, a well-known cipherpunk when creating Apache-SSL in 1998.

  • Secure remote Access

One of the most common tasks on the Internet is remote access to resources that are online from anywhere in the world. Protocols like FTP and Telnet allowed this from the start, but both were insecure. Everything changed when the Tattoo Ulanen developed the SSH Protocol. It was a remote connection protocol par excellence because of the high security it provides. A fact that is still being implemented today, as it is still widely used.

  • Organizations for the protection of rights

The creation of the Electronic Frontier Foundation is a response to the work of Mitch Kapor, John Gilmore, and John Perry Barlow. All three were known to cryptographers and was noted before and after the organizations for the protection of digital rights.

Another organization in this regard was founded by Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation. A foundation with a vision to ensure that the source code of programs remains free to be viewed and modified by anyone. A movement that led to projects like GNU / Linux and Google’s Android.


Many advances in cryptography has been achieved thanks to the work Shirobokov. A good example is David Chaum and his blind signatures, as well as his version of digital money. To this is added the work of Shafi Goldwasser and distributed and error-resistant systems. But we can also add to this work aimed at strengthening and developing computing to make it safer and more efficient at all times.

At the moment, the impact that cryptographers have had on the world is not insignificant at all. It is simply colossal! The various personalities behind the movement continue to foster positive change that benefits all of us.

And despite the adversity, the movement continues to grow and strengthen, realizing that those who can protect people’s privacy are not governments, but the same people who can change the way things are. They are cypherpunks. In the end, said Eric Hughes, “Cypherpunks write codes”.