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On Crypto Anarchy and Cyber Liberty: Opinion

On Crypto Anarchy and Cyber Liberty: Opinion
Cover image via u.today
Contents

Timothy May is a formidable figure on the cryptography and privacy scene and a voluminous writer on all things cypherpunk. His peak work was in the 90s, but it hasn’t aged much, and the recent waves of Blockchain popularity and interest make it all the fresher.

Tim May penned the highly influential The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto in 1988 and coined the term “crypto anarchy”.

I highly suggest that you read his essay Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities, which is a fantastic piece printed back in 1994 and that is very prescient on a lot of points of what’s happening today.

There’s a piece from the essay that I’d like to particularly dwell on that recounts how Tim May came up with the word “crypto anarchy” and what he meant by that:

I devised the term crypto anarchy as a pun on crypto, meaning “hidden,” on the use of “crypto” in combination with political views (as in Gore Vidal’s famous charge to William F. Buckley: “You’re crypto fascist!”) and of course because the technology of crypto makes this form of anarchy possible. The first presentation of this term was in a 1988 “Manifesto,” whimsically patterned after another famous Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities manifesto. Perhaps a more popularly understandable term, such as “cyber liberty,” might have some advantages, but crypto anarchy has its own charm, I think.

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Cyber liberty

Think of the term “cyber liberty” as this is where I’d like to deviate a little from what’s elaborated upon in “Crypto Anarchy and Virtual Communities” and put it in the perspective of today.

Whether we like it or not, the words anarchy and crypto anarchy can be a boogeyman to the general public, and Tim May went along with the term because he liked it, but the “cyber liberty” might be more fitting by his own admission.

At its essence — and if you remove any emotion and the multitude of connotations that weight the word down — anarchy means that communities and community members can function in a highly conscious state. In a state in which they can freely cooperate and self-govern without the need of the government. Anarchy is not about actively getting rid of the government; it’s about operating as a tightly knit community.

And yet the term “cyber liberty” is a better one and is extremely fitting today.

With the spread of mobile technology, mobile money has become not only popular and accessible but pretty much a necessity to a lot of people. Today, there are about 168 million active mobile money accounts worldwide, and the center of its active use is Africa. In Zimbabwe — to bring forth the most salient example — 96% of all transactions are the electronic mobile ones.

What happens is that with the spread of technology — cheap smartphones as in the case with Africa — more and more people are joining the world economy and getting the means to cross the local boundaries. What would people in Zimbabwe use for money, when their national currency completely collapsed, were it not for the access to technology, and cheap access too? This is cyber liberty. Albeit a limited one, but liberty nonetheless.

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Chasing the opportunities of cyber liberty

The advance and spread of the Blockchain technology gives even more opportunities for people to go translocal and transborder. All that people need is a device, an Internet connection, and a willingness to learn. This is not to say that all three of these are easy to accomplish, but they are a possibility and they are opportunities.

While mobile money is just that — a currency, even though a currency that’s convenient and even life-saving to some, that also gives a taste of joining the world economy, the Blockchain is the next step and the opportunities that come with it are truly fitting the term “cyber liberty”.

Imagine being able to generate content regardless of where you are and be paid for it. Imagine being able to grow your community and online presence and be rewarded for it. Imagine realizing that your attention is actually worth something. Think of what happens when it dawns on people that the effort of learning, exchanging information, and sharing the knowledge is what has a direct and inalienable value. The value that is also financial and all of it is a part of a vast ecosystem.

No boundaries. Hassle free. You immediately gain by merely becoming a part of the world economy, and all you need for it is a device (not necessarily a powerful one), a connection, and a willingness to learn. This is what is U°Community, among other things. An easy way into becoming part of the economy and an understanding that you, your attention, your effort, and your drive are worth a lot. And your value is inalienable.

This is cyber liberty.

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About the author

Evgeny Konstantinov has a solid background in knowledge management and communication, works with open source and blockchain communities since 2011

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Top Bitcoin Miner Warns – Bitcoin’s Privacy Features Are ‘Quite Poor’

  • Yuri Molchan
    📰 News

    The head of a major Bitcoin mining pool says that Bitcoin privacy is weak and must be improved to prevent BTC from avoiding governments’ clampdown

Top Bitcoin Miner Warns – Bitcoin’s Privacy Features Are ‘Quite Poor’
Cover image via www.123rf.com
Contents

The CEO of one of the largest BTC mining pools, Poolin, has recently stated in an interview that Bitcoin privacy has to be improved. The current privacy features make BTC vulnerable to potential regulatory bolt tightening, says he, as reported by Forbes.

The Poolin mining company was set up by several former employees of BTC.com – a world’s major mining pool, a subsidiary of Bitmain. Among them was the Poolin’s current CEO Kevin Pan.

“Bitcoin’s privacy features are quite poor”

Over the past years, developers have suggested several ways to improve Bitcoin’s privacy. However, those were rejected by the community, since they would hard such major things as security, scalability, etc.

A good example here is Confidential Transactions that were among those suggestions. They disguise the amount of BTC sent in transactions. However, the integration of it was rejected, since it could have had a negative impact on the public verifiability of the present BTC supply.

Kevin Pan says that privacy is much more vital for a crypto asset development than scalability. Pan says:

“There is no other big question if the privacy issue is solved.”

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Governments may start controlling BTC miners

The company CEO believes that in theory, authorities or law-enforcement agencies may start telling miners to block certain address from receiving funds or sending them. However, in that case that would have to be 51 percent of the BTC network.

Pan believes that unless a solution to this problem is found soon, governments will get a chance to prevent transactions to certain addresses from happenning.

“What is more troublesome now is if government or law enforcement departments begin to create a blacklist of transaction addresses, it will make certain transactions unable to be packaged.”

“In fact, these can be done. But if there is privacy, you can't know who the address belongs to, and you can't determine how much the amount is, and there is no way to control the currency system. So for me, Bitcoin is basically no problem if the issue of privacy can be solved.”

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China plans to clamp down on BTC miners

Previously, U.Today reported that Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of China, plans to ban all the numerous mining pools located there soon.

Since this region is one of the biggest local crypto mining areas, some believe that China is about to ban mining of all cryptocurrencies ahead of the so-called ‘China Coin’ launch.

Do you think that poor Bitcoin’s privacy features could indeed bring down regulatory control over BTC one day? Feel free to share your view in the comments section!

Subscribe to U.Today on Twitter,and get involved in all top daily crypto news, stories and price predictions!

About the author

Yuri is a journalist interested in technology and technical innovations. He has been in crypto since 2017. Believes that blockchain and cryptocurrencies have a potential to transform the world in the future. ‘Hodls’ cryptocurrencies. Has written for several crypto media. Currently is a news writer at U.Today.

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