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Crypto Manifesto

Just ran into the news that the author of the cyrpto manifesto has passed away.

Thought it would be useful to reproduce it here:

Timothy C. May <tcmay@netcom.com>
A specter is haunting the modern world, the specter of crypto 
anarchy.

Computer technology is on the verge of providing the ability for 
individuals and groups to communicate and interact with each
other in a totally anonymous manner. Two persons may exchange 
messages, conduct business, and negotiate electronic contracts 
without ever knowing the True Name, or legal identity, of the 
other. Interactions over networks will be untraceable, via
extensive re- routing of encrypted packets and tamper-proof boxes
which implement cryptographic protocols with nearly perfect
assurance against any tampering. Reputations will be of central 
importance, far more important in dealings than even the
credit ratings of today. These developments will alter completely
the nature of government regulation, the ability to tax and
control economic interactions, the ability to keep information 
secret, and will even alter the nature of trust and reputation.


The technology for this revolution--and it surely will be both a
social and economic revolution--has existed in theory for the
past decade. The methods are based upon public-key encryption, 
zero-knowledge interactive proof systems, and various software
protocols for interaction, authentication, and verification. The 
focus has until now been on academic conferences in Europe 
and the U.S., conferences monitored closely by the National 
Security Agency. But only recently have computer networks and 
personal computers attained sufficient speed to make the ideas 
practically realizable. And the next ten years will bring 
enough additional speed to make the ideas economically feasible 
and essentially unstoppable. High-speed networks, ISDN, 
tamper-proof boxes, smart cards, satellites, Ku-band transmitters,
multi-MIPS personal computers, and encryption chips now
under development will be some of the enabling technologies.


The State will of course try to slow or halt the spread of this
technology, citing national security concerns, use of the 
technology by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of societal 
disintegration. Many of these concerns will be valid; crypto
anarchy will allow national secrets to be trade freely and will 
allow illicit and stolen materials to be traded. An anonymous 
computerized market will even make possible abhorrent markets for
assassinations and extortion. Various criminal and foreign 
elements will be active users of CryptoNet. But this will not halt 
the spread of crypto anarchy.


Just as the technology of printing altered and reduced the power 
of medieval guilds and the social power structure, so too 
will cryptologic methods fundamentally alter the nature of 
corporations and of government interference in economic 
transactions. Combined with emerging information markets, crypto 
anarchy will create a liquid market for any and all material
which can be put into words and pictures. And just as a seemingly 
minor invention like barbed wire made possible the fencing-
off of vast ranches and farms, thus altering forever the concepts 
of land and property rights in the frontier West, so too 
will the seemingly minor discovery out of an arcane branch of 
mathematics come to be the wire clippers which dismantle the 
barbed wire around intellectual property.

Arise, you have nothing to lose but your barbed wire fences!

-- 
..........................................................................
Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
tcmay@netcom.com       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^756839 | PGP Public Key: by arrangement.