As the world celebrates the ninth birthday of Bitcoin’s genesis block, Max Keiser reminds us to be mindful of the 40-year history of cryptography.
If 2017 has taught us anything, it’s that the price of a commodity has a massive influence on how the world values it.
As Bitcoin entered a phenomenal bull run in November, it was almost impossible not to get caught up in the hype of the ever-growing value of the cryptocurrency. The price continued to rise, breaking barrier after barrier with no consideration of naysayers or well-wishers.
Some people made a lot of money while others lost out in the eventual correction. However the financial success of Bitcoin has somewhat taken away from the 40-year journey towards its inception.
Happy birthday Bitcoin
Bitcoin celebrated it’s ninth birthday on Jan. 4 – marking another milestone since the original genesis block was mined in 2009.
Bitcoin’s birth is credited to its creator Satoshi Nakamoto, but the development of Bitcoin goes back as far as the 1970s. The cypherpunk movement deserves as much credit as Satoshi for laying down the foundational development of cryptography.
Speaking on RT’s Keiser Report, show host Max Keiser says people would be wise to research the history of cypherpunks before they invest in Bitcoin:
“The Satoshi whitepaper describes Bitcoin as system for the transmission of digital cash, which sets most enquiries into this to a skewed path because they’re looking at it in one use case – the payments-use case.”
“This leads us to ignore the entire history of the entire movement and ignore everything else Bitcoin can possibly do, including obvious references to gold as mentioned in the whitepaper. Store of value has always been key to this thing.”
Privacy birthed Bitcoin
Cryptography was originally developed by governmental agencies and the military in the late 70s before data-encryption technology was released to the public. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that the cypherpunk movement was officially founded by Eric Hughes, Tim May and John Gilmore.
As Keiser points out, the publication of previously classified knowledge and developments in encryption technology had a big impact on the ability of cypherpunks to improve the technology:
“Getting into how we got to the genesis block. The idea of having private messages sent electronically required advances in technology and at some point, the government’s work in creating encryption released, set out into the wild.”
The term cypherpunk would only be immortalized in the Oxford Dictionary in 2006, but the movement was founded on the notion that cryptography and privacy technology would bring about societal change.
Without those original developers, the encryption technology and protocols would not have been set in place.
Satoshi even credited the work of Dr. Adam Back, creator of anti-spam technology HashCash, as well as b-money creator Wei Dai in the original Bitcoin whitepaper. Keiser said Bitcoin would not exist in its current form without all of this work:
“Bitcoin was not born in a vacuum, it has 40 years of history to it. It’s evolved through all these different technologies, it’s a unique protocol and like gold, it’s attracting a huge amount of capital.”
“Genesis is about privacy and the ability to protect that electronically, ending up where we are today. The cypherpunk movement is the genesis movement. No one should buy Bitcoin without studying the cypherpunks.”
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Author: Gareth Jenkinson