[Mac_crypto] Return of the death of cypherpunks.
R. A. Hettinga
Thu, 2 Oct 2003 10:24:21 -0400
--- begin forwarded text
From: "James A. Donald" <email@example.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 23:37:08 -0700
Subject: Return of the death of cypherpunks.
When a mailing list is full of crap, it dies, even though the
regulars set killfiles to silence the offending posters. The
reason is, no new people arrive.
New people subscribe, see nothing but crap, unsubscribe.
A mailing list or newsgroup needs a strong personality who is a
prolific poster who keeps discussions on track, issues lots of
good stuff, and reprimands trolls and nuts. That person, of
course was Tim May. (past tense)
It also needs a continual stream of new people, who bring new
ideas, and unfamiliar ways of recognizing old ideas.
The relentless mass spamming by professor rat and Jim Choate
keeps new comers away, since 99% of the posts to the list is
from people who hate the ideas that the list was created to
further, and seek to shut it down, to prevent thought about and
discussion of such ideas, and Tim May has succumbed to terminal
grumps on discovering that the crypto transcendence is not
So when is the crypto trancendence coming? When does an
encryption enabled internet start to undermine the power of the
Well it is a little like web groceries. During the Dot.com
hype, lots of web grocery companies popped up, and made about a
cent on the dollar. They vanished, but, surprise surprise,
there are now some real web grocery firms, and they are
making a little bit of money.
Darknet (frost over freenet) is going tolerably well, mostly in
its Japanese incarnation, the repression being stronger in
Japan. The Japanese experience tells us that any repression
short of communist levels of repression will make darknet
stronger, not weaker. The big threat to frost over freenet is
the natifying of the net which makes more and more people into
clients, not peers. Theoretically frost over freenet serves
even those behind NATs, but really it does not, and cannot.
Private money on the internet remains a small, non anonymous,
There is no Chaumian anonymity. There is some "trust us"
anonymity, located on offshore islands, controlled by people
quite susceptible to US pressure.
Account based money without true names or the mark of the beast
is a tiny but profitable business. E-gold is probably the
largest player, with about two million dollars a day changing
hands, and twenty thousand micropayments a day (payments of
less than a dollar)
Two million a day is one five hundred thousandth of the
turnover on the US$, and it is not growing very fast. Of
course e-gold is just one of several, but it probably a large
portion of the total.
Suppose no-true-name account based money grows at thirty
percent a year, which seems plausible. In due course
some substantial portion of it will be chaumian.
Then the US$ goes into crisis in 2060. As Adam Smith put it,
"There is a lot of ruin in a nation.".
Even if we suppose that the institutions of the crypto
trancendence undergo remarkably rapid growth, the kind of
growth that the dot bombs predicted in their business plans,
the crypto trancendence does not hit until around 2025.
But right now today, the internet is undermining the power of
the state. The Japanese government went as far as democracy
can go, and perhaps a bit further, to shut down file sharing.
The result: Widespread adoption of software based on freenet.
Cypherpunks 1, state 0. We have a long way to go, but we are
Oh yeah, and once again I declare the mailing list that gave
the name of this movement to be dead, though the fact that I am
still posting on it would seem to prove it is alive, though
breathing its last.
James A. Donald
--- end forwarded text
R. A. Hettinga <mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <http://www.ibuc.com/>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'