[Mac_crypto] Return of the death of cypherpunks.

R. A. Hettinga mac_crypto@vmeng.com
Thu, 2 Oct 2003 10:24:21 -0400

--- begin forwarded text

Status:  U
From: "James A. Donald" <jamesd@echeque.com>
To: cypherpunks@lne.com
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2003 23:37:08 -0700
Subject: Return of the death of cypherpunks.
Sender: owner-cypherpunks@lne.com

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    
coming soon.

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: rah@ibuc.com>
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'