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Bitcoin Isn’t Cypherpunk, Craig Wright Rants in Attack on Julian Assange

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:35 PM
Greg Thomson
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:35 PM

By CCN.com: The man who claims to be Bitcoin’s inventor wants to rewrite history by erasing the cryptocurrency’s cypherpunk past. Writing in yet another blistering blog post, Craig Wright claimed he left the cypherpunk movement in the 1990s after growing tired of the antics of Julian Assange.

Craig Wright: I Couldn’t Stand Julian Assange

julian assange, wikileaks, bitcoin
Despite publishing the Bitcoin whitepaper to a cypherpunk mailing list, Craig Wright claims Satoshi wasn’t a cypherpunk. Why? Because he couldn’t stand Julian Assange. | Source: Justin TALLIS / AFP

Wikipedia offers the basic definition of a cypherpunk as:

“Any activist advocating widespread use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political change.”

According to Craig Wright, Bitcoin was never supposed to be about anything of the sort. He says he abandoned the cypherpunk movement after growing tired of core members like Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

He writes :

“Bitcoin was never a cypherpunk experiment. I left the Cypherpunks mailing list in the ‘90s because I couldn’t stand people like Julian Assange. I couldn’t stand what some of the people there stood for. I was the opposite of many others on the cryptography mailing list.”

Wright’s insistence that Bitcoin isn’t cypherpunk related is surprising, given that Satoshi Nakamoto first posted the Bitcoin whitepaper  to the cypherpunk mailing list in October 2008.

Wright goes on to express surprise that Bitcoin became adopted by the same cypherpunks “he” voluntarily sent the whitepaper to. He writes:

“What I never suspected was that a bunch of want-to-be comic-book criminals would take my invention and try to turn it into a system designed to promote illicit activity.”

The criminal activity Wright refers to is not just black market purchases, but the notion of privacy itself. According to Wright, the only utility of privacy is to mask illegal actions.

Cypherpunks Were Born to Fight People Like Wright

When Eric Hughes posted the Cypherpunk’s Manifesto  in 1993, the tenets of the movement were laid out clear as day.

According to the manifesto:

“We the Cypherpunks are dedicated to building anonymous systems. We are defending our privacy with cryptography, with anonymous mail forwarding systems, with digital signatures, and with electronic money.”

Sounds a lot like Bitcoin, right? Well, except the anonymous part – but that has since been picked up by Zcash, Monero, and more privacy coins.

The manifesto is worth a read for its strident and passionate tone alone. And 15 years before the invention of Bitcoin, its words seem remarkably prescient:

“We must come together and create systems which allow anonymous transactions to take place. People have been defending their own privacy for centuries with whispers, darkness, envelopes, closed doors, secret handshakes, and couriers. The technologies of the past did not allow for strong privacy, but electronic technologies do.”

But according to “Faketoshi” Craig Wright, that’s the exact opposite of what Bitcoin’s all about.

The Long Game for Wright and Bitcoin SV

Bitcoin SV
Craig Wright seems to be scheming to make Bitcoin SV the only legal cryptocurrency. | Source: Shutterstock

Since Wright’s arrival on the scene around 2015, numerous theories circulated regarding his true intentions. Almost as many as were sparked regarding the identity of the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

But if we read between the lines of Wright’s vociferous blogging output, we see a very clear gambit in the making. If Wright has his way, he will cozy up to government regulators and launch Bitcoin SV (BSV) into the stratosphere as the first fully licensed, legal cryptocurrency.

With this modus operandi, Wright doesn’t even need to contest with other crypto projects – all he has to do is convince the right government committee to rubber-stamp his claim. As Wright states:

“I wanted to create something that would allow people to conduct any business that was legal. I don’t care if you’re taking money from a licensed sports book; if it was licensed, it would be fine.”

Luckily, unlike the buyers who pumped Bitcoin SV to over 100% gains recently, not everyone is so easy to convince. The U.S Copyright Office was quick to point out that the truth of Wright’s claims has not yet been tested, despite his registration of Bitcoin’s naming rights.

With Craig Wright’s own troubles with the courts well-documented, he still has murky waters to wade through before he can begin pitching Bitcoin SV to the government regulators. He also has to contend with an entire cryptocurrency community that has no intention of acquiring a license to use Bitcoin – or any other cryptocurrency for that matter.