Crypto Anarchist Manifesto Author Tim May Passed Away at Age 67

News and Analysis

Cypherpunks co-founder Timothy C. May passed away last week at age 67 with his death appearing to be of natural causes, Lucky Green, one of the earliest contributors to the Tor Project and a personal friend of Timothy May, wrote in a Facebook post.

The Cypherpunks were an organization formed in the early 1990’s by a group of cryptology fans who regularly met to discuss privacy on the internet and how the developments of computer technology allowed for more personal freedom.

The group was founded by Timothy May, Eric Hughes, and John Gilmore. Since being established it has managed to make progress on spreading cryptographic products and open source software.

Timothy May is also the author of “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” published in 1992, in which he seemingly predicted some elements of currently existing decentralized cryptocurrencies:

“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 …”

According to May, some of these developments would help alter the way governments interact with the economy, as their ability to tax and control transactions would be hindered. At the same time he also predicted that governments will try to limit the development of these technologies.

“The State will of course try to slow or halt the spread of this [cryptography-based] technology, citing national security concerns, use of the technology by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of societal disintegration.”

His libertarian views lived on and inspired generations of cypherpunks to come, including that of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.

Paying tribute to Timothy May, crypto pioneer Nick Szabo, who worked on an early Bitcoin prototype and played a key role in developing smart contracts, said May was an inspiration to him.

Nick Szabo is adamant Tim May’s vision lives on:

Lucky Green finished his post stating:

“Please raise a glass of Bourbon, can be any brand, doesn’t have to be the expensive stuff, it didn’t have to be for Tim, to Tim May! Ad Astra, Tim!”

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