This podcast from Cypherpunkd is of a panel including some of the key early figures from the Cypherpunks mailing list.
Bitcoiners will appreciate the stories from the Cypherpunks of their fight to get encryption tools into to the open. Digital cash is discussed at about 47:30 into the podcast (around half-way through).
The panel consists of: Lance Cottrell (@LanceCottrell), Lucky Green (@LuckyGreen), Timothy C. May co-founder Cypherpunks mailing list and Philip R. Zimmerman creator of PGP.
Some comments that were made:
- “The laws were essentially a fig leaf after [finding a method to legally export PGP source code], they were [made] completely ineffectual.”
- “The laws were taking us into a direction which outlawed cryptography and mandatory attribution which we are now seeing a resurgance and that was not desirable for society as a whole. [Facing prohibition of civilian use of cryptography] the clear alternative was to create the technology and get it out in public hands, spread them as broadly as they can be spread worldwide to make it impossible to henceforth restrict the technology.”
- “Strong cryptography is a good thing for society as a whole. It is most unfortunate that cryptography does help the bad guys. That is something that bothers me a great deal, but I can’t think of any way of making it available to everyone without making it available to the bad guys. The effects on society weigh more positively than the advantage it gives to the bad guys.”
- “I remember meeting with members of the Fedreal Reserve board of governerors in 1995-ish and they were excited about digital cash. Today that meeting would go very differently.”
- “Most of the currencies failed because of the chicken and egg problem, It’s not useful to have the currency without places to spend its and noone wants to go through the trouble of accepting the currency unless there are a lot of customers who want to spend it.”
- ”[Digital currencies are always launched by] the banking industry and unfortunately the banking industry has a huge vested interest in not providing anonymous payment mechanisms because they really like to know as much information as they can about you.”
- “The know your customer rules are really just about controlling cash, controlling movement, and collecting taxes. Governments around the world would like to control the cash.”
[One year ago this month these four cypherpunks talked for ten minutes and neither Bitcoin nor the concept of a decentralized proof of work-based digital currency was brought up. That’s how far and how fast Bitcoin has been coming along. Though others not part of the panel have been either onboard or were well aware of Bitcoin right from the start. - Editor.]