The roots of Bitcoin start with libertarianism.
Libertarianism is a political ideology that believes centralized authority should
be as minimal as possible. Individuals should have more power over the course of their lives and should not suffer in the face of the power of states.
As opposed to the control of central governments, libertarian ideology places emphasis on the privacy of individuals.
From online discussions on forums and mailing lists, two groups formed: the Cypherpunks and the Crypto-anarchists, both of which advocated for the use of cryptography to protect one’sprivacy.
“Privacy is necessary for an open society in the electronic age. Privacy is not secrecy.
A private matter is something one doesn’t want the whole world to know, but a secret
matter is something one doesn’t want anybody to know.
Privacy is the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.”
The quote comes from the Cypherpunk Manifesto, which was written by Eric Hughes, a computer programmer and mathematician from UC Berkeley.
He’s one of the founders of the Cypherpunk movement, and in the 90s founded and administered the Cypherpunk mailing list.
The Cypherpunks and Crypto-anarchists hated the idea of national agencies being able to
spy on them and have access to their information.
They also hated censorship.
But most of all, they hated big banks and governments, both of which were giant centers
of power diminishing the autonomy of the average citizen.
This dichotomy of power only grew as the technology of these institutions evolved faster than
that of the general public.
In the past, before these technological innovations, cash was pretty anonymous in purely its physical form.
Once you spend it, there’s no easy way to trace it.
But in an increasingly digital world, the convenience of big banks tracking account
balances and transfers comes with the cost of privacy.
And so these libertarians saw early on the need for an anonymous digital “transaction system” or currency — one that gave users “the power to selectively reveal oneself to the world.” (Berkeley University )
Crypto-anarchism (or crypto-anarchy) is a political ideology focusing on protection of privacy, political freedom and economic freedom, the adherents of which use cryptographic software for confidentiality and security while sending and receiving information over computer networks. Crypto-” comes from the Ancient Greek κρυπτός kruptós, meaning “hidden” or “secret”. Crypto-anarchism refers to anarchist politics founded on cryptographic methods, as well as a form of anarchism that operates in secret (wikipedia)
Timothy C. May introduced the basic principals of Crypto Anarchism in “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto” in 1988. Encrypted exchanges ensure total anonymity, total freedom of speech, and total freedom to trade against the states power.