The cypherpunks, a ragtag group of tech tinkerers, cryptographers, and privacy advocates, were obscure in their 1990s heyday. And it would have remained that way in perpetuity were it not for a certain Satoshi Nakamoto launching a digital currency in 2009 encapsulating their core beliefs. We don’t know if Satoshi was a cypherpunk. But what we do know from rediscovered mailing list conversations is that many of the cypherpunks’ early ideas were to be enshrined in Bitcoin more than a decade later.
Also read: Why Nick Szabo Probably Isn’t Satoshi
Hal Finney Described Bitcoin Before It Was Born
Building on David Chaum’s digital cash, a certain Hal Finney proposed several improvements, suggesting to his fellow cypherpunks that “Alice and Bob could be pseudonyms, using anonymous addresses to communicate with each other and with the bank … If these problems can be solved, a big advantage of this approach is that the banker can be anonymous. He would be known only by his anonymous address and his public key(s). This would provide some…