Some of us believe various forms of strong cryptography will cause the power of the state to decline, perhaps even collapse fairly abruptly. We believe the expansion into cyberspace, with secure communications, digital money, anonymity and pseudonymity, and other crypto-mediated interactions, will profoundly change the nature of economies and social interactions.
Those words were written by crypto-anarchist Timothy May a quarter century ago. At the time, in a world which was barely discovering the newly emerging potential of the internet, they appeared to many to have a wishful charm about them. Today they are beginning to appear prophetic.
May was an accomplished software engineer. He was also a committed anarchist, author of the Crypto Anarchist Manifesto, and believed in the ability of technology to bypass existing models of social organisation. Whilst that belief was shared by many others, what set him apart from many of his peers was his belief in the power of cryptography-based technology to also supplant those existing models.