Timothy May, co-founder of the Cypherpunks group, has recently passed away at age 67 from what are appear to have been natural causes, although an autopsy still hasn’t been performed. May is well-known in the crypto space as one of Bitcoin’s godfathers, and the author of “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto.”
The Cypherpunks were notably a group formed in the early nineties 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. Months after its creation May published his renowned “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” which detailed how technology would transform how people interact with each other online.
At the beginning of the Manifesto, he wrote:
“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 ...”
May also mentioned that 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. His libertarian views lived on and inspired generations of cypherpunks to come, including that of bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
The Cypherpunks group also created the well-known cypherpunk mailing list, the one that Nakamoto introduce bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, to in 2008. His move was essentially the first step in the creation of the cryptocurrency’s current $100 billion ecosystem.
Facing the news May passed away, the cryptocurrency community in general paid its tribute to one who fought for their privacy and is now seen as one of bitcoin’s godfathers. Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum, was one of the first to react:
Crypto pioneer Nick Szabo, who worked on an early bitcoin prototype and played a key role in developing smart contracts, revealed May was an inspiration to him, and noted that his vision lives on.
Tim May was my chief cypherpunk inspiration. His vision is of a cyberspace free from government oppression. I was further blessed to be able to hang out with him and kvetch about our crazy world. Will miss you greatly Tim! https://t.co/cLx5dpiUEF— Nick Szabo [Jan/3🔑] (@NickSzabo4) December 15, 2018
Lucky Green, one of the earliest contributors to the Tor Project and a personal friend of Timothy May, wrote a lengthy Facebook post about his now late friend, in which he noted that his vision has helped shape the world we live in today.
He 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!