Cypherpunks Co-Founder Timothy May Passes Away at Age 67

Francisco Memoria

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.

Also read: Bitcoin Turns 10: A Brief History of Its First Decade

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.

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!

Chinese Yuan 'Inversely Correlated' with Bitcoin, Amidst US-China Trade Wars

Since January 2018, China and the US have been involved in an intense trade war in which both countries have significantly increased tariffs on imported goods and services.

Due partly to the rising tension between the two countries, the Chinese yuan (CNY) has been losing value against the USD. During the same time period, the price of bitcoin (BTC) and other major cryptoassets has been surging.

As noted by the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the value of BTC, the world’s most dominant cryptocurrency, increased by 26.5% to $7,878 during the time period from May 5 to May 17. Notably, US President Donald Trump had announced on May 5 that he would further increase tariffs on goods imported from mainland China.

Chinese Yuan Weakens as Nation’s Government Responds to Increased Tariffs

The SCMP pointed out that the yuan dropped to its lowest level since the past six months after the Chinese government responded to Trump administration’s decision to impose higher tariffs on China.

Commenting on the price fluctuations of both the yuan and bitcoin, Garrick Hileman, a Macroeconomics Researcher at London School of Economics (LSE) and Head of Research at Blockchain.com, remarked:

We are observing a strong inverse correlation between the [Renminbi] RMB’s value and bitcoin, meaning that recent RMB declines over trade tensions have been closely matched by increases in the value of bitcoin.

“Correlation Does Not Necessarily Equal Causation”

Hileman also mentioned that we “cannot be 100% certain” that the bitcoin price has been increasing due to heightened concerns regarding trade tensions and the corresponding decline in the value of the yuan. The blockchain researcher stated:

Trade tensions and declines in the RMB’s exchange rate as correlation does not necessarily equal causation.

Hileman, who earned his Phd from LSE, revealed:

This is not the first time we’ve seen significant increases in the value of bitcoin taking place alongside yuan concerns.

He added that there’s “growing recognition of bitcoin as ‘digital gold’ and it being used as a hedge against various macroeconomic risks.”

“This Year, the Narrative Is Bitcoin, Bitcoin, Bitcoin”

According to the SCMP, bitcoin’s price may have surged recently due to the generally positive remarks made about it at the Consensus 2019 conference.

Meltem Demirors, the Chief Strategy Officer at CoinShares, a crypto treasury management firm, has also confirmed recently that the narrative this year has been mostly about Bitcoin. Demirors revealed that both institutions and retail investors are “feeling good” and are “more confident” about the long-term potential of Bitcoin and the evolving ecosystem that supports it.