Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation, Bitcoin, rose from the cypherpunk movement that took root in the late 1980s. In 1992 a small group of retired IT professionals and a mathematician invited 20 of their friends to a monthly gathering to discuss some of the world’s seemingly most vexing programming and cryptographic issues and were jokingly referred to as Cypherpunks.
The best way to understand their aims and objectives is to read A Cypherpunks Manifesto (1993) by Eric Hughes, one of the original founders of the group.
The key part of the manifesto:
‘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.’
With the growth of the group it was decided to create the Cypherpunks Mailing List to reach out to other Cypherpunks and the mailing list grew in popularity. This list allowed anyone to anonymously join the discussions centered around the idea of establishing cryptographically secured methods of ensuring privacy.
Fast forward to 2008 and a group or person going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto sent a paper to the Cypherpunk Mailing List called ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’. Satoshi Nakamoto and others then went on to create Bitcoin and mined the first block, the ‘Genesis Block’ on 3rd January 2009. Many coders have continued to contribute new open source code to Bitcoin enabling its continued development.
Fast forward a decade and on the 3rd January 2018 crypto hit a total market cap of $730 billion with an estimated 20+million users around the world.