Monday, March 15, 2021

The Alt-Currency Martyr

By Brian Doherty
Reason Magazine
Monday, March 15, 2021

In the mid-1990s, just before the arrival of PayPal and more than a decade before bitcoin, an oncologist from Florida named Douglas Jackson created a system by which people could send each other digital payment tokens backed by gold. Jackson's e-gold became the world's first truly successful digital currency, serving over half a million customers and doing billions of dollars' worth of business.

But after a decade of success, the feds came after him, raiding his company's office, taking computers, freezing bank accounts, and ultimately extracting a guilty plea for conspiring in an "unlicensed money transmitting business." Once trailblazing, e-gold was quickly forgotten, derailed first by legal hassles and then by the tsunami of interest in blockchain technology.

Now Jackson has uncovered information that he thinks can not only overturn his conviction, and thus ease the path to him restarting his business, but help wean alt-currency from what he regards as a ruinous addiction to Satoshi Nakamoto's brainchild. While the value the markets place on cryptocurrency keeps rising precipitously and no e-currency model closely emulating e-gold has grabbed significant market share in its wake, Jackson remains convinced that if he could only get back in the game, things would be very different. The guilty plea that he now insists was squeezed from him through government trickery blocks his doing legal business in the e-currency space.

"It's as if I'm the only person in the world not allowed to go and compete in this area where I'd pioneered the industry," he says. "It's like everything came off the rails and it's been a decade of unprecedented malinvestment."

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Cypherpunk Guild Launches on NEAR

By Cypherpunk Guild
Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Privacy Advocates, It’s Time To Pay Attention

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Privacy is a topic that has become more prominent in recent years, as awareness surrounding unwarranted data collection has increased. An entire generation of Silicon Valley products, starting with Google, inaugurated what has been aptly coined Surveillance Capitalism. These products, unlike traditional software services, offer users an experience in return for their personal data. Complex partnerships between intelligence agencies, financial institutions, and tech behemoths have resulted in a march towards dystopia that few would deny, and that Cypherpunks have long foreseen.

On the NEAR Protocol, the Cypherpunk Guild has officially launched as the largest community funded initiative to date. This launch is one of the most exciting events in all of crypto. For the first time, a group of privacy minded developers, marketers, and entrepreneurs, are jointly collaborating to pioneer a future built around private transactions on NEAR, and private applications on the Open Web. It could not be more timely, more necessary, or more in line with the original mission of Bitcoin and related cryptocurrencies.

Cypherpunks Write Code

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An excerpt from the Cypherpunk Manifesto

Cypherpunks are not well known today, because they have largely been forgotten or deplatformed. Arto Bendiken, the leading force behind the creation of the Cypherpunk Guild, explains the long and rich history of cypherpunk software contributions in the Cypherpunk Guild Proposal:

The Cypherpunk Guild is continuing that tradition today, by incubating a next-generation of privacy solutions on the Open Web.

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May/June 1993 cover of Wired (source)

When Eric Hughes wrote the Cypherpunk Manifesto, he spoke to the need for privacy in a free society:

Open-Source protocols, building in the Metaverse, are equally relevant to the same demand. If NEAR wishes to successfully birth the open, decentralized, and permissionless digital society that it aspires to create, then including privacy is a fundamental and essential component of that vision. That is why the Cypherpunk Guild matters.

The Mission and Activities of the Cypherpunk Guild

The Cypherpunk Guild has applied for funding of 100k $NEAR for the next 18 months, to start building the future of privacy on NEAR. The first, and overarching priority of the Guild, will be to Get Private Transactions built into NEAR. In parallel to completing this milestone, the Cypherpunk Guild will work to recruit the next generation of privacy minded entrepreneurs, developers and Cypherpunks to launch privacy minded and user-first solutions.

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An unencrypted transaction.
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Encrypted transaction.

What is important to note is that these initiatives come at a time when other Layer 1s are only starting to take privacy concerns seriously. As Arto writes in the proposal, launching Cypherpunk Guild today gives NEAR a first mover advantage in the space, and a high likelihood of attracting other Cypherpunks and privacy minded developers to the protocol.

In summary Cypherpunk Guild aspires to bring the following to NEAR:

  • Private Transactions to NEAR Smart Contracts.
  • Developer, Entrepreneur, and Enterprise Support for Privacy Solutions in Web3
  • A hub for new and existing Cypherpunks, at a time when privacy concerns are increasing significantly.
  • Starting new conversations, hosting events, and enabling the next-generation of Cypherpunks through meetups, forum discussions, and online events.

Who Sits on the Council of Cypherpunk Guild?

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Image source

An important indicator of the seriousness and future potential of the Cypherpunk Guild, are the founding council members involved in growing the guild over the next 18 months.

  • Arto Bendiken: An original member of the Cypherpunk movement dating back to the 1990s. Outspoken privacy advocate. Digital Nomad, Hacker, public speaker, and software engineer with more than 20 years of experience working in entrepreneurial ventures. For a general overview of Arto’s past experience and beliefs see his Humans of NEAR Interview.
  • Frank Braun: Doctor in Computer Science (PhD). Seasoned Software Engineer and Cypherpunk Activist. Host of the Cypherpunk Bitstream Podcast, featured in the Down the Deep Dark Web Documentary. For a more detailed overview of Frank’s life and previous ventures see his Humans of NEAR Interview.
  • Jon Matonis: Director and Chief Economist of Cypherpunk Holdings (the 9th largest Bitcoin wallet in the world). Founding Director of the Bitcoin Foundation. Over the course of his professional career Jon has held senior positions at Sumitomo Bank, Hushmail, VISA and VeriSign.
  • Evgeny “Eugene The Dream” Kuzyakov: ICPC gold medalist (2008). Eugene brings a career of software development experience starting at Google, moving onto Facebook, and since focused on Machine Learning and blockchain research. He currently works for NEAR.
  • Yulian Lavysh: Business Development and Marketing Expert at NEAR bringing over 5 years of experience working at high growth startups at the intersection of data, software development, marketing and business growth strategies.
  • Dani Osorio: Dani brings over 12 years of experience to high-growth startups. Previously having worked for Infura, as Director of Global Partnerships and Marketing, and ConsenSys as Executive Director of developer tools, Dani is intimately familiar with a diverse array of stakeholders across the crypto industry. She currently works on the NEAR Developer Relations team.
  • Ozymandius: Founder of 4NTS Guild, the first guild in the NEAR Ecosystem.

From what is publicly available, there is no better group of Cypherpunks and privacy advocates working jointly to advance the Cypherpunk mission in the Web3 space. From IPCC Gold Medalists, to serial entrepreneurs, monetary economists, Computer Science PhDs, and long-time business development and management experts, the Cypherpunk Guild is uniquely positioned to incubate and develop a host of privacy solutions on NEAR over the long term.

Get Involved In The Cypherpunk Guild

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Learn more about Cypherpunks on the Cypherpunk Bitstream podcast hosted by founding guild member Frank Braun

The Cypherpunk Guild is a new guild. It needs passionate and committed guild members to advance the cypherpunk mission and vision of bringing privacy and freedom to the Open Web and beyond. As Eric Hughes originally wrote:

To get involved you can join the discussion on the Cypherpunk Community Chat or follow the Cypherpunk Guild on Twitter.

“We have to make privacy profitable.” — Jon Matonis, Director and Chief Economist of Cypherpunk Holdings

Friday, January 1, 2021

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. Invests in Next-Generation Hardware Wallet Company NGRAVE

News Release
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Toronto, Ontario, Dec 30, 2020 (Newsfile Corp via COMTEX) -- Toronto, Ontario--(Newsfile Corp. - December 30, 2020) - Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. (CSE: HODL) ("Cypherpunk" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that it has completed a convertible note investment in NGRAVE.IO ("NGRAVE"). NGRAVE's flagship product "ZERO" - also known as "The Coldest Wallet" - is a fully offline hardware wallet that features the world's highest security certification, EAL7, for its secure operating system.

Under the terms of the transaction, Cypherpunk Holdings invested an initial €100,000 via a convertible loan agreement which also includes the right to participate in NGRAVE's Series A financing round for an additional undisclosed amount, which is expected in first quarter 2021.

The ZERO is the most secure hardware wallet ever made, and the corner stone of NGRAVE's impenetrable security ecosystem. Conceptualised and built from scratch in close collaboration with world leading institutes in chip manufacturing, applied cryptography, and hardware security, the ZERO comes with an unparalleled level of inherent anti-tampering. The ZERO is completely offline, from secret key generation to transaction signing, keeping your holdings away from any online attack vector.

Belgium-based NGRAVE is a digital asset and blockchain security provider offering a secure and user-friendly end-to-end solution for the management of individuals' and businesses' digital assets and cryptocurrencies. Additionally, the company introduces multiple innovations with GRAPHENE, the industry's first recoverable and encrypted backup.

Commenting on the investment, Cypherpunk Holdings President and CEO, Antanas "Tony" Guoga, stated, "The NGRAVE team has a significant lead over comparable competition in the space and they provide an excellent complement to our existing portfolio of secure privacy-based wallets. This initial investment into NGRAVE sets the stage for our continued participation in the company's future growth."

As the sector leader for privacy-technology wallet investments, Cypherpunk Holdings will also contribute advice and expertise on rapid management team development and matters of corporate governance. The Cypherpunk Holdings management team is led by investor, serial poker champion and former member of European Parliament Tony Guoga as CEO, with Moe Adham serving as Chief Investment Officer and Jon Matonis serving as Chief Economist. Moe is the founder and CEO of Canadian ATM leader Bitaccess. Jon is a founding Director of the original Bitcoin Foundation and previously Head of Foreign Exchange Trading at VISA International.

NGRAVE'S CEO, Ruben Merre added, "In Cypherpunk Holdings, we believe we have found not only an investor, but a strategic partner with whom we share common interests and goals regarding privacy. Cypherpunk Holding's ticker symbol 'HODL' is an interesting word play on the most effective use case of ZERO: keeping your crypto safe for the long term. We look forward to working together as we continue to grow the business of NGRAVE."

NGRAVE previously made headlines by onboarding Jean-Jacques Quisquater, legendary cryptography professor and second reference of the bitcoin paper, to its team, as well as raising a record amount of more than 450KUSD in sales through its Indiegogo pre-order campaign in June 2020.

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc. invests in the companies, technologies and protocols which enhance or protect privacy. Its strategy is to make targeted investments in businesses and assets with strong privacy, often within the blockchain ecosystem, including select cryptocurrencies. Cypherpunk's common shares trade on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol(CSE: HODL). For further information on NGRAVE, please contact

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This news release contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Generally, any statements that are not historical facts may contain forward-looking information, and forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or variations of such words and phrases or indicates that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be" taken, "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to the Company's goal of making investments in businesses and assets with strong privacy, within the blockchain ecosystem, including select cryptocurrencies, or otherwise and enhancing value. There is no assurance that the Company's plans or objectives will be implemented as set out herein, or at all. Forward-looking information is based on certain factors and assumptions the Company believes to be reasonable at the time such statements are made and is subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information. There can be no assurance that such forward- looking information will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward-looking statements are made based on management's beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date that statements are made and the Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change, except as required by law. Investors are cautioned against attributing undue certainty to forward-looking statements.

Investor Relations Contact:
Veronika Oswald

Cypherpunk Holdings Inc.
130 King Street West
The Exchange Tower, Suite 3680
Toronto, ON
M5X 1B1
Telephone: 416.599.8547

To view the source version of this press release, please visit