‘Weary Giants of Flesh and Steel,’ Meet Bitcoin

Marc Hochstein is the managing editor of CoinDesk. 

The following article originally appeared in CoinDesk Weekly, a custom-curated newsletter delivered every Sunday exclusively to our subscribers.

“You have no sovereignty where we gather. We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one…”

The “we” John Perry Barlow referred to in his 1996 essay “A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” was a then-emerging, global community of internet users. But you’d be hard pressed to find a subset of that community who took the ethos to heart more than the pioneers of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. For better or for worse.

Barlow, who died last week at the age of 70, was a towering figure among digital-rights advocates, an early champion of a permissionless internet – something users may take for granted today but was far from a guaranteed outcome in 1990, when he co-founded the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

A longtime lyricist for the Grateful…

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