Cypherpunk vs. Etherean?

What’s the difference between the two?


I think there’s quite a lot of overlap, I would consider myself both.

I think the main difference to me is that an Etherean approach wouldn’t necessarily (but could) feature a specific focus on cryptography to enable changes that we want to see. Correct me if I’m mistaken as well, but the cypherpunk movement was often specifically focused on personal privacy concerns, whereas it seems to me that the Etherean movement (to me) is much wider in scope - so looking at issues of collaboration and organization. Keep in mind, this is simply my personal flavour of both :wink:

Hope that gets somewhere close to what you were looking for? Happy to discuss this more, as the cypherpunk movement has always been fascinating to me.

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I think it’s very subjective and we’re definitely still figuring it out but I agree that cypherpunks traditionally have a very narrow focus on privacy, libertarianism, and escaping government surveillance/control, whereas I think the scope of the Etherean community is somewhat broader - we are looking to engage with the world constructively, to have an impact on existing institutions and to build better ones, rather than disengaging.

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would you say that Cypherpunks have a more anarchistic connotation, tending towards destruction/ subversion of the current system…while Ethereans have a more utopian vision and take constructive approach and seek to improve the current system?

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this makes a ton of sense. sounds like etherean is more collaborative. a silly analogy, but etherean is almost like the goodie two shoes counterpart to cypherpunk, the anarchistic cousin?

Here’s what Wikipedia says:

In most contexts it means anyone advocating cryptography as a tool for social change, social impact and expression

I’m not sure that cypherpunks necessarily have an anarchistic bent. I’m not sure they actually have a strong, shared political opinion. I think the movement is more about individual rights, the right to privacy and strong encryption, etc. That does sound libertarian–but not necessarily libertarian right or libertarian left.

To put things in more concrete terms, I could imagine two cypherpunks, one who is anarchistic and believes the only way to escape surveillance is by saying “fuck the government”–which, to be clear, is not the Etherean perspective. The second could be more constructive, more interested in engaging with existing institutions and in imagining better future institutions, as we are.

This leads me to think that the main difference between Cypherpunk and Etherean is breadth – cypherpunks are focused almost exclusively on privacy, whereas we’re concerned with a whole lot more. I don’t know yet how I’d sum up the Etherean ethos, but it’s something along the lines of, “Finding ways for humans to live together more productively and more harmoniously by using technology to improve or replace institutions.” We should iterate on this and maybe try to produce an Etherean Manifesto, akin to these:

Maybe this could be a starting point: A Web3 bill of rights

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I have a Etherean Manifesto on my to-do list for a while. Have some notes ready but still need to crunch it. I’ll definitely share and contribute.
Do we want an open doc for that to kickoff?


Sure. Could do it here, or on GitHub, or hackmd, or gdocs, whichever you prefer :slight_smile: excited to see what you’ve got!