Co-founder of Cryptohippie’s Paul Rosenberg: decentralized cryptosystem is the key to our future


Paul Rosenberg, co-founder of VPN service Cryptohippie and Creator of the site of Freeman’s Perspective, where he writes about economic freedom, personal independence and online privacy, also known as the author of A Lodging of Wayfaring Men — a book that is often called the “Bible of cryptoanalysts”.

Being one of the leaders in the environment Shirobokov and entrepreneur with a wide range of interests and high level of expertise in various fields, Paul Rosenberg many years ago predicted the emergence of a decentralized cryptocurrency and CryptoRandom.

His interests include philosophy, theology, history, psychology and physics, which is reflected in the extensive list of written works — in addition to A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, it also included Breaking Dawn, another recommended reading book for open-minded people, The New Age of Intelligence, a work created in collaboration with Jonathan Logan, and more than 50 books on design and construction.

During his successful career as an engineer Paul Rosenberg has repeatedly been invited to the hearing as an expert and acted as adviser to NASA and Department of defense. He developed and taught 19 different courses in the Engineering College at the University of Iowa, is one of the founders of the Association of the ber optic and the author of the world’s first standard for the installation of fiber-optic cable.

In the last few years Paul Rosenberg has been a regular guest Paralelni Polis, the famous center of cryptomaria in Prague, and during a recent visit to the Hackers Congress 2018 ForkLog talked with him, discussed the challenges faced by today’s society and how new technology can solve them.

Photo: Paralelni Polis / Pavel Sinagl

ForkLog: This is not the first time you are in Paralelni Polis. What will be your report this time?

Paul Rosenberg: At this time I will speak on a very specific topic. All of us here have always been interested in cryptography, Baccano and other innovative technologies. Initially it was a small community but it’s growing every day, and finally, the question arose: what will happen when everything will be as we want? The system is changing, rapidly or slowly but it is changing. But if everything in life will be the way we want? How are we going to solve some problems when we’ve won? What happens with many people around us?

We do not force anyone to follow us, but if 50% of the population will live the way we want, the rest will also have to join this. But what about the elderly or perhaps sick? We now have to think about what will happen with these people.

The truth is that they will all be very good. But they need to explain what problems we solve and how we do it. In short — this is the essence of my presentation.

ForkLog: What are the main disadvantages, in your opinion, has the society as it is today, that can fix cryptologie?

Paul Rosenberg: the Current international system, and we are talking about almost every part of it, is built on a very outdated and archaic model. It is a model in which one person or group of people who make up the rules by which the rest will live, and who punish those who do not do what they say. They forcibly take money from others, often more than half of your money and power to send young people to fight and die in wars.

This model works from the Bronze age, and it is hopelessly outdated. And although it’s not spoken aloud, but the whole point of the basic model of our civilization reduced to the following postulate: “Do what we say or we’ll hurt you”. It’s in everything — from traffic signs and police to the statements of governments. This is the reality in which we live. And from the point of view of societies of people — but this model is terrible. It is the complete opposite of cooperation. The slogan “Do what we say or we will hurt you” may not be the cooperation.

We need another way of cooperation, because today we grow more than enough food for all, we know how to build enough housing for all, we know how to make cars, roads, fridges and everything else. Let not everyone be a Ferrari, but almost anyone can have a car for the right price. All you need is cooperation. But the current system cannot cope with the co-operation of this magnitude. It was proved repeatedly, confirming its extreme inefficiency.

For this reason, we need a system that would ensure free cooperation. And decentralized systems offer a tool that allows you to do it. Today, all built on the principle of hierarchy: command and control. Everything is imposed, and, worst of all, even implanted interaction between humans.

Decentralized systems also are not perfect but they allow us to collaborate more effectively, much better than it does now. And it is those systems that will accelerate the arrival of a new future. The current system is incapable of it. She can’t and won’t do it, so we no longer need it.

Gathered here [in Paralelni Polis] people morally much better than the politicians, at least some of them. And we are told that these people are not worth listening to, that they should not be given power, including over their own lives and that power should be given to people who are corrupt through and through. This is what imposes on us the existing system. We say that everyone should bear the responsibility.

Will there be mistakes? Of course they will! We’re talking about living people, and some of us do stupid things. We all sometimes do. But the individual who takes their own decisions, their mistakes can be corrected. If we are here gathered to make a mistake, we can fix it in the next year. If the error is inscribed in the hierarchy, to change it is impossible. This is a good model for computers, but not for living people.

ForkLog: this year the Congress of hackers in Paralelni Polis coincided with the holding of local elections in the Czech Republic. Representatives of the centre have already declared their refusal to participate in them, as I do not wish thereby to legitimize the corrupt political system. At the same time partially profess similar views cryptoanalysis the Pirate party is involved in them. We also know the example of Iceland, where the pirates got representation in the local Parliament and, consequently, the ability to promote their ideas. Possible participation in the elections could be one way of changing the system, about which you say, an alternative way of “defiance and disagreement”?

Paul Rosenberg: I don’t think so. I understand that they [the Pirate party], but they only make things “less worse”. I can understand their arguments, but in the end it’s not much help. Even if you install a control system that uses bad model and force against the people, in the end it again comes down to “do what we say or we’ll hurt you”. Everything remains the same.

For many of us, change is happening too slowly, this process continues for years, but they happen between people, and in the end, the old system no longer can these people keep. This is what happened between the Roman Empire and early Christians. First, Rome didn’t know what to do with them, then they started to chase. But over the 100’s, 200’s and 300 years, these Christians were talking with their neighbors and friends, their ideas spread, until one day, some of the Romans started to say, “Wait, why are we killing this guy? I know him, I buy him milk, and he’s a good man. Yes, he has a different faith, but to kill its not worth it.” In the end, the mighty Roman Empire lost support of its own people and lost the fight to Christianity.

I do not like that change comes slowly, but everything happens as it happens. We need to implement these changes and to spread good ideas. It is impossible to be in the Space age with the rules of the Bronze age. We know the barbaric essence of today’s system, we know that politicians lie and steal, know it all. This is not a minority opinion. And is it those people who will to tell us what to do and how to live? They do not live correctly themselves, how can they say something to us? They want us to impose something? It’s just unreasonable. But people are even afraid to think about such things. When you start talking about what the government is living by the rules of the Stone age, the people around slow down the voice.

ForkLog: are There any practical technical solution, which can accelerate changes in society?

Paul Rosenberg: First of all, this cryptocurrency. What a wonderful invention! They certainly have their problems, they need to work, need to be improved and new products for people who are not well versed technically. But this is a system that is designed to release in nature. What would you use, bitcoin, zcash for or some other cryptocurrency, you are using her as an equal, nobody is holding at your throat the knife and says: “Do what I say or I’ll hurt you”. It’s a new world, it’s the future, right here, right now on this Earth. He’s not perfect, but that is why there are all these people who are trying to make it better and expand. The chief in such systems can not be.

Sometimes people do stupid things, but if you go outside, you can see that almost all most of the time I drive the car. Also most people most of the time well behaved. When I go to work, I pass by thousands of people, and I can remember one bad guy, and 999 good people go unnoticed. We need to notice these 999 people to pay more attention to them.

Most people in the world — good. They can have a bad day, they may have their problems, but most of the time they’re all fine. Why don’t we take as a model those people? Instead we hear that “all around the terrorists, against all threatened, we must defend ourselves from everyone, we should hire a big guy with a big gun, so he guarded us”. It’s a bad design.

Photo: Paralelni Polis / Pavel Sinagl

ForkLog: Tell us about your VPN service Cryptohippie. How is it different from dozens of other similar proposals?

Paul Rosenberg: Actually, Cryptohippie is an anonymous network. Our servers are scattered in various places, and on output node we combine the traffic into clusters. This can be compared with mixing in bitcoins. Our VPN always has two or three of the hub, which forwards signals from one place to another. We also use ephemeral keys, which disappear after the end of the session, as if they never existed. We have multiple layers of security and several companies. For example, one company owns and operates her other company in other jurisdictions and with other business owners to work with their clients. Thus we never have a single point of failure.

Let’s say I’m in sales and don’t know what’s going on with the network. No, sometimes I, of course, misleading about certain plans, and I help on some things, but I know nothing about the user information on the network side. I know who purchase our services if they give me information. If payment is made with bitcoin, I don’t know the name of the buyer. I can learn only when you pay with a card. We plan to add other payment methods, but these are only bitcoin and card. I know it’s not perfect, but a security measure we have a very large.

ForkLog: Where did part of the “hippie” in the title? The sixties, like, over.

Paul Rosenberg: But not for me (laughs). The meaning of the word “hippie” in the title of this concept is that Yes, we make money and we like the free market, but not all just about money. Before to start, we took the decision that if we ever find ourselves in a situation where we will have a good opportunity to raise prices, because we offer something unique, to do this we will not. We want fair prices, but to squeeze the last penny out of a person, we will not. And customer care is very important for us. In the end, we want to do business, which could be proud of. We want money, but don’t do it for them.

To Cryptohippie we have all had different careers, we were doing completely different things. I can tell the story of how it all began. I wrote a book A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, and she went anonymous, your name as the author, I decided not to mention. Then I met Jonathan, who today, we have deals with network issues. It happened in one of the early chats for Shirobokov. We talked a lot, know each other and have really bonded.

And then one day he said to me: “I know you’re the guy who wrote this book.” I asked him why he came to this conclusion, and he gave a very thorough analysis, adding that his wife told me that I can trust. I was forced to admit that you wrote a book, but asked anyone not to talk about. Then he said that we should meet and continue the conversation in person.

At the time we both lived in Northern Europe, and in the end we met on a cold morning at the old Cathedral somewhere in Holland, and then five days traveled by car and talked about different things. On the last day he invited me to the bar where suddenly became very serious and said, “Freedom needs somewhere to exist, and right now the Internet is the best way to do it.”

Of course, the Internet had a lot of problems, and we already knew about the NSA. All the details that are known today, we did not exist, but we already knew a lot. I agree with Jonathan that while attempts to achieve freedom, the Internet was not very good. At that time there was a anonymous proxy that could be amiss in the 1990s, but today in the conditions of total surveillance, they are already unusable. He said he knows how to do all this correctly and that he was very well versed in this, but he also said that he could not do it alone, so asked me to join forces. I said Yes, and so began the story of Cryptohippie. Our primary motivation was that freedom must somewhere exist.

ForkLog: unfortunately, today’s youth often do not attach much importance to online privacy. What advice would you give to those representatives of the crypto community who understand the importance of this aspect and raise their own children? How to convey all these ideas about new technologies and their capabilities to the next generation and pass it on, to preserve the chance for a fundamental change in society?

Paul Rosenberg: I think it is very important, especially if the children are big enough that parents did not force them to do anything. Teenagers need to develop their own view of things and grow as a person, they can’t be a copy of their parents. It is therefore important that parents can set a good example and had the patience to wait for the day when children will ask: “Why are you doing this or that?” Then the parents should explain that this is because everything you do or say is used for you to manipulate. Someone could make a lot of money by selling others the your life. How much earns each month Google? They get money from people who want to manipulate us, and they do it very well. All this is done under the slogan “It’s free”, but it is not free. They take your life and sell it to other people. You will not feel pain immediately, but it is changing the world in which you live.

Today also has the security services, which receive information on all of us and periodically arrest people because they said something stupid online. In China, if you say something wrong about the government, you will not be able to buy a plane ticket or rent a house. This is the model which is getting closer, and it happens very quickly. And just because I think this is a bad model for humanity, I am taking steps to protect themselves. But a teenager can be difficult. Therefore, in dealing with them the desired softness, they should go their own way.

Interviewed By Andrew Asmakov

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