Former ‘Hacker of the Year’ Admits ‘I Was Wrong, Crypto Is Required’

David Heinemeier Hansson, a Danish programmer who was named Hacker of the Year in 2005 by Google and O’Reilly for his design of the Ruby on Rails web development platform, now concedes that he was incorrect about encryption.

On February 21, Hansson, who had previously expressed doubts about Bitcoin, released a blog post headlined “I was wrong, we need crypto” in reaction to Canadian truckers demonstrating against Covid vaccination regulations. Hansson said that the demonstration transformed “any Bitcoin crank into a prophet,” and conceded that he was mistaken about crypto’s “fundamental need” in Western democracies.

He began by noting how he had previously been a harsh critic of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency space: “To say I’ve been suspicious about Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency realm is an incredible understatement. Since the early 2010s, some of my most bloodthirsty Twitter confrontations have been with the HODL army with the laser eyes.”

He claims that the recent “authoritarian reaction from the Canadian government: “Initially, the Ottawa police department obtained a court order instructing GoFundMe to seize contributions with the goal of transferring them to other organisations, but following public uproar, they agreed to just freeze the funds for 7-10 days before refunding them. That seemed to be a drastic increase in contrast to the tens of millions of dollars generated for social justice groups during the 2020 protest summer. However, I believed at the time that it was something that another fund-raising site — one that was less inclined to engage with Canadian authorities – might circumvent. And GiveSendGo has begun to do exactly that.

“It turns out that the outrage over the gifts was swiftly made irrelevant since the Canadian prime minister declared martial rule on the demonstrators only a few days later. He used authorities designed for catastrophic situations to freeze the bank accounts of both Canadian demonstrators and contributors, to compel tow-truck operators to clear the streets, and to force insurance firms to remove protestor policies.”

He continued by saying that he now realises he was “too fast to entirely condemn crypto on the basis of all the things wrong with it at the present” and that crypto is the only hope we have of preserving the “basic freedom to transact.”

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