‘Without Projects That Express Principles, You Have Nothing of a Revolution’
Cody Wilson, 27 — founder and CEO of Defense Distributed (DD) and the creator of the world's first 3D printable gun
Cody Wilson, 27 — founder and CEO of Defense Distributed (DD) and the creator of the world's first 3D printable gun, the Liberator — is suing the federal government in attempt to get judicial relief and compensation for violations of his civil rights. In 2013, the state department demanded he take down DD’s ability to share blueprint CAD designs of its creation. Wilson said:
“This is an identical action to what Bernstein did with PGP back in the ‘90s. Same division of the state department, same thing trying to sue them and say, ‘Hey, judiciary we don't need permission to publish things to the Internet.’ These people are screwing with us trying to tell us that we need it.”
His complaint is that the federal government violated his 1st Amendment rights (free speech on the Internet), 2nd Amendment rights (self defense) and also his 4th, 5th and 14th Amendment rights (due process and protection against unwarranted searches and seizures). The takedown has put Wilson in a position where he believes he could not wholly operate his business, and that he has lost money.
Along with the daunting task of suing bureaucrats, he still finds time to run another project called Ghost Gunner. It’s a build for a computer-controlled (CNC) milling machine constructed to let anyone make the aluminum body of an AR-15 rifle.
Before the shutdown, the free file that explained how to build the Liberator was downloaded 100,000 times in two days. Similarly, in October 2014, the untraceable gun box for the Ghost Runner sold out in its first 36 hours. Afterward, Wilson decided to raise the price so he could hire more development. But this past February, FedEx blocked shipments of the product. The shipping company said its decision was due to “uncertainty with applicable law and regulation” regarding the gun machine.
Wilson is very opinionated about the current state of cryptocurrency. He is the co-founder of Darkwallet, the anonymous Bitcoin wallet. Wilson says he has always had a desire to provide people with privacy and anonymity, and he tries to rarely stray from his crypto-anarchy principles. Cointelegraph spoke with Wilson about his decision to sue the government, along with a variety of other subjects, including his opinions on the Bitcoin block size debate.
Cointelegraph: Can you tell us about Defense Distributed suing the federal government?
Cody Wilson: Defense Distributed has filed a federal complaint. We are taking the state department to court. We are appealing to a federal judge, saying the state department itself has violated our civil rights, and we are asking for judicial relief. Everything is broken down with the state department, and I'm actually individually suing most of the bureaucrats related to the actions against our business personally, as well — suing them for actual money damages.
This is an identical action to what Bernstein did with PGP back in the ‘90s. Same division of the state department, same thing trying to sue them and say, “Hey, judiciary, we don't need permission to publish things to the Internet.” These people are screwing with us, trying to tell us that we need it.
“Ross (Ulbricht) is essentially being punished for having an idea and executing it well.”
CT: What are your thoughts on the current topic of gun control being brought up by policy makers, since the recent shooting in South Carolina?
CW: I know it’s topical again, but politicians can't do anything about it. What they are trying to do about gun control will get reversed in the courts. I dont see any major policy response coming from this.
CT: How are sales going with Ghost Gunner?
CW: Pretty good. We shipped out 200. It took a long time to get those 200 shipped out. Now we are working on shipping the next 300 out over the next couple of months.
“I tell you this: They gave Noriega 25 years and they had to send the marines in after him. All the great druglords of the past didn’t get double life sentences. They are going to put this kid away for double life? Give me a break. That just shows you how afraid they are of what's coming.”
CT: What's your opinion regarding the sentencing of Ross Ulbricht?
CW: To anyone who was taught the core ideas of proportionality, it's just a demonstration of a complete abortion of justice. Basically the New York judiciary and its attempts to kind of control the Internet shows how scared that system is. Ross is essentially being punished for having an idea and executing it well.
I tell you this: They gave Noriega 25 years and they had to send the marines in after him. All the great druglords of the past didn’t get double life sentences. They are going to put this kid away for double life? Give me a break. That just shows you how afraid they are of what's coming.
CT: You are participating in a FreeRoss.org fundraiser with hosts of the Crypto Show?
CW: Yes, we put an autographed Ghost Gunner up for that.
CT: How do you feel about the current Bitcoin block size debate?
CW: If its not broke, don't fix it. I don't trust Mike Hearn and Gavin [Andresen] as far as I can throw them. Which is not far because they haven't been missing many meals lately. If you know what I’m saying. I say good luck with the hard fork there, Gavin. I’d like to ask him whether the water was deep when he jumped off the ship over there at the [Bitcoin] Foundation. I hope he didn't have to swim far.
“Without a big expression of intentionality to what are considered not the polite things to do with Bitcoin — specifically money laundering, specifically private access to your coin, holding your own keys — without projects that express these principles, you have nothing of what you want with a revolution. This leaves me to proclaim that most people involved with Bitcoin were not serious about that in the first place.”
CT: What's your perspective on the current state of Bitcoin?
CW: The state of Bitcoin — a complete abortion culturally. All the topics being celebrated are those participating with the government. I thought it was very interesting that Ripple got tagged. Everyone keeps thinking that as long as we participate, we'll be fine