Imagining the Internet Predictions Project
 
More from Steven Levy

The flood [of cryptography tools] indeed is coming, and the agency charged with safeguarding and mastering encryption technologies is about to be thrust into a cypher age in which messages that once were clear will require tedious cracking - and may not be crackable at all. - 1993
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Breakthroughs in modern cryptography indicate that one day it will be universal and simple ... Anonymity is scary stuff ... What are the benefits and the risks? Even if we don't want it, can we stop it? - 1993
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Cryptographic protocols ... could catapult our currency system into the 21st century. They may, in the process, shatter the Orwellian predictions of a Big Brother dystopia, replacing them with a world in which the ease of electronic transactions is combined with the elegant anonymity of paying in cash. - 1994
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Digitizing the final mile of electronic money, where the coin and the dollar bill go the way of the vinyl LP, will make all the difference in the world. It will not only change the physical way you spend your money, it will alter the way you view your own economic being. And depending on the manner in which it is implemented, digital money might allow others to view your financial status with a decidedly discomfiting intimacy. - 1994
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Depending on how they work, the various systems of electronic money will prove to be boons or disasters, bastions of individual privacy or violators of individual freedom. At the worst, a faulty or crackable system of electronic money could lead to an economic Chernobyl. Imagine the dark side: cryptocash hackers who figure out how to spoof an e-money system. A desktop mint! The resulting flood of bad digits would make the hyperinflationary Weimar Republic - where people carted wheelbarrows full of marks to pay for groceries - look like a stable monetary system. - 1994
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Consider a world where all money is electronic and traceable, and you have the most potent crime-fighting weapon in history. - 1994
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Whole industries might go away, particularly those involved in modes of distribution that will evaporate when businesses can send the same materials direct to customers over the Net. New sorts of ventures will certainly emerge, but we can't be sure what they'll be. - 1995
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Continued development of ever-more-powerful hardware and software, allowing easier and faster access to vast resources of information and entertainment, will within 15 years make the Internet nearly as ubiquitous and pervasive as the telephone is today. - 1995
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We're groping for a way to use the Net in a way where information will flow freely and people can still make money. The hackers are going to help us find ways to have a more humanized system of commerce. - 1995

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