October 8, 2015 was Aaron Swartz Day. The day Aaron Swartz, a computer programmer, entrepreneur, internet activist and also a partner at Reddit was born. For those who have not heard about him may go to their favorite search engine, type his name and hit ENTER. Well known for his civic awareness and internet activism apart from his involvement in the development of RSS feed format, Creative Commons license etc., he committed suicide on January 11, 2013. He committed suicide while facing the possibility of prison sentence and fines resulting from the charges pressed against him by the government and MIT.
Aaron Swartz and Bitcoin share a lot in common except for the fact that he was a person while Bitcoin is a set of computer codes (powered by people). to list a few of the similarities between Aaron Swartz and Bitcoin
- Bitcoin is an open source platform. Bitcoin software can be used by anyone to develop products based on it. Aaron Swartz was an active proponent of open source. He was an editor and contributor on Wikipedia and also ran for the Board of Trustees at Wikimedia Foundation. He also supported Open Access and developed Creative Commons License.
- Bitcoin is known for its transparency when it comes to transactions. Information about all bitcoin transactions happening over the bitcoin network can be easily accessed by anyone on the blockchain. Aaron Swartz encouraged transparency in governance and developed a platform called DeadDrop which is now known as SecureDrop which could be used by whistleblowers to anonymously send information regarding institutional wrongdoings etc.
- His involvement in Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), preventing the online piracy bill from being passed by the government was instrumental in preventing the government from shutting down thousands of websites on the internet that were accused of copyright violation. By doing so, he played a role in preventing the violation of internet freedom by governments. Preventing the government from interfering with the internet freedom of the citizens rings a bell with bitcoin’s aim to minimize governments involvement when it comes to people’s money.
These are few among many such acts Aaron Swartz was responsible for. His actions were targeted towards protecting the rights of individuals in the United States and also created an impact across the world.