Cody Wilson, self-declared “crypto-anarchist” and his company, Defense Distributed, have been banned from putting 3D gun blueprints online. This is not the first time Wilson has been banned. Though, he resumed the uploads after his long-standing lawsuit with the U.S. State Department concluded in July.
With the regulations that Wilson is experiencing, we are left to wonder if he will opt to conduct business in a decentralized space such as blockchain. Wilson has indicated interest in bitcoin and cryptocurrency in the past. In fact, he began work on a crypto wallet of his own in 2013. The wallet, Dark Wallet, intended to increase anonymity of transactions. With this said, let’s explore his current endeavors and the dangerous nature of these blueprints.
The Blueprint’s Dangerous Nature
3D printers have become more available to the public and more feasible to own for both individuals and businesses. Because they are more common, the publication of blueprints for 3D-printed guns is incredibly dangerous.
Firstly, anyone who has access to a 3D printer can easily print exact duplicates of anything if the blueprints are provided. Furthermore, 3D printers predominately use plastic for the printing of 3D objects. In fact, the blueprints which Wilson and his team create use only plastic apart from one tiny metal piece. Therefore, many of the 3D models have the potential to go undetected by metal detectors.
Furthermore, if individuals can simply print their own guns, all background checks and purchasing regulations and procedures go out the window. Needless to say, the public availability of the “crypto-anarchist”’s blueprints is dangerous and there is no question why the government has intervened.
By the time they were taken down, the blueprints had already been downloaded thousands of times. While Wilson is in the midst of his blueprint ban, he has launched a campaign to “uncensor DefCad.” His campaign aims to raise $400,000 and has already reached an astounding $140,000. Along with his fundraising campaign, Wilson published a video which is a collection of news clips. The ominous video puts forth concerning statements such as “I’m going to make them kill your internet” and “you don’t get to vote me out.”
DEFCAD is a startup based in Austin which serves the specific purpose of searching and developing 3D printable models. Wilson and Defense Distributed own and operate DEFCAD. As of now, the site is not operational. Though, Wilson feels optimistic that it will soon be back to business as usual.
This occurrence is raising polarized views. Should the distribution of 3D gun and gun part blueprints be legal? Gun control activists have formed a clear stance against the circulation of this type of blueprints. Though, Wilson and his following feel differently.