Cody Rutledge Wilson (born January 31, 1988) is an American crypto-anarchist, free-market anarchist, and gun-rights activist, best known as a founder/director of Defense Distributed, a non-profit organization that develops and publishes open source gun designs, so-called "wiki weapons", suitable for 3D printing. He is a co-founder of the Dark Wallet bitcoin storage technology.
Defense Distributed gained international notoriety in 2013 when it published plans online for the Liberator, a functioning pistol that could be reproduced with a 3D printer. Wilson is regarded as one of America's most influential gun rights advocates, and Wired Magazine's "Danger Room" named him one of "The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World" in 2012. In 2015, Wired named Wilson the fifth most dangerous person on the Internet.
Early life and education
Wilson graduated from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) with a bachelor's degree in English in 2010, where he had a scholarship. While at UCA, Wilson was a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and was elected president of UCA's Student Government Association. He also traveled to China with UCA's study-abroad program.
He is a former student
In 2012, Wilson and associates at Defense Distributed initiated the Wiki Weapon Project to raise funds for designing and releasing the files for a 3D printable gun. Wilson is, to date, the only spokesperson on behalf of the organization, of which he describes himself as "co-founder" and "director".
Learning of his organization's plans, manufacturer Stratasys threatened legal action and demanded the return of a 3D printer it had leased to Wilson. Stratasys immediately cancelled its lease with Wilson and sent a team to confiscate the printer the next day.
While visiting the ATF enforcement office in Austin to inquire about legalities related to his project, Wilson was subsequently interrogated by the officers there.
In May 2013, Wilson successfully test-fired a pistol, called "the Liberator", reportedly made by a Stratasys Dimension series 3D printer bought on eBay. The State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance then demanded that he remove it, threatening prosecution. They claimed he was violating regulations against the international export of unapproved arms.
On May 6, 2015, Defense Distributed and the gun rights group the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit against the State Department claiming a violation of their first amendment rights to free speech.
In 2013, Wilson, along with Amir Taaki, began work on a Bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet called 'Dark Wallet', a project by which he plans to help anonymize financial transactions. He appeared in support of the 'Dark Wallet' project at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in 2014, speaking to publications such as ReasonTV.
On U.S. election day, November 4, 2014, Wilson announced in an interview that he would stand for election to a seat on the Board of Directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, with "the sole purpose of destroying the Foundation." And Wilson stated: "I will run on a platform of the complete dissolution of the Bitcoin Foundation and will begin and end every single one of my public statements with that message."
Political and economic views
Wilson claims an array of influences from anti-state and libertarian political thinkers, including leftist market anarchists like the mutualist scholar Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, capitalist libertarians such as the Austrian School scholar Hans-Herman Hoppe, and classical liberals including Frederic Bastiat.
On American gun politics
Asked during an interview with Popular Science if the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting had affected his thinking or plans in any way, Wilson responded:<blockquote>"... understanding that rights and civil liberties are something that we protect is also understanding that they have consequences that are also protected, or tolerated. The exercise of civil liberties is antithetical to the idea of a completely totalizing state. That's just the way it is."</blockquote>
- Come and Take It: The Gun Printer's Guide to Thinking Free (2016) Simon & Schuster
- As himself
- After Newtown: Guns in America (2013)
- Print the Legend (2014)
- Deep Web (2015)
- No Control (2015)
- The New Radical (2017)