Amir Taaki

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Amir Taaki
Taaki in Bratislava, 2012
Born (1988-02-06) February 6, 1988 (age 31)
Military career
Years of service2015
Battles/warsSyrian Civil War

Amir Taaki (Persian: امیر تاکی‎; born 6 February 1988) is a British-Iranian anarchist revolutionary, hacktivist, and programmer who is known for his leading role in the bitcoin project, and for pioneering many open source projects.[1][2] Forbes listed Taaki in their top 30 entrepreneurs of 2014.[3][4][5][6] Driven by the political philosophy of the Rojava revolution, Taaki traveled to Syria, served in the YPG military, and worked in Rojava's civil society on various economic projects for a year and a half.[7]


Early years[edit]

Amir Taaki was born 6 February 1988[8] in London, the eldest of three children of a Scottish-English[9] mother and an Iranian father who is a property developer. From an early age Taaki took an interest in computer technology, teaching himself computer programming.[10]

Free software[edit]

After briefly attending three British universities,[9] Taaki gravitated to the free software movement. Taaki assisted in the creation of SDL Collide, an extension of Simple DirectMedia Layer, an open source library used by video game developers.[11]

In 2006, Taaki became heavily involved in Crystal Space development under the pseudonym of genjix.[12] He also developed a number of video games making use of free software, including the adventure game Crystal Core[13] and the futuristic racer game Ecksdee.[14] Taaki was also a participant in the Blender project Yo Frankie!.[15]

Taaki was a speaker at the 2007 Games Convention in Leipzig.


In 2009 and 2010, Taaki made his living as a professional poker player.[10] His experience with online gambling attracted him to the bitcoin project.[16] He founded a UK bitcoin exchange called "Britcoin", which was succeeded in 2011 by a new British exchange called Intersango, in which he was a principal developer,[17] which was closed after their UK bank account was restricted following an investigation by Metro Bank.[18]

In April 2011, Taaki and Donald Norman established the Bitcoin Consultancy, a group focused on bitcoin project development.[19]

Taaki created the first full reimplementation of the bitcoin protocol named libbitcoin,[20] worked on the bitcoin client Electrum[21][22] and created other command line utilities around bitcoin and the network.[23] The bitcoin standardisation procedure (Bitcoin Improvement Proposals or BIPs) was started by Taaki.[24]

In 2014, together with Cody Wilson, he launched the Dark Wallet project after a crowdfunding run on IndieGoGo which raised over $50,000.[25][26][27] Taaki, along with other developers from Airbitz, a bitcoin software company, created a prototype for a decentralised marketplace called "DarkMarket" in 2014, at a hackathon in Toronto,[28] which was forked into the OpenBazaar project.[29]


Taaki has been outspoken in favour of Internet activism such as Anonymous, likening them to modern day freedom-fighters.[30] A long-time contributor to free software, he advocates total data freedom.[19] Taaki has labelled censorship policies as being a wedge towards ever-increasing censorship.[30] He proposes a shift away from specialist thinking towards a creative society of generalist knowledge workers.[31]

Taaki is a speaker of Esperanto, which he promotes as an auxiliary country-neutral international language to preserve local languages. He writes that Esperanto serves to break down barriers and help the flow of media across cultural boundaries.[32]

Amir Taaki formerly lived in an anarchist squat in Barcelona, Spain.[33] As of 2013, he resided in an anarchist squat in the former anti-G8 HQ building in London, England.[34][35]


In 2015, Taaki went to Rojava (Syrian Kurdistan) to offer his skills to the revolution, and served the YPG military.[36] He had no training, but spent three and a half months in the YPG military fighting on the front. He was then discharged and worked in the civil society for over a year on various projects for Rojava's economics committee.


In February 2018, Taaki created a group in Catalonia dedicated to leveraging blockchain technology to help national liberation causes such as the Catalan independence movement.[37]


  1. ^ J.J. Colao. "Amir Taaki, 25 - In Photos: 2014 30 under 30: Technology". Forbes.
  2. ^ "Hacktivists in the frontline battle for the internet". The Guardian. London. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2012.
  3. ^ "Forbes 30 Under 30". Forbes. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Meet the world's next billionaires - from Mashable's Pete Cashmore to Bitcoin renegade Amir Taaki". The Independent.
  5. ^ "The UK entrepreneurs on Forbes list of people likely to join ranks of mega-rich - Daily Mail Online". Mail Online.
  6. ^ Sadie Nicholas. "Britain's under-30s tipped to be the nation's next billionaires".
  7. ^ Susannah Butter. "Tech enigma Amir Taaki on Forbes and fighting Isis in Syria".
  8. ^ "Amir Taaki". Companies House. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  9. ^ a b Herrmann, Joshi (29 January 2014). "Silicon Roundabout's not for him: meet super-hacker, master coder and Bitcoin boy Amir Taaki in his Hackney squat". Retrieved 30 June 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Speakers 2011," 11th International EPCA Summit, European Payments Consulting Association, Retrieved 11 October 2011.
  11. ^ "SDL_Collide". SourceForge. 8 Jan 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  12. ^ "Blender & CrystalSpace" in Blender Conference 2006, Youtube.
  13. ^ "Pablo Martin Moreno and Amir Taaki," Archived 19 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Blender Conference 2006 Proceedings, Blender
  14. ^ "Conference 2006". Crystal Space. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  15. ^ Yo Frankie developer list,
  16. ^ James Ball, "Bitcoins: how do they work?" The Guardian, 22 June 2011.
  17. ^ "About Us: Personal Statements," Intersango,
  18. ^ "Intersango Status Update"
  19. ^ a b "Amir Taaki Answers Your Questions About Bitcoin," Slashdot, 22 June 2011.
  20. ^ "spesmilo/libbitcoin". Archived from the original on 3 Oct 2018.
  21. ^ "Commits · spesmilo/electrum-server · GitHub". GitHub. Retrieved 3 Oct 2018.
  22. ^ "Commits · spesmilo/electrum · GitHub". GitHub. Retrieved 3 Oct 2018.
  23. ^ "subvertx command line utilities (proof of concept using libbitcoin)".
  24. ^ Dioquino, Vince (31 Jan 2018). "Decentralized marketplace OpenBazaar integrates with Bitcoin Cash". CoinGeek. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  25. ^ Del Castillo, Michael (24 September 2013). "Dark Wallet: A Radical Way to Bitcoin". The New Yorker. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  26. ^ Greenberg, Andy (31 October 2013). "Dark Wallet Aims To Be The Anarchist's Bitcoin App of Choice". Forbes Online. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  27. ^ Greenberg, Andy (29 April 2014). "'Dark Wallet' Is About to Make Bitcoin Money Laundering Easier Than Ever". Wired. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  28. ^ "DarkMarket Team Win Toronto Bitcoin Expo Hackathon". CoinDesk.
  29. ^ Greenberg, Andy (24 April 2014). "Inside the 'DarkMarket' Prototype, a Silk Road the FBI Can Never Seize". Wired. Retrieved 23 August 2014.
  30. ^ a b YouTube.
  31. ^ "N-1". Archived from the original on 2012-03-13.
  32. ^ Archived 11 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine Esperanto page
  33. ^ "Amir Taaki and the Dark Wallet". IHB.
  34. ^ Siddique, Haroon (11 June 2013). "G8: riot police enter central London building occupied by protesters". Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  35. ^ Copestake, Jen (19 September 2014). "Hiding currency in the Dark Wallet". Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  36. ^ Greenberg, Andy (29 Mar 2017). "How an anarchist Bitcoin coder found himself fighting ISIS in Syria". Wired. Retrieved 4 October 2018.
  37. ^ Volpicelli, Gian (6 Mar 2018). "Amir fought Isis in Syria, now he's enlisting an army of hacker monks to save bitcoin from itself". wired. Retrieved 3 Oct 2018.

Further reading[edit]

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