Wilson in Austin 2012
Cody Rutledge Wilson
January 31, 1988
|Alma mater||University of Central Arkansas (B.A., 2010)|
|Occupation||Director of Defense Distributed|
|Known for||Defense Distributed|
Cody Rutledge Wilson (born January 31, 1988) is an American crypto-anarchist, free-market anarchist, and gun-rights activist. He is best known as a founder and former director of Defense Distributed, a non-profit organization that develops and publishes open source gun designs, so-called "wiki weapons", suitable for 3D printing and digital manufacture. He is a co-founder of the Dark Wallet bitcoin storage technology.
Wired Magazine's "Danger Room" named Wilson one of "The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World" in 2012. In 2015 and 2017 Wired named Wilson one of the five most dangerous people on the Internet. In September 2018, he was charged with sexual assault of a minor, in Austin, Texas, and was subsequently arrested in Taiwan.
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 traveled to China with UCA's study-abroad program.
In 2012, Wilson and associates at Defense Distributed started the Wiki Weapon Project to raise funds for designing and releasing the files for a 3D printable gun. At the time Wilson was the project's only spokesperson; he called himself "co-founder" and "director."
Learning of Defense Distributed's plans, manufacturer Stratasys threatened legal action and demanded the return of a 3D printer it had leased to Wilson. On September 26, 2012, before the printer was assembled for use, Wilson received an email from Stratasys suggesting he was using the printer "for illegal purposes". Stratasys immediately cancelled its lease with Wilson and sent a team to confiscate the printer.
While visiting the office of the ATF in Austin to inquire about legalities related to his project, Wilson was interrogated by the officers there. Six months later, he was issued a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to manufacture and deal.
In May 2013, Wilson successfully test-fired a pistol called "the Liberator" that reportedly was made using a Stratasys Dimension series 3D printer purchased on eBay. After test firing, Wilson released the blueprints of the gun's design online through a Defense Distributed website. The State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance demanded that Wilson remove the files, threatening prosecution for violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
On May 6, 2015, Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit against the State Department claiming a violation of their First Amendment rights to free speech. On July 10, 2018, it was reported that the company won this lawsuit and would begin again its work at DEFCAD.
In 2013, Wilson, along with Amir Taaki, began work on a Bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet called Dark Wallet, a project by which he planned to help anonymize financial transactions. He appeared on behalf of the Dark Wallet project at the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in 2014.
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."
Wilson launched a website in 2017 to provide crowdfunding and payment services for groups and individuals who were banned from platforms such as Kickstarter, Patreon, PayPal, and Stripe. His site went live in August 2017 and attracted high-profile alt-right and neo-Nazi figures, including Andrew Anglin and Richard B. Spencer. While Wilson said that Hatreon clients included "right-wing women, people of color, and transgender people," Bloomberg News reported that most of the donations went to white supremacists. According to Hannah Shearer, staff attorney at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Hatreon users were inciting violence contrary to Hatreon’s terms of service, which forbid illegal activity.
The site claimed to have received about $25,000 a month in donations, an amount that was "doubling from month to month." Hatreon took a 5-percent cut of donations. Within several months of Hatreon's launch, the site's payments processor, Visa, suspended its financial services. Without the means to process payments, the site became inactive.
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. His political thought has been compared to the "conservative revolutionary" ideas of Ernst Jünger. Jacob Siegel wrote that "Cody Wilson arrives at a place where left, right—and democracy—disappear" and that he oscillates "somewhere between anarch and anarchist."
Wilson is an avowed crypto-anarchist, and has discussed his work in relation to the cypherpunks and Timothy May's vision. He frequently cites the work of post-Marxist thinkers in public comments, especially that of Jean Baudrillard, whom he has claimed as his "master."
Asked during an interview with Popular Science if the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting affected his thinking or plans in any way, Wilson responded, "... 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."
Wilson is generally opposed to intellectual property rights. He has indicated that although his primary goal is the subversion of state-structures, he also hopes that his contributions may help to dismantle the existing system of capitalist property relations.
In a January 2013 interview with Glenn Beck on the nature of and motivations behind his effort to develop and share gun 3D printable files Wilson said, "That's a real political act, giving you a magazine, telling you that it will never be taken away. ... That's real politics. That's radical equality. That's what I believe in. ... I'm just resisting. What am I resisting? I don't know, the collectivization of manufacture? The institutionalization of the human psyche? I'm not sure. But I can tell you one thing: this is a symbol of irreversibility. They can never eradicate the gun from the earth."
Sexual assault charge
In September 2018, charges were filed against Wilson for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl (claiming she was 18) he met on SugarDaddyMeet, a website that matches older men with younger women. He is accused of committing a second-degree felony after paying $500 to the girl for sex in a hotel room in Austin, Texas in August 2018. Austin police said they were alerted by a counselor who had been working with the girl.
It was reported that after Wilson, told that a police investigation was underway by a friend of the girl, fled to Taipei, Taiwan, which does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S. However, Wilson was subsequently arrested in Taiwan by local police and handed to the National Immigration Agency (NIA), charged with a immigration violation as his passport was revoked by the U.S. government. He was deported on September 22, 2018 and was booked by the United States Marshals Service in Harris County Jail in Houston, Texas on September 23, 2018. He was released after posting a $150,000 bond.
- 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)
- Kopfstein, Janus (April 12, 2013). "What happens when 3D printing and crypto-anarchy collide?". The Verge. Retrieved May 8, 2013.
- Pangburn, DJ (September 13, 2013). "Whistleblowers and the Crypto-Anarchist Underground: An Interview with Andy Greenberg". Motherboard.tv. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Doherty, Brian (December 12, 2012). "What 3-D Printing Means for Gun Rights". Reason. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Brown, Rich (September 7, 2012). "You don't bring a 3D printer to a gun fight - yet". News.yahoo.com. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- "Exclusive: How Dark Wallet's Cody Wilson hopes to use democracy to undo the Bitcoin Foundation". Upstart Business Journal. 4 November 2014.
- Greenberg, Andy (May 7, 2013). "Meet The 'Liberator': Test-Firing The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Gun". Forbes. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Morelle, Rebecca (May 6, 2013). "Working gun made with 3D printer". BBC News. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- Hutchinson, Lee (May 3, 2013). "The first entirely 3D-printed handgun is here". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 30, 2013.
- "30 Influential Pro-Gun Rights Advocates". USACarry.com. May 20, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013.
- "The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World". Wired. December 19, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- "The Most Dangerous People on the Internet Right Now". Wired. January 1, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2015.
- "The Most Dangerous People on the Internet in 2017". Wired. December 28, 2017. Retrieved July 2, 2018.
- "Man at center of 3D-printed gun dispute charged with child sex assault". CBS News. September 19, 2018.
- Matisse, Nathan (September 21, 2018). "Taiwanese authorities arrest Cody Wilson, intend to deport him". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
- Danny Yadron (1 January 2014). "Cody Wilson Rattled Lawmakers With Plastic Gun, Now on to Bitcoin Transactions - WSJ". WSJ.
- "Document: Cody Wilson: troll, genius, patriot, provocateur, anarchist, attention whore, gun nut or Second Amendment champion?". Cqrcengage.com. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
- Del Castillo, Michael (September 24, 2013). "Dark Wallet: A Radical Way to Bitcoin". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on September 25, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
- Dillow, Clay (December 21, 2012). "Q+A: Cody Wilson Of The Wiki Weapon Project On The 3-D Printed Future of Firearms". Popular Science. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- Greenberg, Andy (August 23, 2012). "'Wiki Weapon Project' Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home". Forbes. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- Beckhusen, Robert (October 1, 2012). "3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith". Wired News. Retrieved October 4, 2012.
- Hotz, Alexander (November 25, 2012). "3D 'Wiki Weapon' guns could go into testing by end of year, maker claims". The Guardian. Retrieved January 14, 2013.
- Coldewey, Devin (October 2, 2012). "3-D printed gun project derailed by legal woes". NBC News. Retrieved December 15, 2012.
- Farivar, Cyrus (March 17, 2013). "3D-printed gun maker now has federal firearms license to manufacture, deal guns". Ars Technica. Retrieved May 7, 2013.
- Rayner, Alex (May 6, 2013). "3D-printable guns are just the start, says Cody Wilson". The Guardian. Retrieved May 6, 2013.
- Brown, Steven Rex (May 13, 2013). "Man who used 3-D printer to create gun hopes efforts can 'destroy the spirit of gun control itself'". Daily News. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
- Andy Greenberg (9 May 2013). "State Department Demands Takedown Of 3D-Printable Gun Files For Possible Export Control Violations". Forbes.
- "3-D Printed Gun Lawsuit Starts the War Between Arms Control and Free Speech". WIRED. 6 May 2015.
- Greenberg, Andy (July 10, 2018). "A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora's Box for DIY Guns". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028.
- "Defense Distributed's new era—Cody Wilson resigns, former arts professional steps in". Ars Technica. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
- Greenberg, Andy (October 31, 2013). "Dark Wallet Aims To Be The Anarchist's Bitcoin App Of Choice". Forbes. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- Feuer, Alan (December 14, 2013). "The Bitcoin Ideology". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "Cody Wilson: Happiness is a 3-D Printed Gun". ReasonTV - Youtube.com. April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- del Castillo, Michael (November 4, 2014). "Exclusive: Cody Wilson to run for Bitcoin Foundation board, plans its destruction". American City Business Journals. Retrieved November 12, 2014.
- Popescu, Adam (2017-12-04). "This Crowdfunding Site Runs on Hate". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2017-12-18.
- Bonazzo, John (2017-08-07). "The Alt-Right Is Now Using 'Hatreon' to Crowdfund Its Projects". Observer. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
- Rosenberg, Yair (2017-11-14). "The Success of 'Hatreon' Shows Us Why Kicking Bigots Off Social Platforms Doesn't Solve the Problem". Tablet Magazine. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
- Fox, Megan. "Alt-Tech Bad Boy Cody Wilson Explains Hatreon, an Alternative to Online Censorship". PJ Media. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
- Hicks, William. "MEET HATREON, THE NEW FAVORITE WEBSITE OF THE ALT-RIGHT". Newsweek. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
- "'Hatreon' is The new Crowdfunding platform For The alt-right". usa today. Retrieved 18 December 2017.
- Kestenbaum, Sam (2017-08-04). "IndieGoGo Is All Good, But Where Do Neo-Nazis Go To Crowdfund?". The Forward. Retrieved 2017-11-26.
- "Cody Rutledge Wilson". Southern Poverty Law Center.
Hatreon processing was suspended by Visa in November.
- Michel, Casey (2018-03-13). "White supremacists' favorite fundraising site may be imploding". ThinkProgress.
- Steele, Chandra (May 9, 2013). "Dismantle the State: Q&A With 3D Gun Printer Cody Wilson". PC Magazine. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- Ostroff, Joshua (March 12, 2013). "'Wiki Weapons' Maker Cody Wilson Says 3D Printed Guns 'Are Going To Be Possible Forever'". Huffington Post. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
- Siegel, Jacob (May 1, 2018). "Send Anarchists, Guns, and Money". The Baffler. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- "How This 'Crypto-Anarchist' Could Completely Destroy Gun Control". The Daily Wire. October 16, 2017. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
- Moretti, Eddy (April 9, 2013). "Cody Wilson on 3D Printed Guns". VICE MEETS. Season 1. VICE. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- "Cody Wilson Wants to Destroy Your World". Wired. March 11, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Wilson, Cody (August 23, 2017). "Silicon Valley Struggle Sessions". Jacobite. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Sackur, Stephen (March 11, 2014). "Cody Wilson". BBC HARDtalk. Season 17. BBC. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- "Barack Obama Is A Grocery Clerk! A Fraud And A Salesman Used To Sell You Something On TV". BBC. March 12, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
- Wilson (January 18, 2013). "Wiki Weapons Founder: "They can never eradicate the gun from the Earth"". Glenn Beck. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
- Hsu, Tiffany (September 19, 2018). "3-D Printed Gun Promoter, Cody Wilson, Is Charged With Sexual Assault of Child". The New York Times. Retrieved December 3, 2018.
- Dreyfuss, Emily; Lapowsky, Issie (19 September 2018). "DIY Gun Activist Cody Wilson Accused of Child Sexual Assault". Wired. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
- Owen, Tess (September 19, 2018). "3D-printed gun activist Cody Wilson charged with sexual assault of a minor". Vice. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
- "Taiwan police arrest American 3D-printed gun maker Cody Wilson". Taiwan News. September 21, 2018. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
- Lee, Yimou (September 23, 2018). "Texan running 3-D printed guns company sent back to U.S. by Taiwan authorities". U.S. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
- "3-D printed gun advocate Cody Wilson bonds out of jail in Houston after arrest in Taiwan". Houston Chronicle. 2018-09-23. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
- "3D-printed gun activist Cody Wilson released from Harris County Jail". Fox 26 Houston. Retrieved 2018-09-24.
- Wilson, Cody (2016). Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781476778266. OCLC 934432718.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cody Wilson.|
- "Click. Print. Gun." Motherboard (VICE Media.) (March 25, 2013) (Video broadcast)
- "Cody Wilson" TheBlaze.com (January 17, 2013) (Video broadcast)
- "Cody Wilson: troll, genius, patriot, provocateur, anarchist, attention whore, gun nut or Second Amendment champion?" Arkansas Times (January 9, 2014)
- "Free Guns For Everyone! The Printable Gun with Cody Wilson." Anarchy Gumbo Podcast (One-hour audio interview, Cody's first interview, done before the printable gun existed) (August 9, 2012)