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Cody Rutledge Wilson (born January 31, 1988) is an American crypto-anarchist,[1][2] free-market anarchist, and gun-rights activist,[3] 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 and digital manufacture.[4][5] He is a co-founder of the Dark Wallet bitcoin storage technology.[6]

Cody Wilson
Cody Wilson.jpg
Wilson in Austin 2012
Born Cody Rutledge Wilson
(1988-01-31) January 31, 1988 (age 30)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Residence Austin, Texas
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Central Arkansas (B.A., 2010)
Occupation Director of Defense Distributed
Known for Defense Distributed

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,[7][8][9] allowing it to pass through metal detectors easier but not completely as the firing pin, spring and bullet are still made from metal.

Wired Magazine's "Danger Room" named Wilson one of "The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World" in 2012.[10][11] In 2015 and 2017 Wired named Wilson one of the five most dangerous people on the Internet.[12][13]


Early life and educationEdit

Originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, Wilson was student body president at Cabot High School in Cabot, Arkansas; he graduated in 2006.

Wilson graduated from the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) with a bachelor's degree in English in 2010, where he had a scholarship.[14] 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.[15]

In 2012 he studied at the University of Texas School of Law, but left the university by 2013.[16][17]


Defense DistributedEdit

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.[18] Wilson is, to date, the only spokesperson on behalf of the organization, of which he describes himself as "co-founder" and "director".[19][20]

Learning of his organization's plans, manufacturer Stratasys threatened legal action and demanded the return of a 3D printer it had leased to Wilson.[19] 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".[19] Stratasys immediately cancelled its lease with Wilson and sent a team to confiscate the printer the next day.[19][21]

While visiting the ATF enforcement office in Austin to inquire about legalities related to his project, Wilson was subsequently interrogated by the officers there.[19] Six months later, he was issued a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to manufacture and deal.[22]

In May 2013, Wilson successfully test-fired a pistol, called "the Liberator", reportedly made by a Stratasys Dimension series 3D printer bought on eBay.[23] After test firing, Wilson released the blueprints of the gun's design online through a Defense Distributed website named DEFCAD.[24] The State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance then demanded that he remove the files, threatening prosecution for violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).[25]

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.[26] On July 10, 2018, it was reported that he won his lawsuit and is furthering work on DEFCAD.[27]

Dark WalletEdit

In 2013, Wilson, along with Amir Taaki, began work on a Bitcoin cryptocurrency wallet called 'Dark Wallet',[16][28][29] 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.[30]

Bitcoin FoundationEdit

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."[31]


In 2017, Wilson launched Hatreon, a crowdfunding site that provides crowdfunding and payment services for groups and individuals who have been banned from crowdfunders such as Kickstarter, Patreon, PayPal, and Stripe.[32] It is notable for featuring controversial alt-right personalities Andrew Anglin and Richard Spencer.[33][34][35][32] Wilson states that Hatreon clients include "right-wing women, people of color, and transgender people", but according to Adam Popescu of Bloomberg News, "most" of the donations go to "white supremacists".[32] As of December 2017, the site reports it receives about $25,000 a month in donations, but the amount "have been doubling from month to month". Hatreon takes a 5% cut of donations.[32]

According to Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, “Hatreon is very important to the financial functioning of the white supremacist movement.”[32] Another critic (Hannah Shearer, staff attorney at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence) claims that Hatreon users are inciting violence contrary to Hatreon’s terms of service which forbid illegal activity.[32]

Political and economic viewsEdit

Wilson claims an array of influences from anti-state and libertarian political thinkers,[36] including leftist market anarchists like the mutualist scholar Pierre-Joseph Proudhon,[23][37] capitalist libertarians such as the Austrian School scholar Hans-Herman Hoppe, and classical liberals including Frederic Bastiat.[3][36] His political thought has been compared to the "conservative revolutionary" ideas of Ernst Jünger.[38] 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."[38]

Wilson is an avowed crypto-anarchist, and has discussed his work in relation to the cypherpunks and Timothy May's vision.[39] He frequently cites the work of post-Marxist thinkers in public comments,[40] especially that of Jean Baudrillard, whom he has claimed as his "master."[41][42]

On American gun politicsEdit

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:

"... 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."[17]

On intellectual propertyEdit

Wilson is generally opposed to intellectual property rights.[43] 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.[44]

On subversion and resistanceEdit

During 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 offered:

"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."[45]

Journalist Brian Doherty of Reason described Wilson as "more than just a gun guy", adding that Wilson may be "right about how it has to end: the people will have the power."[46]



  • Come and Take It: The Gun Printer's Guide to Thinking Free (2016) Simon & Schuster[47]


As himself

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kopfstein, Janus (April 12, 2013). "What happens when 3D printing and crypto-anarchy collide?". The Verge. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Pangburn, DJ (September 13, 2013). "Whistleblowers and the Crypto-Anarchist Underground: An Interview with Andy Greenberg". Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  3. ^ Doherty, Brian (December 12, 2012). "What 3-D Printing Means for Gun Rights". Reason. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  4. ^ Brown, Rich (September 7, 2012). "You don't bring a 3D printer to a gun fight - yet". Retrieved October 6, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Exclusive: How Dark Wallet's Cody Wilson hopes to use democracy to undo the Bitcoin Foundation". Upstart Business Journal. 4 November 2014. 
  6. ^ Greenberg, Andy (May 7, 2013). "Meet The 'Liberator': Test-Firing The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Gun". Forbes. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  7. ^ Morelle, Rebecca (May 6, 2013). "Working gun made with 3D printer". BBC News. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  8. ^ Hutchinson, Lee (May 3, 2013). "The first entirely 3D-printed handgun is here". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 30, 2013. 
  9. ^ "30 Influential Pro-Gun Rights Advocates". May 20, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2013. 
  10. ^ "The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World". Wired. December 19, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013. 
  11. ^ "The Most Dangerous People on the Internet Right Now". Wired. January 1, 2015. Retrieved January 8, 2015. 
  12. ^ "The Most Dangerous People on the Internet in 2017". Wired. December 28, 2017. Retrieved July 2, 2018. 
  13. ^ Danny Yadron (1 January 2014). "Cody Wilson Rattled Lawmakers With Plastic Gun, Now on to Bitcoin Transactions - WSJ". WSJ. 
  14. ^ "Document: Cody Wilson: troll, genius, patriot, provocateur, anarchist, attention whore, gun nut or Second Amendment champion?". Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  15. ^ a b 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. 
  16. ^ a b 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. 
  17. ^ Greenberg, Andy (August 23, 2012). "'Wiki Weapon Project' Aims To Create A Gun Anyone Can 3D-Print At Home". Forbes. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  18. ^ a b c d e Beckhusen, Robert (October 1, 2012). "3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith". Wired News. Retrieved October 4, 2012. 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Coldewey, Devin (October 2, 2012). "3-D printed gun project derailed by legal woes". NBC News. Retrieved December 15, 2012. 
  21. ^ Farivar, Cyrus (March 17, 2013). "3D-printed gun maker now has federal firearms license to manufacture, deal guns". Ars Technica. Retrieved May 7, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Rayner, Alex (May 6, 2013). "3D-printable guns are just the start, says Cody Wilson". The Guardian. Retrieved May 6, 2013. 
  23. ^ 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. 
  24. ^ Andy Greenberg (9 May 2013). "State Department Demands Takedown Of 3D-Printable Gun Files For Possible Export Control Violations". Forbes. 
  25. ^ "3-D Printed Gun Lawsuit Starts the War Between Arms Control and Free Speech". WIRED. 6 May 2015. 
  26. ^ Greenberg, Andy (July 10, 2018). "A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora's Box for DIY Guns". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. 
  27. ^ Greenberg, Andy (October 31, 2013). "Dark Wallet Aims To Be The Anarchist's Bitcoin App Of Choice". Forbes. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  28. ^ Feuer, Alan (December 14, 2013). "The Bitcoin Ideology". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2012. 
  29. ^ "Cody Wilson: Happiness is a 3-D Printed Gun". ReasonTV - April 18, 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014. 
  30. ^ 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. 
  31. ^ a b c d e f Popescu, Adam (4 December 2017). "This Crowdfunding Site Runs on Hate". Bloomberg. Retrieved 18 December 2017. 
  32. ^ Fox, Megan. "Alt-Tech Bad Boy Cody Wilson Explains Hatreon, an Alternative to Online Censorship". PJ Media. Retrieved 15 October 2017. 
  33. ^ Hicks, William. "MEET HATREON, THE NEW FAVORITE WEBSITE OF THE ALT-RIGHT". Newsweek. Retrieved 15 October 2017. 
  34. ^ "'Hatreon' is The new Crowdfunding platform For The alt-right". usa today. Retrieved 18 December 2017. 
  35. ^ a b Steele, Chandra (May 9, 2013). "Dismantle the State: Q&A With 3D Gun Printer Cody Wilson". PC Magazine. Retrieved May 15, 2013. 
  36. ^ 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. 
  37. ^ a b Siegel, Jacob (May 1, 2018). "Send Anarchists, Guns, and Money". The Baffler. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  38. ^ "How This 'Crypto-Anarchist' Could Completely Destroy Gun Control". The Daily Wire. October 16, 2017. Retrieved July 10, 2018. 
  39. ^ Moretti, Eddy (April 9, 2013). "Cody Wilson on 3D Printed Guns". VICE MEETS. Season 1. VICE. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  40. ^ "Cody Wilson Wants to Destroy Your World". Wired. March 11, 2015. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  41. ^ Wilson, Cody (August 23, 2017). "Silicon Valley Struggle Sessions". Jacobite. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  42. ^ Sackur, Stephen (March 11, 2014). "Cody Wilson". BBC HARDtalk. Season 17. BBC. Retrieved July 7, 2018. 
  43. ^ "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. 
  44. ^ [1], January 17, 2013; accessed November 21, 2013
  45. ^ "3D Guns Advocate Cody Wilson is About More Than Weapons and That's What Most Frightens People About Him". Reason. December 19, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  46. ^ Wilson, Cody (2016). Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9781476778266. OCLC 934432718. 

External linksEdit