Cody R. Wilson can be a polarizing figure. He is, after all, known in many circles as a free-market anarchist, a crypto-anarchist, and gun-rights activist, any one of which will have its fair share of supporters and critics.
He is, furthermore, gaining fame – or infamy, depending on which side of the fence you are on – as the founder and director of Defense Distributed. The non-profit organization develops and publishes open-source gun designs that can be printed using a standard 3D printer particularly a Stratasys Dimension series 3D printer.
Defense Distributed first came into mainstream attention in 2013 with its online publication of the plans for Liberator, a fully-functioning firearm that can be created with a standard 3D printer. Wilson and his associates were the brains behind the Wiki Weapon Project, which had the aim of designing and publishing the files for the Liberator.
Due to his invention, Wilson is considered by Wired Magazines as one of “The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World” in its Danger Room compilation. In 2015, he was also named by Wired Magazine as the fifth most dangerous person on the Internet. Both recognitions only reinforced Wilson’s renown as a gun-rights advocate.
Wilson has had his share of troubles for his views and activities especially in relation to his 3D-printable gun designs. For one thing, he was threatened with legal action by Stratasys upon learning of his plan to use its 3D printer for what would eventually become the Liberator. For another thing, he was interrogated by the ATF for his activities.
But all’s well that ends well. Wilson was issued a Federal Firearms License (FFL), which allowed him to manufacture and deal in guns.
Wilson is also expanding his wings into the Bitcoin industry. In 2013, he co-founded Dark Wallet, a Bitcoin wallet designed to provide greater anonymity to financial transactions.