Please To PGP (Guide for Linux, OS X, Windows)

PGPi is the Bitcoin standardii in encrypted communication.

Why? Because, unlike basically everything else out there,iii it uses cryptography that actually works and it lends itself naturally to a built-in reputation system called the Web of Trust (WoT). The authority on the matter, Mircea Popescu, has even gone so far as to say:

As long as you use GPG, you’re an individual, and can be interacted with as such. As long as you use anything else, including nothing at all, you’re not, and whatever you may like to think or claim, can never actually be interacted with as an individual, except if you live in a 1900s reenaction camp where the internet doesn’t exist.

Suffice to say that, more than just being incredibly fucking important, PGP is sine qua non for extracting oneself from the clutches of socialistoids.

PGP isn’t tamper-proof, but with a bit of due diligence, it’s a darned sight better than whatever else you’re currently using. PGP isn’t competing with perfect, no matter what the hatchetards say, it’s competing with everything else out there. PGP is simply the best thing going.

PGP’s strength is derived from its use of asymmetric cryptography to create public keys (pubkeys) and private keys (privkeys) to ensure that only the intended recipient can open your messages. Fundamentally, PGP works just like old fashioned postal mail.

Just as with snail mail, if I want to send you a message, I address it to your mailbox so that only you can open it, then drop it in the postbox for the mailman to deliver. Once you’ve received it in your mailbox, you open the box, and thence the message, with your key. If you want to send me a reply, you’ll address it to my mailbox, which I can then open with my key. And back and forth we go.

Now re-read the preceding paragraph with the following substitutions:


…and you’ve got a pretty good idea of where we’re going with PGP. This isn’t only powerful because it’s secure when used properly, it’s also powerful because it removes geography from the communication equation, and therefore perfectly complements Bitcoin’s removal of geography from the wealth equation.

So where do you start?

If you’re a Windows user, you don’t start. You stop. Now. Find something better, like, yesterday. Since you still maintain delusions of digital security, the rest of this PGP Guide will be directed at everyone else. Please to return when you’ve fixed your cranial haemorrhage.
___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Getting Started: Mac OS X ≥10.6 Users:

1. Download the GPGTools Suite from
2. Open the downloaded file.iv
3. During the installation, uncheck the GPGMail box.
4. Once installation is complete, open the new GPG Keychain app.
5. Create a new 4,096 bit keypair (under “Advanced Options”) tied to the e-mail address you intend to use for the next 5 years.
6. Enter a secure passphrase. It’s recommended that you use dice to generate this, as you would for a Bitcoin paper wallet.
7. Do some unrelated work while the key generates.
8. Voila! You now have a GPG keypair!
9. Click Key –> Send public key to Keyserver
10. Click Key –> Generate Revoke Certificatev
11. Join #bitcoin-assets on the IRC channel to register with gribble assbot and establish yourself in the WoT. This might seem optional, but it really isn’t.

For e-mail purposes, though this isn’t recommended, if you don’t want to use the command line functions in Terminal (on which more is found below) to sign, encrypt, and decrypt messages, you can download the Thunderbird e-mail client and install the add-on Enigmail (v1.6 or ealier).vi

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

Getting Started: Mac OS X 10.2-10.6/Linux/Command Line Users:vii

1. Download GnuPG 1.4 from
2. Install using package manager.viii
3. Install program.
4. Open command line application (Terminal for Mac)
5. Type “gpg –gen-key [enter]”
6. Follow the prompts to create a new 4,096 bit RSA keypair tied to the e-mail address you intend to use for the next 5 years.
7. Enter a secure passphrase. It’s recommended that you use dice to generate this, as you would for a Bitcoin paper wallet.
8. Do some unrelated work while the key generates.
9. Voila! You now have a GPG keypair!
10. Type “gpg –keyserver –send-key [enter]” to upload your key to the keyserver
11. Type “gpg –gen-revoke [enter]” to create a revocation certificate.
12. Join #bitcoin-assets on the IRC channel to register with gribble assbot and establish yourself in the WoT. This might seem optional, but it really isn’t.

___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

PGP In Praxis: Command Line Users:ix

1. To encrypt plaintext file “message.txt” as cyphertextx file “message.txt.gpg” for recipient “” :

gpg –output [message.txt.gpg] –encrypt –recipient [] [message.txt]

2. To sign and encrypt plaintext file “message.txt” as .gpg cyphertext file “message.txt.gpg” for recipient “” :

gpg –output [message.txt.gpg] –encrypt –sign –recipient []

3. To clearsign and encrypt plaintext file “message.txt” as .asc cyphertext file “message.txt.asc” for recipient “” :

gpg –output [message.txt.gpg] –encrypt –clearsign –recipient []

4. To decrypt cyphertext file “message.txt.gpg” :

gpg –output [message.txt] –decrypt [message.txt.gpg]

5. To import someone else’s public key that you’ve downloaded:

gpg –import [keyfile.asc] 

6. To verify a signature:

gpg –verify [message.sig] 

 7. To generate a short list of numbers that you can use as an alternative method to verify a public key:

gpg –fingerprint

8. To export your private key as private.key :xi

gpg –export-secret-key -a [your privkey]

9. To import your private key:

gpg –allow-secret-key-import –import private.key

10. To add the public key of someone for whom you have a Key ID (fingerprint) but don’t have their public key block:

gpg –recv-keys [Key ID]

 ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ 

Well done, you’re that much closer to becoming an individual.

Please to start mattering.

___ ___ ___

  1. OpenPGP is the standard and GPG is the GNU (a Unix-like OS) implementation built thereupon. For better or worse, I use these terms interchangeably. []
  2. What gold standard? []
  3. The default assumption is that everything else out there is NSA-sponsored or otherwise USG-vulnerable. This heuristic has served us very well thus far. []
  4. After confirming the checksum: SHA-1: ac7a636bfee1027d8f43a12a82eea54e7566dcb8 and verifying the GPG Suite GPG Signature. For more on how and why you should verify signatures and checksums, see the Tor Project article on the subject. []
  5. This is used to notify others that your key has been lost, stolen, or otherwise compromised. Save this file to a USB key and store it in a secure place. []
  6. For other PGP uses, including #bitcoin-assets, the GPGTools Suite also includes “GPG Services,” which allow you to right-click or use keyboard hotkeys to sign/encrypt/decrypt messages. This can be turned on under System Preferences –> Keyboard –> Services and checking the OpenPGP boxes. GPG Services is by and large a steaming pile of shit. It’s only redeeming function is for decoding strings used to authenticate with gribble assbot. []
  7. N.B. All commands start with “gpg” and are followed by two dashes then the instructions. It just looks like one dash with this font… []
  8. After confirming the checksums and checking the provided GPG Signature. See footnote iv. []
  9. This should be all of you. It’s a muscle, this, and needs to be worked out as such. []
  10. The gibberish-looking stuff that only your intended recipient can decode. Once you’ve encrypted a message with someone else’s pubkey, not even you can re-open it since you don’t have the privkey. []
  11. Have a back-up in a secure location. []

32 thoughts on “Please To PGP (Guide for Linux, OS X, Windows)

  1. […] is that MP proposes that photographs of the iris could be used by smartphones to seed RNG for PGP key generation, a potential ce qui rachète for biometric scanners. Stan plays […]

  2. […] this means Bitcoin, IRC, and PGP. That’s it. That’s the definitive threshold with which conversations can be […]

  3. […] is Bitcoin, the Internet, PGP, the WoT, and the only means by which individuation is possible in computer times. Full […]

  4. […] in the WoT and those who’ve completed their IRC Yeshiva, that is, those with a PGP key registered with bitcoin-otc and those that’ve spent at least 6 months reading […]

  5. […] WoT entails PGP. This Guide will help you. […]

  6. […] See Please To PGP (Guide for Linux, OS X, Windows)  [↩] […]

  7. […] on matters of infosec? What am I gonna do, argue that iPads are totally legit storage devices for PGP keys? No, so I defer to the experts, quietly fiddling with the edges here and there, slowly accumulating […]

  8. […] Adobe e-signatures instead of PGP. Seriously now. Unyoke yo’self. […]

  9. […] expanding its ranks. 2. PGP/GPG: despite malicious attempts at misinformation, the use of the gold standard in encrypted communication and digital identity confirmation persisted and likely even […]

  10. […] you’ll do is drive anyone with two brain cells and a spare nickel straight towards our little cryptographic safe haven in the sky. Now how’s that for driving adoption? […]

  11. […] idea, whole-disk encryption doesn’t work like it says on the box. You’re better off using PGP to encrypt on a file-by-file […]

  12. […] Today's announcement is surely a cause for concern for anyone who was foolish enough to believe private messages sent and received on Bitcoin Talk were actually private. […]

  13. […] “encrypted communication” app on your iOS device ? Not progress. My PGP. Progress. […]

  14. […] there exists the ability to transmit uninterdictable communication (PGP) and value (Bitcoin) at a piddling fraction of what these would’ve cost just 100 years ago, […]

  15. […] part of this movement is quite evidently intended to sweep up the individuals – that is, those who would control their own computers and their geographicless fates along […]

  16. […] a space suit when you can’t handle 10 steps to make a paper wallet or create and register a PGP key ? Seriously. Space is obscenely, impossibly, literally nauseatingly demanding even for the most […]

  17. […] but it deserves renewed consideration in light of the Bitcoin-powered death of geography and the birth of cryptographically secured individualism, which is to say, the dissolution of the group and the complete disbanding of the […]

  18. […] and properly attributing me as its author. To notify me of this, despite all the “blah blah PGP, Bitcoin, and encryption are the future blah blah” on his blog, he sent me a plaintext […]

  19. Clayton says:

    You can tell this was written by a *nix fan boy with absolutely 0 security experience. I can exploit most *nix boxes faster than Windows ones through remote services.

    • Most *nix boxen != all nix boxen. Compare and contrast with all Winbloze boxen being sieves all of the time and you have my reason for not touching Microshit with a 10-foot pole.

      But since you’re such a security expert and your skills are so impressive, how come I don’t see “Clayton” in the WoT ? Too busy ?

  20. […] in person, particularly in my sub-field of building material manufacturing and distribution. So learn to PGP for crissake! […]

  21. […] as if they were somehow scarce and costly to produce at scale. Y’know, like PGP keys or something. I mean, what’s wrong with just deleting a comment that looks like spam ? […]

  22. […] Compare this mildly tragic fate with Rao’s “tinkerers” and we see that the latter are little more than optimistic artists who put their stupid paws where they don’t belong because “it’s the will of the community” and other related nonsense. “Tinkerers” like this, incidentally, blinded by the “follow your heart” myth as they are, are being hoisted upon the petard of the emerging software paradigm of PGP-signed releases, and as such, aren’t long for this individually responsible world. […]

  23. […] ? And if John Bull were useful enough, meaningful enough, or even alive enough to qualify for a !rate, would I give him a -1, -5, or the deadly -10 ? And what note would I attach, “poof,” […]

  24. […] someone,” or “affected elitism,” it’s in fact what the bar looks like for individuals. That you’re nowhere near the bar is your problem : you, the […]

  25. […] Bingo Boingo’s handy guide not the mention the Contravex guide. Mac users should also check out this GPG Tools tutorial. […]

  26. […] are still free, even encouraged to PGP addresses to one another. Plaintext transmission of addresses probably isn’t the end of the […]

  27. […] serious digital communication, there’s still no alternative for PGP predicated on the WoT. The rest is just a sand castle waiting for a […]

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