Joseph Poon, Lightning Network developer, has publicly stated today that Bitcoin Core has “a secret channel where they organize their PR and trolling campaigns.” He further stated that “many people have talked about it (more than 5 people) and it’s alluded to it in various places which are publicly accessible since it’s basically where a lot of decisions around PR happens.”
The statement was publicly made after some Blockstream employees accused Poon of bypassing the development process by going to the press. Poon said that he is “extremely upset that they are attacking me for going to the press when they participate in far more underhanded tactics, and all of Core knows full well what they’re doing if not actively contributing.”
We asked Poon to clarify, including naming the trolls and who organizes the trolling, but he said he’d “rather not escalate this, beyond my comment. I feel like it wouldn’t be helpful.”
It now seems clear that a schism has developed between Blockstream employees and Lightning Network developers following a proposal to increase on-chain capacity while facilitating second layer implementations like the Lightning Network.
Tensions have further considerably increased today following a statement by Gregory Maxwell, Blockstream’s CTO, where he called a mining optimization – AsicsBoost – as an attack on bitcoin.
Speculations regarding organized trollings by Blockstream specifically have been made for quite some time, especially after Alex Bergeron, better known on reddit as brg444, who constantly argued in favor of Blockstream in a somewhat trolling manner, was actually hired by Blockstream.
However, it is the first time someone prominent and well-known has publicly stated Bitcoin Core is running trolling campaigns in secret channels which may explain some of the toxicity coming out of some parts of bitcoin’s community.
A toxicity that may extend further, creating a very unwelcoming environment, including for developers, with some leaving. Like, for example, Taylor Gerring, a respected ethereum developer, who said he “ceased developing for Bitcoin after poor dev mailing list interactions [in 2013].”
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