BitGo engineer and outspoken SegWit2x opponent Jameson Lopp was targeted by an anonymous individual who falsely called the police to report a hostage situation at his home on Monday. This action appears to be in response to Lopp’s position on the Bitcoin block size debate.
Lopp recounted the incident on Twitter, stating that an “anonymous coward” had sent a police SWAT team to his house in response to a false hostage situation.
According to a transcript published by a local CBS affiliate, the caller told the 911 dispatcher that he had taken hostages and had already shot one of them more than a dozen times. He claimed to have explosives and threatened to detonate them unless the police gave him $60,000.
“If I don’t get $60,000, I’m going to blow the whole (expletive) block up,” the caller said. “If I see any police coming toward the front door who aren’t handling a bag full of money, I’ll shoot them on sight.”
Armed police officers responded to the call, creating a dangerous — potentially life-threatening — situation. Thankfully, Lopp was able to explain to the police that the report was false, and the situation was resolved without further incident.
Lopp says that he has made several enemies over the years, so it is impossible to pinpoint what triggered this individual to target him in such a flagrant manner. However, he has been an outspoken opponent of both SegWit2x and Bitcoin Cash, and tensions over these contentious forks have flared as the scheduled November activation for the SegWit2x hard fork has approached.
Lopp says the event will not deter him from expressing his opinion online:
“I am not intimidated by this. This is actually, from my perspective evidence that the people who want to do this do not have the guts to say anything to my face. They don’t have the guts to come here and actually tell me what their problem is with me,” Lopp told the CBS affiliate.
“It’s a price you have to be willing to pay when becoming an outspoken public figure,” he added on Twitter.
Assuming the incident is related to the block size debate, it represents a new level of toxicity within the already-divided community. Prominent individuals on both sides of the aisle reached out to extend support to Lopp and condemn the use of violence to promote a political agenda. However, the event signals that — for some fringe individuals — the war of words over the block size has escalated into something far more disturbing.
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