Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely that of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to CCN.
A mood of resignation prevails across the bitcoin space as a viciously years-long debate that has taken the reputation of so many and the time and focus of all, seemingly, comes to an end.
Eric Mu of HaoBTC, one of the most influential, if not the decisive, mining entity in the blocksize debate, stated today that most miners did not care about the blocksize question and those who do can easily collude/conspire, are easily alienated or cajoled or…. much more shockingly, are intimidated.
Miners, from remote parts of China, were outed at the “scaling workshop” held during winter 2015 when around 10 individuals were shown to control almost all of bitcoin’s hashpower. Since then, instead of mere mechanical workers, they became political actors (despite lacking much protocol level understanding of bitcoin), in an epic struggle for the future of bitcoin which led to a tragically divided community, a complete standstill in development, censorship and banning, including by Bitcoin Core developers in IRC channels where much protocol level discussion takes place and in the mailing list, as well as metaphorical exiling of prominent developers at a dear cost for all of the digital currency space.
Jihan Wu, the operator of one of the biggest mining pool, publicly stated:
“For the growth of Bitcoin, blocksize is a minor issue that cost the community so much damage. It has given too much opportunities for some people who are altcoin developers but also claiming to be Bitcoin reference client software developers…
I think everyone… should buy a mini PC, like Intel NUC, in his home, with 500G-1TB disk and wifi. It cost less than 500$. It is running a full node, so don't go extreme to try to run it on a 10$ worth second handed RasPi.”
The Socially Engineered Checkmate
Miners were checkmated on May the 2nd when Gavin Andresen – probably intentionally targeted with a social engineering plot to discredit him – seemingly left the scene or at least became far less involved leaving miners with nowhere to turn due to a lack of an alternative development team.
Likewise, Jeff Garzick – one of the most prominent developers who aided Nakamoto in the early days in coding bitcoin – has been very quiet, as has Jonathan Toomim who suddenly decided to withdraw at the height of Bitcoin classic preferring to give – at the time – no explanation.
Scientology Cult Like Tactics
Marshal Long, one of the miners who assisted Bitcoin Classic, publicly stated last month in reply to the announcement by some grassroots bitcoin members that they are to flag day fork bitcoin:
“I am here to tell you that there is a large group that started those forward-looking projects that have left bitcoin due to those people. It’s one thing to say no we don't like that, it’s another thing to completely try to doxx it away…. Bitcoin is now to the point where I think it has been completely co-opted.”
He is probably referring to the scientology-like tactics publicly expressed by Paul Capestany (who most believe goes by the nickname of eragmus). A Silicon Valley Bitcoin Meetup Co-organizer who since April states in his linkedin profile that he works for a “well-known startup” which we can all guess, but that he is ashamed to say it speaks volume and tells you all you need to know about both the employer and employee who had the hubris to express this threat:
“Jonathan, Gavin, and Jeff… receive this ultimatum: any one of you who does not publicly renounce your support for the BitcoinClassic contentious hardfork within the next 24 hours will be facing the prospect of a very public, completely fact-based, political smearing campaign.”
These are very much scientology level tactics. Digg through the trash, try and embarrass people of different opinions so as to silence them, take things out of context, try and appeal to authorities to rigidly apply rules we all constantly break and – most think – are very immoral to enforce where the intention isn’t malicious.
In short, do all one legally can to silence others. If at times one slips a bit to the unethical or even illegal – such as by staging – well, there isn’t really much of a line so what does it matter.
Bitcoin the Cult
When buttcoin said bitcoin is a cult, I believe they were talking metaphorically, however, considering the very careful curation of r/bitcoin content, considering the cult like tactics to censor opponents, considering that even miners publicly state they are intimidated, there is no longer a metaphor.
One would think with blockstream – which signed a “strategic partnership” with PwC (not that it necessarily reflects any nefarious behavior from PwC who most probably wishes to take advantage of blockchain technology) – winning, they would work very hard to become more welcoming, more accommodating, even active to reach out to others and explain, but dinosaurs seemingly never learn.
No Attempt to Reconciliate
They won – though it may be a pyrrhic victory – thus I thought to interview any of them that can easily be contacted so we can know where we are going, but, most of them did not even respond, showing a complete lack of care for bitcoin users.
Of those who responded - James Hilliard – aka Lightsword – of whom google seems to know little if anything despite being an active and very influential arguer over months for blockstream – responded to just say he won’t answer even basic questions.
Social Engineering All Around
I considered this debate over five months ago and wrote an editorial about it, but now that it seems the matter has been conclusively settled, I thought to reach out to anyone I could.
Disregarding Hillard’s refusal to answer anything, almost no one responded – showing a complete sneer for all users of bitcoin – except for, surprisingly, Gregory Maxwell – the founder of Blockstream and employer of many Bitcoin Developers. His very few responses, however, are the most bizarre I have experienced:
<aquentson> Hi, I must say, though we may have some differences, it does pain me to see you attacked and likewise attacking others. I find it highly unproductive at this stage, so, I'd like to interview you if you are willing, to learn of your positions in a more neutral for publishing way, to learn of the vision and for you to address any criticisms, if you are willing of course.
(almost two hours later)
<aquentson> I take it you're not... thanks in any event
<gmaxwell> You've been previously banned from the bitcoin channels here. Your continued intrusion is a violation of the CFAA. I will push for prosecution if I find you in the channels again.
<aquentson> look, I am genuinely interested to interview you on your positions
<gmaxwell> Do not attempt further contact with me, my family, my company, or any of its employees.
I’m sure Maxwell is under immense stress, much of it due to his own (or paid employees speaking under his name) constant engagement of others who just simply disagree with him, but I cannot escape the conclusion that his very bizarre claim and suggestion that using a different nickname to speak or view the highly controlled #bitcoin IRC channel, which of course is no way owned by Gregory Maxwell, is somehow an illegal offence.
It is sufficiently nonsensical that one can conclude he means none of it and instead he is overtly engaging in outright social engineering by making stupid legal threats to bring to the forefront emotions and thus shut fully down the brain.
It is, however, good to know there are no olive branches here nor white pigeons flying above. Despite so many attempts to reach an understanding, it is now as clear as gravity that Gregory Maxwell and his like are in no mood and far more keen to social engineer, or, more appropriately, to plunder, leaving escape and exit (to ETH due to their speed and breadth of development that makes it all what bitcoin should have been) the only option, unless you desire the appropriation of your property.
Thus, I’ll be happy to ignore fully this man of no background, no linkedin, no transparency, no achievement. And with him too those who by his side fully disregard all common sense and decency, even while they are victorious.
Featured image from Shutterstock.