By CCN: Matt Corallo, also known as “The Blue Matt,” has blocked Blockstream CSO Samson Mow on Twitter. Mow, according to Corallo, represents a toxic element of the Bitcoin community. Gavin Andresen once called Mow and Gregory Maxwell “toxic trolls.”
Corallo says the move was in response to a general atmosphere of “let’s be mean just because we can.” The culture of the Bitcoin community has had some introspection recently, especially as regards Twitter. “Bitcoin Twitter” is seen by some as unwelcoming, toxic, and rude. One of TheBlueMatt’s main contributions to Bitcoin Core is maintaining its Ubuntu repository, an importantly easy way for people to get the core software.
This reporter has been told in an interview with a prominent Ethereum developer, who heads up one of its most significant projects, that they chose Ethereum because the Bitcoin community was unwelcoming.
Giacomo Zucco calls this a “myth.” This reporter still has the phone recording.
The world’s biggest cryptocurrency itself is unaffected by the people who work on it. They can be terrible people; they can be any color or creed. But what Corallo and others are referring to is whether or not the community can grow if what amounts to trolling and arrogance is left unchecked.
Corallo elaborates that we’re beyond a stage where Bitcoin is just a group of friends. Now we’re in a world where Bitcoin is a global brand. Should influential people within Bitcoin feel free to insult, mock, and defame people regularly?
Then there is the issue of diversity in the culture creating Bitcoin. Some feel this is a problem. Mow himself believes that pseudonymity of all developers would be ideal. Likely a valid point, this cuts to the heart of the cypherpunk ethos: cypherpunks write code to solve problems. Activists talk about issues and protest.
In another tweet, Corallo specifies that he’s mainly talking about non-developer employees at Blockstream.
Blockstream is a company which employs many Bitcoin core contributors and plans to use sidechains as a revenue-generating business model. Founded by Adam Back, a well-respected computer scientist and cryptographer cited in the Bitcoin whitepaper, Blockstream has developed a number of products to date, including Liquid, a tokenized platform for Bitcoin. Also Green Wallet, a custodial wallet solution.
A contention among anti-Blockstream elements is that the block size has been artificially kept small to create demand for “second layer scaling” solutions. The argument only has merit in a limited context.
The specific motivation for blocking Mow at the present time is unclear, as a review (in a private window — Mow blocked this reporter years ago) of his recent tweets doesn’t reveal much besides Mow’s mocking of those who consider Bitcoin maximalism to be “toxic.”
Bitcoin maximalism can be summarized by a belief that any non-Bitcoin blockchain project is without merit and intended to defraud its investors. Bitcoin maximalists regularly engage in dogmatic arguments and are seen to be “cult-like” by outside observers.
While Bitcoin maximalism may be sub-optimal, as an investment strategy it’s likely safer than considering all players to be equal, at least to date. One potentially fatal flaw in that set of beliefs is that cryptocurrency is as much as a technology as it is a form of money, and is therefore subject to disruption.
Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent, one of the more notable decentralized protocols on the web, says that Bitcoin twitter is toxic until you deal with the people making the decisions and writing the code. He believes people have reacted to a realistically unimportant subset of trolls. In a multi-tweet thread, Cohen gives his experience dealing with crypto Twitter.
Cohen recently launched Chia, a Filecoin-like cryptocurrency that will use storage, rather than hashes, to verify blocks. His company firmly believes they will disrupt Bitcoin and have made a number of interesting findings.
This article was edited by Samburaj Das.
Last modified: May 29, 2019 12:30 UTC