Blockstream: When Will the Level of Dishonesty and Manipulation End?

Op-Ed

The alleged Bitcoin-focused firm Blockstream has raised over $100 million publicly, however has but to be forthright with the Bitcoin neighborhood. It’s time for folks inside the Bitcoin area to begin holding them accountable. Blockstream’s dishonesty ought to have a vivid mild shined on it so everyone seems to be conscious of their manipulation and deceit.

Additionally learn: Bitcoin Intentions: Are We Aiming to Substitute the Standing Quo or Turn into Them?

Blockstream: When will the level of dishonesty and manipulation endIn late 2014, Blockstream went public with their firm after being financed by banking and enterprise capital corporations akin to AXA, Khosla Ventures, Horizon Ventures, and others. Inside six months, Blockstream mentioned it could be focusing its time not solely on sidechains, which it was based on, however on the Lightning Community too. Since that point, Blockstream hasn’t produced a lot to advance the Bitcoin ecosystem. Nevertheless, they’ve undoubtedly completed many issues to derail it and trigger hurt to it.

Re-inventing the SWIFT Community

4 years after going public, Blockstream lastly launched its coveted sidechain system to the public. The one downside is the product they launched, Liquid, isn’t meant for common use. It’s made particularly for personal Bitcoin exchanges. The premise of Liquid is to take Bitcoin transactions off-chain and transfer them to a personal sidechain of federated exchanges. As Forbes author Frances Coppola factors out:

“It isn’t attainable to enhance liquidity whereas sustaining full decentralization and trustlessness. So Blockstream cheerfully compromises each of these prized options. It appoints a small group of trusted establishments to validate transactions and submit them to the important Bitcoin chain.”

Apart from the Blockstream Liquid sidechain being meant for a personal consortium of companies, astonishingly, Blockstream CEO Adam Again is overtly pushing for people to transform their Bitcoin into Bitcoin Liquid (L-BTC).

Congratulations Blockstream, you simply re-invented SWIFT.

Lightning Community

It took 4 years for Blockstream to provide a working product, and the neighborhood remains to be ready on a working model of Lightning Community (LN). It has been in growth since 2015, and seems nowhere near being accomplished as-advertised. The protocol is definitely not a decentralized peer-to-peer community that disavows trusted third-parties. To ensure that the platform to perform as marketed, LN builders and Blockstream have to resolve the path-routing downside.

Blockstream: When will the level of dishonesty and manipulation end

Till that day comes, LN builders have instructed that customers depend on Watchtowers to stop fraud. Watchtowers are only a fancy method of saying trusted third-parties. Moreover the Lightning Community not being trustless, the price of doing enterprise will make Bitcoin (BTC) just for the elite. Blockstream appears to be working tirelessly to make BTC transaction charges as excessive as attainable. The on and off ramps of Lightning will all require on-chain transactions to the BTC blockchain. What’s going to occur when charges on BTC are so costly that customers start to understand it’s cheaper and extra handy to remain on the Lightning community?

Dishonesty and Manipulation

Apart from the technical pitfalls and shadowy underbelly of Blockstream, censorship campaigns and toxicity inside the neighborhood have already pushed folks away. However who’s driving this unsettling setting? It will be inconceivable to pinpoint a single actor, nevertheless it’s vital the neighborhood calls out dangerous conduct.

Censorship, of course, has exacerbated the poisonous setting over the previous three years. It’s been rampant throughout the bitcoin ecosystem. This has created echo-chambers and pretend information, manipulating readers to the level the place they’re brainwashed into considering alongside get together traces. The influence of censorship in Bitcoin are very actual:

“Censorship can actually hinder a society whether it is dangerous sufficient. As a result of media is such a big half of folks’s lives at present and it’s the supply of principally all data, if the data just isn’t being given in full or honestly then the society is left uneducated […] Censorship might be the primary solution to decrease folks’s proper to freedom of speech.”

Soiled Video games: Hacking and Vote Manipulation

Moreover censorship, there have been all types of poisonous and soiled video games being performed by Blockstream. Let’s take an occasion final 12 months the place the neighborhood found that moderators of the r/Bitcoin subreddit had been concerned in hacking and vote manipulation. As half of the discovery course of and proof, it was discovered their former CTO Gregory Maxwell performed an intricate position in the occasion.

Not solely has Blockstream been enjoying soiled on social media, however they’ve been participating in a form of social-media infused espionage. Simply this previous summer season, people in the neighborhood found Blockstream is working with former nationwide spies to run counterintelligence on the Bitcoin neighborhood. Adam Again, the CEO of Blockstream, admitted he employed a crew to advertise Blockstream’s propaganda with a view to manipulate the dominant narrative.  

Secret Work and Hidden Agendas

Blockstream has additionally been silently hiring folks in the neighborhood to work on Blockstream merchandise. Simply two months in the past it was uncovered that one other “impartial” BTC developer was actually working for Blockstream, unbeknownst to the public. This isn’t the first time this type of factor occurred. In some instances, the hires have been downright bizarre and scandalous, which some might think about unlawful. It’s apparent now why Blockstream took down their crew web page practically a 12 months in the past and by no means put it again up.

Blockstream: When Will the Level of Dishonesty and Manipulation End?
Allen Piscitello aka AlpacaSW on Medium by way of the WayBack Machine

Immediately, it was additionally found that one other well-known particular person in the Bitcoin area has been working for Blockstream. Once more, the neighborhood was utterly unaware these people had been working for Blockstream to additional an agenda somewhat than contribute to bitcoin growth.

In a public video interview launched two days in the past with Crypto Insider, Allen Piscitello admitted he has been working for Blockstream for the previous 12 months as one of their product managers. Many individuals received’t even know him. Some old-school Bitcoiners will know him as the notorious consumer AlpacaSW on Twitter, aka Alphonse Tempo, who’s answerable for a myriad of social media assaults. He was additionally one of the most vocal drivers behind the UASF in 2017.

UASF: The Faux Grassroots Motion

The Person Activated Smooth Fork (UASF) was promoted in 2017. Right here is the way it works: as an alternative of miners activating a consensus rule change in Bitcoin, particular person contributors in the Bitcoin ecosystem may activate a fork by operating the software program they select. By coordinating with one another on a particular date (flag day), they might all run the software program with the rule modifications in place.

The idea is that if the UASF is coordinated efficiently by the majority of the consumer community, miners would comply with. Nevertheless, at the finish of the day, it could take the miners to cooperate with the UASF for it to achieve success. With out miner cooperation, the UASF may trigger a sequence cut up.

Since there isn’t any proof-of-work with a UASF — because it’s simply customers and community contributors —it could be straightforward to Sybil assault it. Subsequently, it turned clear in 2017 that the UASF was only a pretend grassroots motion to activate Segwit surreptitiously. And who was the important group behind UASF? It was none aside from Blockstream who had been championing the comfortable fork, judging by posts akin to UASF is a user-driven protocol growth and user-activated comfortable forks and the illiberal minority.

The Fact Will Set You Free

One has to marvel, when will the lies and deceit finish? My opinion is that it received’t. As a neighborhood, everybody must proceed being diligent, considering critically and independently. The neighborhood ought to insulate itself from corporations that say they’ve the greatest curiosity of Bitcoin in thoughts, however are solely working to additional their backside line and fill the coffers of main buyers.

OP-ed disclaimer: That is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed on this article are the creator’s personal. Bitcoin.com doesn’t endorse nor help views, opinions or conclusions drawn on this submit. Bitcoin.com just isn’t answerable for or accountable for any content material, accuracy or high quality inside the Op-ed article. Readers ought to do their very own due diligence earlier than taking any actions associated to the content material. Bitcoin.com just isn’t accountable, instantly or not directly, for any harm or loss brought on or alleged to be attributable to or in reference to the use of or reliance on any data on this Op-ed article.


Photos by way of the Wayback Machine and Disney.


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