Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

It was a fitting profile for the World Wide Web’s proclaimed father. A Vanity Fair feature, of all places, taken up by Katrina Booker, photographed by Olaf Blecker. Tim Berners-Lee (TBL), 63, Sir Tim Berners-Lee as he’s often introduced, is the well-regarded genius who many feel gave birth to the modern convenience of the internet, the stringing together of content and, later, our very lives. These days, he’s out to mend what he considers his rather broken creation.

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

Berners-Lee comes across as the absent minded professor, sentences not quite finishing as he moves frantically to another, seemingly related, topic and tech-filled abbreviation. In 1989, “Berners-Lee’s innovation was intended to help scientists share data across a then obscure platform called the Internet, a version of which the U.S. government had been using since the 1960s. But owing to his decision to release the source code for free—to make the Web an open and democratic platform for all—his brainchild quickly took on a life of its own,” Vanity Fair proposes, eerily describing another epoch-changing event given away by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Unlike Satoshi, Berners-Lee has been lauded ever since. Turing Award. Knighted. He, from the beginning “understood how the epic power of the Web would radically transform governments, businesses, societies. He also envisioned that his invention could, in the wrong hands, become a destroyer of worlds, as Robert Oppenheimer once infamously observed of his own creation.” For TBL, a final revelation in this regard happened with the 2016 American presidential election and things Russian, and after investigations of Facebook and its data breach via Cambridge Analytica.

Devastated, mind and body

“For people who want to make sure the Web serves humanity, we have to concern ourselves with what people are building on top of it,” TBL warns during the interview. Of the realization concerning what his invention wrought, he verbally clutches at pearls, couch fainting, “I was devastated. Actually, physically—my mind and body were in a different state.” Centralization of the web, he explained, “ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human. We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places.”

The article continues to offer TBL dark night of the soul quotes, such as how he “demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places,” and “ended up producing—with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform—a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

His pain has given way to a combative project, Solid. It’s an effort to reimagine the web, mitigating what he feels is pernicious corporate influence. He’s fond of repeating a statistical chestnut to buttress urgency: before the current year’s end, more than 3 billion people, something like half of humanity, will be online. The cascade impact of that many people seemingly integrating their lives into 1s and 0s makes the internet arguably the most important conversation anyone could have right now.

Solid

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?Maybe it’s important to store our tinfoil hats for a moment, or at least take them off for the time being. The web wasn’t taken hostage by maniacal actors. It was subsumed by the logic of what’s known as the Free Economy. Folks, at least so far, prefer free platforms, free access to kitty videos, fisting porn, news, etc. Gleefully, hundreds of millions, turning to billions, of people User Agreement-ed into behemoths the likes of Amazon, Facebook, Google. Those became business models, algorithms, for how to succeed online. Important, too, is explaining these entities knew enough to capture elements of the regulatory state, the elected who carry a monopoly on violence: guns, courts, cages. Consumer confidence plus state sanction and support often lead to fuckery.

Vanity Fair interesting describes Berners-Lee as “methodically attempting to hack his creation.”  TBL examined in particular Facebook, “Looking at the ways algorithms are feeding people news and looking at accountability for the algorithms—all of that is really important for the open Web,” he said. The chestnut above returns, “Crossing 50 percent is going to be a moment to pause and think,” a point of contention he believes won’t empower the newly onboarded but will, instead, push them further behind. Indeed, it is a stark, Grand Canyon gap between Elon Musk’s web usage and relative freedom versus that of, say, “people in Ethiopia who have reasonable connectivity but they are totally being spied on,” Berners-Lee scolded.

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

“There are people working in the lab,” Berners-Lee elaborates on Solid, “trying to imagine how the Web could be different. How society on the Web could look different. What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data. We are building a whole eco-system.” Solid, then, is his attempt to once again decentralize the web, giving back to individuals what they handed over to corporations: data control. And he isn’t the only one concerned about the problem of centralization and the web. Ryan X. Charles, of Yours.org and Moneybutton fame, recently gave an interview where he explained how in the future users might be paid for such access to their data. Futurist George Gilder has written an entire book about the subject, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy. TBL is clearly on to something.

Early days

It’s early days for Solid, but because TBL swings such great influence it is worth exploring if only as an intellectual exercise (in case nothing comes of it). “Solid is an exciting new project led by Prof. Tim Berners-Lee,” their website immediately announces, “inventor of the World Wide Web, taking place at MIT. The project aims to radically change the way Web applications work today, resulting in true data ownership as well as improved privacy.”

The name itself is a neologism from “social linked data,”  “is a proposed set of conventions and tools for building decentralized social applications based on Linked Data principles. Solid is modular and extensible and it relies as much as possible on existing W3C standards and protocols,” they explain. They’re poised to offer three basic promises: “True data ownership: Users should have the freedom to choose where their data resides and who is allowed to access it. By decoupling content from the application itself, users are now able to do so. Modular design: Because applications are decoupled from the data they produce, users will be able to avoid vendor lock-in, seamlessly switching between apps and personal data storage servers, without losing any data or social connections. Reusing existing data: Developers will be able to easily innovate by creating new apps or improving current apps, all while reusing existing data that was created by other apps,” Solid claims.

Toward a new and better World Wide Web?

With a goal of worldwide adoption, the project’s current status involves its startup, Inrupt, Inc. It is “building a commercial ecosystem to fuel Solid’s success and protect the integrity of the next phase of the web. Its mission is to restore rightful ownership of data back to every web user and unleash a new wave of innovation – for developers, for business, for everyone.” It’s also launching the Solid Community Site for “regular community updates, a wealth of developer resources and documentation, and general information about how Solid works.”

Reads like many initial coin offering (ICO) projects, to be honest. And, for all the talk and worry about governments and corporations, Solid has two main sponsors: CSAIL-Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) research collaboration and Mastercard. Go figure.

C. Edward Kelso is a financial technology journalist based in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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ShapeShift is still punk rock

It’s more than fair to have deep misgivings about alternative coins, tokens and the like. Security reasons. Economic reasons. Technical reasons. I have considered them all, and even found some persuasive. It’s an important conversation.

I fall on the thousand flowers blooming end, trusting markets to regulate themselves and for folks to take whatever cryptocurrency is, and fashion it in the way they’d like. If my personal favorite, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), is ultimately chosen, awesome. If not, and markets have looked elsewhere, so be it.

Lemonade

ShapeShift is still punk rockWhatever the case, September was a shitty public relations month for ShapeShift, a veteran digital asset exchange within the ecosystem for half a decade. It began with the company having to disclose it will no longer allow relatively anonymous transactions on its platform. “Nothing changed,” its CEO Erik Voorhees posted in answer on an Andreas Antonopoulos Twitter thread. “I am still those things. Yet, I must also calculate risks carefully. I’ve always despised taxation, yet I pay it. Same situation here. Financial privacy is absolutely a right and I will continue struggling for it in ways that are effective.”

Mr. Antonopoulos struck out at the company, tweeting “Very disappointed that @ShapeShift_io is implementing KYC. Just goes to show that any centralized entity will be pushed in that direction, which is why LN, atomic swaps and Decentralized Exchanges are the only way to resist surveillance economics. In the end,” he followed up, “strength of principles is less effective defense than decentralized architecture: ‘can’t do evil’ is the only effective approach.”

How ShapeShift Is Keeping Your Data SafeShapeShift is still punk rock came the announcement drawing all the ire. The exchange’s CSO, Michael Perklin, outlined its all-of-the-sudden Membership Program. “However,” Mr. Perklin was careful to write up front, “becoming a member requires verification of basic customer information. This changes the way ShapeShift handles data– now that we have to collect and store your information, we need to do everything possible to keep it safe.”

Mr. Voorhees described the move as preemptive, a way to scale, taking government mandated lemons and making freer market lemonade. ShapeShift has grown and was growing, and it was beginning to attract more and more attention, not all of it wanted. And much of that notice was coming from regulators who, especially in the United States, have been closing in all around companies like it who dealt in anonymity. It for sure had taken a while. Regulators aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed, and they spent the better part of the last 10 years trying to digest the neologism cryptocurrency—forget trying to explain ShapeShift’s business model.

Punk rock

Through a series of encrypted methods, “a 4096-bit RSA key using the widely-used open-source GPG software,” Mr. Perklin detailed, “stored in our database and in most cases is never used again,” the company essentially, and seemingly voluntarily, changed a fundamental reason for its existence. It certainly isn’t a first in the ecosystem, and it will not be the last.

At some point, however, it was clear to the company’s leadership a reckoning was about to happen. There are, essentially, four choices at such a realization: 1, complete capitulation and hope for the best; 2, rogue rejectionism and hope for the best; 3, close the business altogether; 4, move into something like the inevitable regulation, and perhaps permanently avoid numbers 1 through 3.

It’s 4 ShapeShift has opted, and that’s due to the leadership’s tenacity, chess-playing acumen, and punk rock ethos. It’s somewhat like when The Clash, the late 70s and early 80s British pop band, strayed from the garage and incorporated horns. They did lose some edge, some grit, but they managed to survive a few years longer in order to tour and continue doing what they’d always done, make music.

ShapeShift is still punk rockStill, the move under question herein hasn’t stopped longtime fans from openly wondering at the company’s future. Businesses building on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) chain, the most punk rock of all blockchains, such as Money Button, were asked about their plans going forward. CEO Ryan X. Charles started Money Button as a micro tipping payment platform, one without recourse to KYC and AML, and ShapeShift was a big help when dealing with multiple cryptos. “Have you spoken with Erik about shapeshift integration once KYC is required?” a curious tweeter asked of Mr. Charles. “No,” he answered, “we may either integrate with the KYC system somehow or switch to another service.”

He then elaborated, and promptly hit the nail on the philosophical head. “TBH, long-term, KYC for exchanges is inevitable,” Mr. Charles continued. “I wouldn’t bet on being able to do anonymous exchange legally for much longer.” Again, there are four choices, basically, from that realization. See above.

Legacy financial news outlet attacks

ShapeShift is still punk rockThat shittiness continued in a big way toward the end of September, when the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) completed a nearly half of a year investigation into the doings of crypto exchanges such as ShapeShift. Immediately, the article turns sour, playing on scares long drummed up by mainstream media hysterics. “Since bitcoin was introduced nearly 10 years ago,” the WSJ began, “law-enforcement authorities have worried the technology could ease money laundering. Now a new breed of cryptocurrency intermediary is giving fresh urgency to those fears, operating in plain view with scant policing and often allowing users to engage in anonymous transactions.”

Circling back to our above discussion, get this: “Most operate beyond the reach of U.S. authorities,” the WSJ scolds about exchanges within the space, “with unidentified owners and addresses in places such as Eastern Europe and China. Not ShapeShift, the largest recipient of the funds with a U.S. presence. The company is officially registered in loosely regulated Switzerland, but it is run out of a 1980s-era office building in a Denver neighborhood packed with tech companies and marijuana entrepreneurs. ShapeShift’s founder and chief executive, Erik Voorhees, along with its chief operating officer and its marketing chief, all live in the Denver area.” Readers might be ready to believe journalists are citing these facts as lauds. Not so fast.

“A parade of suspected criminals has taken advantage of ShapeShift’s services since the exchange began in 2014, according to law-enforcement officials, independent researchers and the Journal’s investigation,” reporters shrill, pointing fingers at the likes of dastardly North Koreans. “Many cryptocurrency exchanges say they follow federal rules intended to combat money laundering, even though the question of whether they are subject to them hasn’t been tested. They keep records of their customers’ identity and monitor transactions to root out and report suspicious activity,” the WSJ asserts. “Mr. Voorhees has long scoffed at such constraints. ‘I don’t think people should have their identity recorded to catch an occasional criminal,’ he said in a May interview.” Savvy readers can quickly see where this is heading.

“The Journal found that ShapeShift processed nearly $9 million of the suspect funds, more than any other exchange with U.S. offices,” the WSJ claimed. And the accusations fly from there. Tales of its own customers robbing one another, “sextortion,” and all sorts of nonsense seem to be plaguing the exchange. The article is so filled with woe, no one could blame the intended reader, regulators and potential institutional investors, from concluding the entire business is a giant money hole of loss and horror. The WSJ piece devolves into blaming Mr. Voorhees’ libertarian worldview, implicitly, and cherry-picking quotes from talks and panels to paint him as just another crank.

I recommend reading the WSJ piece for no other reason than gaining a crash course in how any crypto business even mildly principled will be treated going forward. Read it. Learn. To a casual crypto enthusiast, it’s pretty damning stuff. Really bad, in fact. But then do yourself a favor and click on over to Shining Light on WSJ’s Attack on ShapeShift and Crypto. It’s Mr. Voorhees’ punk attitude in full force, defending his and his company’s integrity. And you don’t have to like ShapeShift nor Erik Voorhees to understand what all this means in the broader scheme of things. But for sure don’t live in Mr. Antonopoulos’ judgmental, condescending salon. The real world exists, and punk rockers are keen to engage if only to ultimately best it.

Edward Kelso is a financial technology journalist based in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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BTC cult gets creepier at Baltic Honeybadger 2018 Conference

For the second year, Rīga, Latvia was host to the Baltic Honeybadger conference (BH). Billed as “the first major event in Latvia dedicated to Bitcoin and the technologies built around it,” the website read, their “goal is to create an educational and community-driven event with high-profile speakers from all around the world and with different backgrounds — from technical engineers and cybersecurity professionals to business owners and bestselling authors.” And if there was any doubt, they’re “not promoting various so called altcoins, ICOs, banks and other blockchain-based ‘snake oil.’”

Of the two day conference, the final morning in Rīga began 9 a.m. in the Riseba, Arhitektūras un mediju centrs H2O 6. Bitcoin Maximalism Dissected by Giacomo Zucco was that day’s kickoff presentation. Mr. Zucco is a lesser-known personality in the space, CEO of the Italy-based Blockchainlab, and a polemicist who increasingly divides the world between those who embrace Bitcoin core (BTC) and those who are evil dupes.

BTC cult gets creepier at Baltic Honeybadger 2018 Conference

For the uninitiated, bitcoin maximalism was essentially a neologism fashioned a slur by Vitalik Buterin, one of Ethereum’s founders. The insinuation was how certain factions within the ecosystem refused to consider anything other than the BTC ticker as a viable cryptocurrency project. Little did he know a group of pasty social media mavens would embrace the phrase, fully remaking it into a kind of religion complete with dietary restrictions.

Such factions embraced Mr. Buterin’s characterization, doubling down on the concept, all the while themselves insisting BTC needed to be changed in rather significant ways—by their own admission, the Satoshi Nakamoto white paper left a lot to be desired, and this became the entry point into altering BTC away from its once cash-like qualities, and on purpose.

Chris Pacia of OpenBazaar and a tweetstorm

“As some background to this presentation,” Mr. Zucco, self-described bitcoin maximalist, begins, “the idea for this presentation comes from an infamous tweetstorm. Basically, there was a day in May where basically Chris Pacia asked why do I think that bcashers are either malicious or stupid. He seemed interested in an honest debate about that. I tried to formalize my argument about why I do think that bcashers are either malicious or stupid.”

Mr. Pacia is a very well-known and sober voice within the community. His credits include being lead back-end developer for OpenBazaar. He often has tried to be a go-between, offering to debate publicly those who demonize and hector Bitcoin Cash (BCH) enthusiasts. It was here Mr. Zucco was able to use the good name of Mr. Pacia and gain some notice. Their back and forth on Twitter eventually was turned into an essay by a maximalist admirer, one summarizing Mr. Zucco’s position while arguing against Mr. Pacia’s larger block, pro BCH stance.

BTC cult gets creepier at Baltic Honeybadger 2018 Conference

Making the Strongest Case for Small Blocks,” then, was published by blogger Sosthène on the Le Blog de Sosthène. Written originally in French, its English version is careful to take Mr. Zucco’s broken Italian-English tweetstorm and form it into sensical statements. It doesn’t take long to figure out where all of this is headed.

After the fork creating Bitcoin BCH, Sosthène writes Bitcoin Cash “became a tool of agitprop leveraged by a small group whose leaders are a prooved [sic] scammer and a narcist [sic] sociopath that have made up a new narrative in which Bcash is the true and unique Bitcoin.”

BTC cult gets creepier at Baltic Honeybadger 2018 Conference

Unironic irony

“Bitcoin is not a business,” Sosthène continues, insisting such truths are a prerequisite for understanding BTC’s purpose, “nor is it a currency and most importantly it is not a payment network. Factually, Bitcoin is a software, it is code, information, period.” You get the idea. The blog post is referred to as a way for listeners to get a fuller fleshing out of Mr. Zucco’s ideas, such as they are.

At any rate, Mr. Zucco anticipates the most common objections to the maximalist position, seizing on how people “have this vision of bitcoin maximalists as something that is emotional …,” he explained, and how “maximalists are ‘toxic;’ if you see the word ‘toxic,’ you should walk away because it’s usually someone who can’t conversate with you logically. Some people say maximalists are creating a bad environment and people feel unwelcome because of this. Maximalist means rude; you have to be kind of a dick in order to be maximalist, and it’s like… rude… we are maximalists, we don’t eat carbs, we are sad,” Mr. Zucco said tongue firmly in cheek.

BTC cult gets creepier at Baltic Honeybadger 2018 Conference

The above stereotype is well-earned. A quick trip to an open conference, Twitter, YouTube will disabuse anyone of the notion maximalists are somehow being maligned unjustly. No, no. Maximalists have worked extremely hard and consistently for their dickish label. They are for sure toxic to any healthy debate and future innovation in the crypto space.

In fact, the uniformity in argumentative style, the insults, the dismissive tones, the dogmatic clinging to groupthink, have all combined to basically make BTC maximalists a cult. And it’s not even a cool cult with sex orgies and parties. It’s just a bunch of sullen dudes who’ve held on to a speculative science project that, had they jumped-in late 2017, has plummeted in price … thus almost defeating their entire reason for being. At least Scientology has Tom Cruise.

BTC cult gets creepier at Baltic Honeybadger 2018 Conference

Carnivory
The next part of his presentation veers into a very strange place. I am sure it is meant to be funny, ironic, and truthful all at the same time. But the reaction by fellow maximalists to it says more about the BTC cult that I could ever in one installment of A Power of Facing.

Modeling in a jokey way so-called Universal Truths of Buddhism, Mr. Zucco outlines “four universal truth of maximalists. The first truth is that everything which is not bitcoin is a scam. The second universal truth is that every attempt at changing bitcoin is a scam. The third universal truth is that every attempting at pushing people to spend bitcoin is a scam. The fourth universal truth is that we shouldn’t be nice to scammers.”

BTC cult gets creepier at Baltic Honeybadger 2018 Conference

The meme has made its way around the Crypto Twitter, and it has become a kind of Rorschach for the maximalist camp. The slide with four points was immediately retweeted by supporters with a Hell Yes! zeal. Dickishness was on full display, especially as they championed the final bullet point. Intolerance in the least charitable manner seemed to carry the day. It wasn’t until a few who actually attended or viewed the presentation informed brutish cheerleaders much of it was on the jokey side of things that maximalists began to lighten up. A little. They then turned it back on BCH supporters who pointed to the slide’s bald assertions, suggesting BCH enthusiasts lacked a sense of humor. This simple display alone reminded me of cultish inside jokes, where members laugh maniacally at their leaders’ assumptions without explanation. Really creepy.

Lest readers feel I am being unfair with the cult charge, consider the fad these idiots are currently embracing, so-called carnivory. That’s right, an all meat diet. Oh, you’re reading, you mean paleo or keto. No. All meat. That’s it. And water. It’s one thing to grope and grasp at a theory of money, and struggle to find a balance between mediums of exchange and settlement layers, fungibility, tech security … but to take diet advice, like real life health advice, from dudes who cannot get laid … well, that’s just fucking stupid.

C. Edward Kelso is a financial technology journalist based in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

Get those Bitcoin Core (BTC) supporters and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) proponents out on a leisurely cruise from Barcelona, on to Monte Carlo, France, Italy, to Ibiza and back again to Barca over five days, and they’ll cool way out.

Arrange a good-natured debate between a legendary ecosystem investor, passionate BCH protestlytizer Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com, versus BTC developer, budding technical author, and coding evangelist Jimmy Song. Sun, poolside, a paradisal venue for disputation, argument of the refined sort—what could possibly go wrong?

All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

That idea lasted a full 30 seconds, and then all hell broke loose.

First, a disclosure: I am a paid shill, a full-on fanboy of Roger Ver. I think he’s a heroic figure, one seldom appreciated. I won’t toady it up and insist he can do no wrong, but even when he’s wrong-ish, he’s almost just about right. I also used to enjoy Jimmy Song’s YouTube episodes about coding and his program, Morning Brief. Mr. Song and I agree quite a bit on economics and political worldview. There is a lot to like about him. Oh, I am paid in Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

No more easy smile

Before the formal debate had even begun, stage right, off the platform, Mr. Song was holding court, as an Eazy-E circa early NWA looking Roger Ver and a gaggle of folks wearing BCH PLS t-shirts leered on. Mr. Song, decked out in a multi-gallon cowboy hat, sports coat, and matching suit attire, animatedly accused Mr. Ver of stacking the crowd with BCH supporters. He frantically pointed to them one by one, angrily insisting the fix was in.

And maybe it was, crowd wise. But, then again, video audio can be heard clearly enough, a tad later in the debate, how a healthy gaggle of Mr. Song supporters managed to find their way poolside. So maybe Mr. Song was making something out of nothing, fighting nerves. That normally relaxed Jimmy Song face, easy smile, was gone. It was replaced by someone who very much felt wronged, and wronged from the outset.

All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

The two men managed to hammer out to their satisfaction enough to ascend the stage. A lone podium with a single microphone was between to chairs—Mr. Song, back and to stage right; Mr. Ver, stage left, immediately to the left side. Mr. Ver wore a snapback baseball cap, black, with BCH PLS embroidered atop. He also hid behind very black sunglasses and a wry smile as he sat, giving Mr. Song the floor.

Jimmy Song came prepared. He whispered something about a page missing from his prepared remarks, and then appeared to attempt wrestling a format structure to the debate. Almost immediately, Mr. Ver, still seated, offered mild protest about not having agreed to any such format, nevermind a “Lincoln-Douglas” style exchange.

This Song is done

It wasn’t too much longer when Mr. Ver decided to stand and talk over Mr. Song’s presumption at an agreed-to format. Roger Ver teased at grabbing the microphone, and Mr. Song dutifully un-holstered it from the podium, away from Mr. Ver. The two men argued more about time and whether Mr. Song’s introduction of the format constituted his introduction or counted against Mr. Ver’s time. Exasperated, Mr. Song’s face shook, and he threatened to not debate should this persist.

A few exchanges more, and Mr. Song exited for the first time. He diva’d, almost hopping, off the stage in a huff. Mr. Ver commandeered the microphone, explaining the ambush Mr. Song complained of was actually happening to him. Mr. Song had rigged the format to suit his debating style, and without consulting Mr. Ver. After having said his peace, Mr. Ver essentially begged Mr. Song back to the stage, “C’mon Jimmy!”

Protestations more, and Jimmy Song did return. He moved to the podium, categorically insisted this to be the reason no one wants to debate Mr. Ver, and set about making his case as to why Bitcoin Cash is fiat money. Graciously, Mr. Song began, “I’d also like to thank Roger Ver, particularly for his early evangelism of Bitcoin. We may be debating today, but there is a lot that we do agree on philosophically and I admire your contributions toward the cause of liberty.”

Pleasantries dispensed, Mr. Song began to lay out a case Bitcoin Cash as it is presently configured behaved much like government money, specifically following along the lines of mid 20th century English economist John Maynard Keynes. Mr. Song insisted, “The economic philosophy of BCH is Keynesian in that central authorities intervene to ‘spur innovation’ or ‘solve problems’. The method of payment use case has been subsidized by central authorities through large blocks, despite all market signals to the contrary. My opponent says things like ‘transactions should be free’ as if they’re entitlements. The smart contract use case has also been subsidized by central authorities, despite there being very little utility or demand for such a thing. BCH is very much paternalistic.”

1 million dollar wager

He further explained BCH was centrally controlled by a large mining concern, one that attempts to peg it to BTC, a policy Mr. Song concluded has done little but fail. “BCH is a fiat money, and their main appeal is that they’ll be better than the fiat central bankers that you already know,” he stressed. “The promise of BCH is governance as a benevolent ruler versus granting you self-sovereignty over your own money. This is the major difference between BTC and BCH and is the reason why BCH is no different than any altcoin.”

At almost exactly 16 minutes into the debate, Mr. Ver offered his rebuttal. After reminding the assembled this was not an agreed-to format, Mr. Ver dismissed Mr. Song’s thesis as “a bunch of nonsense.” Mr. Ver then went on to offer a confidence play, a challenge. “I’ll bet a million dollars in whatever cryptocurrency you want that within 10 years Bitcoin Cash will have a larger market cap than the BTC version of Bitcoin today. I yield the rest of my time to you, Jimmy.”

All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

Very much stunned by the offer, Mr. Song once again regained the microphone. Since Mr. Ver didn’t address his points one by one, Mr. Song decided Mr. Ver had conceded that much of the debate. Mr. Song then continued reading from his prepared remarks, pouding home the point BCH was centralized.

One of the key points of centralization, Mr. Song said, was the very contentious debate happening within the Bitcoin Cash universe at the moment. Normally once aligned forces were now at one another’s throats, Mr. Song said. This was evident the factions were fighting for control. And if something can be controlled, that means it is too centralized.

This Song is done, again

Roger Ver again took his turn, and immediately reversed the claim. It is precisely the sign of a vibrant, healthy community when different ideas can be debated and discussed, he answered. Even when the debates run hot, Mr. Ver said, people have the chance to humble themselves and listen.

He said BTC was so centralized, so controlled, developers and those challenging their assumptions have been literally banished. The consensus among BTCers, in fact, was a sign of centralization, of control. Mr. Ver then pointed to his favorite target, the Reddit sub forum r/bitcoin.

All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

BTC proponents have silenced BCH voices among them, Mr. Ver said, and wasn’t this a sign of a closed, unhealthy community. And as to its being a fiat currency, BCH is exactly the opposite, Mr. Ver maintained. A primary definition of a fiat currency is its being dictated, its use mandated by government force. Enthusiasts have literally thousands of choices among cryptocurrencies, and BCH is just one. “Cryptocurrencies are the currencies of freedom!” he shouted.

Mr. Song regained the podium, reading from prepared remarks. He attempted to fit those into the context of the debate, mentioning many times BTC is a meritocracy and how no one was entitled to be heard in the community. Mr. Ver then responded by suggesting he hadn’t argued for entitlement but more for an ethos, a way of acting inside the space. That it has changed in favor of one group to the exclusion of any other voices troubled Mr. Ver. The rest of what was to constitute the debate actually turned interesting, as the two men traded questions and answers between themselves. At the 44-minute mark, Mr. Song announced he was finished, disgusted, and he left unceremoniously. A member of the crowd jumped on stage in proxy. This Song was done, again.

C. Edward Kelso is a financial technology journalist based in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

Get those Bitcoin Core (BTC) supporters and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) proponents out on a leisurely cruise from Barcelona, on to Monte Carlo, France, Italy, to Ibiza and back again to Barca over five days, and they’ll cool way out.

Arrange a good-natured debate between a legendary ecosystem investor, passionate BCH protestlytizer Roger Ver, CEO of Bitcoin.com, versus BTC developer, budding technical author, and coding evangelist Jimmy Song. Sun, poolside, a paradisal venue for disputation, argument of the refined sort—what could possibly go wrong?

All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

That idea lasted a full 30 seconds, and then all hell broke loose.

First, a disclosure: I am a paid shill, a full-on fanboy of Roger Ver. I think he’s a heroic figure, one seldom appreciated. I won’t toady it up and insist he can do no wrong, but even when he’s wrong-ish, he’s almost just about right. I also used to enjoy Jimmy Song’s YouTube episodes about coding and his program, Morning Brief. Mr. Song and I agree quite a bit on economics and political worldview. There is a lot to like about him. Oh, I am paid in Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

No more easy smile

Before the formal debate had even begun, stage right, off the platform, Mr. Song was holding court, as an Eazy-E circa early NWA looking Roger Ver and a gaggle of folks wearing BCH PLS t-shirts leered on. Mr. Song, decked out in a multi-gallon cowboy hat, sports coat, and matching suit attire, animatedly accused Mr. Ver of stacking the crowd with BCH supporters. He frantically pointed to them one by one, angrily insisting the fix was in.

And maybe it was, crowd wise. But, then again, video audio can be heard clearly enough, a tad later in the debate, how a healthy gaggle of Mr. Song supporters managed to find their way poolside. So maybe Mr. Song was making something out of nothing, fighting nerves. That normally relaxed Jimmy Song face, easy smile, was gone. It was replaced by someone who very much felt wronged, and wronged from the outset.

All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

The two men managed to hammer out to their satisfaction enough to ascend the stage. A lone podium with a single microphone was between to chairs—Mr. Song, back and to stage right; Mr. Ver, stage left, immediately to the left side. Mr. Ver wore a snapback baseball cap, black, with BCH PLS embroidered atop. He also hid behind very black sunglasses and a wry smile as he sat, giving Mr. Song the floor.

Jimmy Song came prepared. He whispered something about a page missing from his prepared remarks, and then appeared to attempt wrestling a format structure to the debate. Almost immediately, Mr. Ver, still seated, offered mild protest about not having agreed to any such format, nevermind a “Lincoln-Douglas” style exchange.

This Song is done

It wasn’t too much longer when Mr. Ver decided to stand and talk over Mr. Song’s presumption at an agreed-to format. Roger Ver teased at grabbing the microphone, and Mr. Song dutifully un-holstered it from the podium, away from Mr. Ver. The two men argued more about time and whether Mr. Song’s introduction of the format constituted his introduction or counted against Mr. Ver’s time. Exasperated, Mr. Song’s face shook, and he threatened to not debate should this persist.

A few exchanges more, and Mr. Song exited for the first time. He diva’d, almost hopping, off the stage in a huff. Mr. Ver commandeered the microphone, explaining the ambush Mr. Song complained of was actually happening to him. Mr. Song had rigged the format to suit his debating style, and without consulting Mr. Ver. After having said his peace, Mr. Ver essentially begged Mr. Song back to the stage, “C’mon Jimmy!”

Protestations more, and Jimmy Song did return. He moved to the podium, categorically insisted this to be the reason no one wants to debate Mr. Ver, and set about making his case as to why Bitcoin Cash is fiat money. Graciously, Mr. Song began, “I’d also like to thank Roger Ver, particularly for his early evangelism of Bitcoin. We may be debating today, but there is a lot that we do agree on philosophically and I admire your contributions toward the cause of liberty.”

Pleasantries dispensed, Mr. Song began to lay out a case Bitcoin Cash as it is presently configured behaved much like government money, specifically following along the lines of mid 20th century English economist John Maynard Keynes. Mr. Song insisted, “The economic philosophy of BCH is Keynesian in that central authorities intervene to ‘spur innovation’ or ‘solve problems’. The method of payment use case has been subsidized by central authorities through large blocks, despite all market signals to the contrary. My opponent says things like ‘transactions should be free’ as if they’re entitlements. The smart contract use case has also been subsidized by central authorities, despite there being very little utility or demand for such a thing. BCH is very much paternalistic.”

1 million dollar wager

He further explained BCH was centrally controlled by a large mining concern, one that attempts to peg it to BTC, a policy Mr. Song concluded has done little but fail. “BCH is a fiat money, and their main appeal is that they’ll be better than the fiat central bankers that you already know,” he stressed. “The promise of BCH is governance as a benevolent ruler versus granting you self-sovereignty over your own money. This is the major difference between BTC and BCH and is the reason why BCH is no different than any altcoin.”

At almost exactly 16 minutes into the debate, Mr. Ver offered his rebuttal. After reminding the assembled this was not an agreed-to format, Mr. Ver dismissed Mr. Song’s thesis as “a bunch of nonsense.” Mr. Ver then went on to offer a confidence play, a challenge. “I’ll bet a million dollars in whatever cryptocurrency you want that within 10 years Bitcoin Cash will have a larger market cap than the BTC version of Bitcoin today. I yield the rest of my time to you, Jimmy.”

All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

Very much stunned by the offer, Mr. Song once again regained the microphone. Since Mr. Ver didn’t address his points one by one, Mr. Song decided Mr. Ver had conceded that much of the debate. Mr. Song then continued reading from his prepared remarks, pouding home the point BCH was centralized.

One of the key points of centralization, Mr. Song said, was the very contentious debate happening within the Bitcoin Cash universe at the moment. Normally once aligned forces were now at one another’s throats, Mr. Song said. This was evident the factions were fighting for control. And if something can be controlled, that means it is too centralized.

This Song is done, again

Roger Ver again took his turn, and immediately reversed the claim. It is precisely the sign of a vibrant, healthy community when different ideas can be debated and discussed, he answered. Even when the debates run hot, Mr. Ver said, people have the chance to humble themselves and listen.

He said BTC was so centralized, so controlled, developers and those challenging their assumptions have been literally banished. The consensus among BTCers, in fact, was a sign of centralization, of control. Mr. Ver then pointed to his favorite target, the Reddit sub forum r/bitcoin.

All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate

BTC proponents have silenced BCH voices among them, Mr. Ver said, and wasn’t this a sign of a closed, unhealthy community. And as to its being a fiat currency, BCH is exactly the opposite, Mr. Ver maintained. A primary definition of a fiat currency is its being dictated, its use mandated by government force. Enthusiasts have literally thousands of choices among cryptocurrencies, and BCH is just one. “Cryptocurrencies are the currencies of freedom!” he shouted.

Mr. Song regained the podium, reading from prepared remarks. He attempted to fit those into the context of the debate, mentioning many times BTC is a meritocracy and how no one was entitled to be heard in the community. Mr. Ver then responded by suggesting he hadn’t argued for entitlement but more for an ethos, a way of acting inside the space. That it has changed in favor of one group to the exclusion of any other voices troubled Mr. Ver. The rest of what was to constitute the debate actually turned interesting, as the two men traded questions and answers between themselves. At the 44-minute mark, Mr. Song announced he was finished, disgusted, and he left unceremoniously. A member of the crowd jumped on stage in proxy. This Song was done, again.

C. Edward Kelso is a financial technology journalist based in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

The post All hell breaks loose: Bitcoin BCH vs. BTC debate appeared first on Coingeek.

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