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‘Embarassed’ Bitcoin Core Dev Matt Corallo Slams Toxic Blockstream CSO

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.”

Best decision I’ve ever made. I’m honestly pretty embarrassed to have helped cofound @Blockstream.

— Matt Corallo (@TheBlueMatt) May 27, 2019

What’s Wrong with Bitcoin Culture

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.

The kind of “let’s be mean just because it’s fun” culture exposed by a number of @Blockstream folks and their management is a lot of what’s wrong with (a small subset) of the Bitcoin culture.

— Matt Corallo (@TheBlueMatt) May 27, 2019

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.

Idk. All I’ve read is some shitcoin dev spreading the myth that legit devs are leaving Bitcoin for Ethereum (lol), then a Bitcoin dev literally called “garbage” and “ridiculous” Woodfine & Ammous because some very well exposed general takes, now this. Pot attacking kettle.

— Giacomo Zucco [I identify as ‘CSW is a Fraud’] (@giacomozucco) May 27, 2019

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.

Bitcoin No Longer a Group of Friends

While in person is generally better there’s still a number of people who need to take some queues from professionalism and realize this is an industry now, not just a small band of friends.

— Matt Corallo (@TheBlueMatt) May 26, 2019

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?

It would actually be better if all #Bitcoin contributors were pseudonymous, for a multitude of reasons.

— Samson Mow (@Excellion) May 27, 2019

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.

Toxic Dogma among Bitcoin Extremists Earns Another Critic

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.

Bram Cohen Weighs In

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.

Okay I’ll weigh in on whether Bitcoin development is toxic and if so what to do about it (trigger warning: Nuanced opinion ahead, likely to piss you off) 1

— Bram Cohen (@bramcohen) May 27, 2019

That said, there’s a funny thing around Bitcoin twitter specifically which is that the closer you get to core development the nicer it is. The people doing most of the development these days are consistently friendly, but the farther you get from them the nastier it gets 3

— Bram Cohen (@bramcohen) May 27, 2019

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.

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