Jameson Lopp, the outspoken Bitcoin commentator and BitGo engineer, has fallen victim to what appears to be an incident of “swatting“. He suspects he may have been targeted for his views on the New York Agreement signed this summer which, if enacted upon, will result in a second hard fork of the Bitcoin blockchain. Swatting, for those unaware, is a more extreme version of a classic teenage prank. However, rather than get a load of unwanted taxis or pizzas ordered to someone’s place, you get an armed response unit.
According to WNCN, a large number of armed police officers showed up at Lopp’s North Carolina residence following reports of a hostage situation occurring at the CoinDesk author’s home from an anonymous tipster. The caller supposedly claimed to have already shot someone with an assault rifle and was holding more victims hostage. WNCN reports the call alerting police to the fake emergency:
By my voice, you can tell I’m not in a mental health state.I’m all over the place. I don’t know what to do…If I don’t get $60,000, I’m going to blow the whole (expletive) block up. If I see any police coming toward the front door who aren’t handling a bag full of money, I’ll shoot them on sight.
Obviously, owing to the gravity of the claims, the authorities responded quickly to the situation. They were met by a bewildered Lopp emerging from his home who then had to explain to the armed police officers in attendance that there was no emergency. He later told Tech Crunch:
They shut down most of my neighborhood. There were dozens of patrol units, a SWAT team, mobile command post, a fire truck, and paramedics. It was a huge waste of public resources.
Jameson Lopp hasn’t been shy about taking a side in the ongoing scaling debate that has stagnated Bitcoin development for years now. A former “big-blocker”, he now supports SegWit only without the 2x rider later tacked on at the New York Agreement. It’s unclear at present what motivated the prank but Lopp hints that it’s likely to do with his firm views against the proposed upgrade to the network.
Same old same old: Bitcoin philosophy and scaling debate arguments. A few of the more extreme cases think I’m some kind of manipulative monster… The attacker never made any references to my public debates, so it’s not a certainty that they were motivated by them. They may simply want to extort me, similar to what has happened to several other prominent Bitcoin folks.