Bitcoin Unlimited Node Bug Was Posted on /r/BTC And Censored By Moderators

Everyone who pays attention to bitcoin will have heard about the BU node bug by now. Several hundred Bitcoin Unlimited nodes were shut down due to a vulnerability in client’s code. Interestingly enough, someone had reported the bug on Reddit, yet that post was censored immediately by the moderators. A very strange development that ultimately resulted in a lot of panic among node owners. The bigger question is why someone censors such valuable information in the first place.

It is widely known censorship runs rampant on Reddit, regardless of which topic one is discussing. The BTC subreddit prides itself upon being the censorship-resistant place to discuss bitcoin. Evidence suggests otherwise, as a vital post containing information related to the BU node bug was censored by a moderator. There is no valid reason to do so, especially when considering the damage caused by this bug in the first place.

It remains unclear as to who discovered the node exploit in the first place. Many people believe it to be Peter Todd, even though he claims that is not the case. Bitcoin Unlimited would like nothing more than to blame this attack on a Bitcoin Core supporter or contributor. After all, that would only fuel the political war going on right now. In the end, it is the Bitcoin Unlimited developers fault this bug was there to take advantage of. It resided within the client’s source code for over a year. Such an oversight is simply unacceptable.

Node Bug Could have Had More Severe Consequences

Other bitcoin community members are not amused by this bug either. While it is a true Bitcoin Core has not been without flaws in the past, this bug goes to show BU developers have a lot of work to do. Moreover, it goes to show their client was not tested properly before releasing it to the public. While every developer needs to go through a steep learning curve, events like these can spell disaster for the Bitcoin Unlimited branch as a whole. Thankfully, the nodes are coming back online and an updated client has been released.

Charlie Lee commented on the situation as follows:

Rest assured this statement doesn’t sit well with the Bitcoin Unlimited supporters. Then again, they only have themselves to blame. First of all, the developers fail to address this bug for over a year. Secondly, a moderator on Reddit exerts censorship when the exploit is posted to warn people. Those are two colossal mistakes that could have resulted in more dire consequences than a few nodes being kicked offline.Whether or not that means we can’t trust BU developers, is a different matter, though.

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Throughout the years, there have been a few people in the Bitcoin world who generate a lot of negative friction. Even though their intentions may be good, the way they go about things leaves much to be desired. Censorship in the Bitcoin world is unacceptable, and many people see Theymos as one of the culprits. But Tuur Demeester is supporting his “style”, which creates even more discussion among enthusiasts.

To be clear, running a Bitcoin community forum and subReddit is a tedious task. While there is a lot of activity on these platforms, there is also a lot of spam and irrelevant news. When heated debates take place, a wide variety of opinions are presented. In a lot of cases, name-calling and foul mouthing are becoming all too common. Maintaining order requires some harsh actions now and then.

But there is a vast difference between handling an unruly crowd and censorship. In the Bitcoin world, the latter option is becoming more prevalent as time passes. Anyone who speaks out against Bitcoin Core is silenced. Altcoin supporters get banned. People who voice their opinion may find themselves shadowbanned in the blink of an eye.

Censorship Is Pretty Common in The Bitcoin World

A solution had to be created, and a split of the Bitcointalk forums ensued quite some time ago. Bitcoin and altcoin discussions were to be separated, which make things a bit more organized. Shortly afterward, a new problem arose: what about different branches of Bitcoin development? Competitors such as Bitcoin Classic, Bitcoin Unlimited, and others did not seem to have a place on these social platforms.

All of this had lead to a situation where the number of allowed topics on /r/Bitcoin may feel restricted to a lot of people. In a way, this is enforcing censorship in its purest form. While new subreddits were created for these things, it creates a wedge between Bitcoin community members. Some people started wondering if Theymos had the best interests of the community at heart.

Surprisingly enough, Tuur Demeester seems to think he does:

Statements like those are intended to put some people’s mind at ease. In this day and age of social media, there will be a lot of backlash over this statement. Everyone has their own opinion on Theymos and his actions. It is certain no one knows the whole truth about his views or his “agenda”. One thing is certain: there is plenty of censorship in Bitcoin. Those who fail to see that do not have the best interest of cryptocurrency at heart either.

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A new censorship debate is taking place on the Bitcoin GitHub page, and hardly anyone will be surprised Cobra-Bitcoin is involved in the mix once again. This latest issue revolves around whether or not Coinbase should be removed from the website. Apparently, their leadership keeps making ‘bad decisions” and they “try to undermine Bitcoin in some way”.

It is not surprising to see more censorship coming out of the /r/Bitcoin camp by any means these days. Over the past few months, there have been several incidents involved Reddit moderators, pull requests on GitHub, and Wikipedia entry editing regarding Bitcoin. All of these events are instigated by the same people, who claim to have the best interest of Bitcoin at heart.

Cobra-Bitcoin Wants More Censorship In Bitcoin

As of right now, a debate has been spurred by Cobra-Bitcoin, a person who remains anonymous to the Bitcoin community, yet has very close ties to Theymos. His latest proposal would see Coinbase removed from the website, due to the company’s support of non-Bitcoin Core development at times.

It has to be said; Coinbase has supported Bitcoin XT and Bitcoin Classic ever since the block size debate has begun. In recent days, the company also added Ethereum support to their platform, which is nothing more than a business decision. Then again, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong stated how Ethereum has a chance to overtake Bitcoin, which did not sit well with some community members.

Then again, it seems like this new idea is based on Cobra-Bitcoin’s own personal sentiments, rather than any wrongdoings by the company itself. Politics should have no place in the Bitcoin ecosystem, yet things like these rear their ugly head now and then.

At the same time, Coinbase has done a lot of good for the Bitcoin community as well. They were one of the first companies to bring thousands of new users into the Bitcoin ecosystem. Their efforts should not be forgotten about, and no one should pretend like Coinbase has done nothing to help Bitcoin just because it does not stroke their own political agenda. For some reason, that seems to be exactly what Cobra-Bitcoin is doing right now.

So far, it looks like some people are in support of the Cobra-Bitcoin proposal, whereas others are dismissing it. This is another discussion in the world of Bitcoin that is steering attention away from problems that need to be solved, such as the block size increase.

Source: Github

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There has been a lot of friction between the Bitcoin community members since the block size debate. The Bitcoin scalability issue has polarized the community into those who support the increase in block size, and those who don’t. Things between these two camps often leads to ugly debates on social media platforms.

The Bitcoin subreddit on renowned Reddit social platform continues to be one of the important platforms to host these debates. Created as a discussion forum for all the bitcoin users, the subreddit is now being accused for turning into a propaganda machine for promoting Bitcoin Core, and opposing block size proposal. Many prominent people from the Bitcoin community, including Roger Ver, have spoken on multiple occasions against the censorship policies of the moderators.

The opposing forces in the ongoing Bitcoin ‘civil war’ were at loggerheads all over again following Ver‘s recent take on /r/Bitcoin’s moderators for supporting censorship. Ver accused Theymos, one of the Bitcoin subreddit moderators, of banning threads that speak against Bitcoin Core.

Roger Ver went on to say that the aforementioned practices have turned this discussion board suitable for only a handful of people, a practice that has a detrimental effect on the enthusiasm of the whole Bitcoin community. In addition, he also called out people to protest against such censorship.

“Recently I publicly asked Greg Maxwell what he thought of blatant censorship like this: (image below)

roger ver

Despite having certainly having noticed the post, that was at the very top of /r/BTC he declined to comment in any way. I think that says a lot about his character.”

He added:

“Greg Maxwell, Theymos, and everyone else who refuses to speak out against this sort of policy (erasing minority opinions from forums and discussion boards) should be ashamed of themselves, and the rest of us should publicly shame them.”

Roger Ver’s accusation has garnered a response by Theymos who cleared that there are no financial gains involved in the kind of moderation being carried out by the Bitcoin subreddit moderators. He said:

“There are no monied interests influencing /r/Bitcoin moderation. I’ve never been an employee of a Bitcoin company. I receive nothing whatsoever from Blockstream, nor do I have any financial interest in their company. I don’t get any compensation whatsoever for moderating /r/Bitcoin. If it was safe to remove the max block size, then doing so would only be good for me — as far as I can tell, I would get no benefit from needlessly restricting block sizes or forcing the use of Lightning.

/r/Bitcoin policies are what they are because I/we think that they are the best policies for /r/Bitcoin and Bitcoin. It’s possible to reasonably disagree, but resorting to conspiracy theories isn’t an argument.”

However, the response doesn’t answer whether one man or a handful of men and women can decide what is good for an open source platform like Bitcoin, where every individual who is contributing the mining power or conducting transactions are doing their part to keep the network alive.

There are currently no signs of an end to the mudslinging match between Bitcoin subreddit moderators and a significant part of the Bitcoin community.

Ref: Bitcoin Forum | Bitcoin Subreddit | Image: Artnet

Frequent visitors of the Reddit platform may have noticed they are getting some strange private messages these days. Especially those users active on the Bitcoin subreddits are being targeted with spam bots advertising the benefits of Ethereum. Despite Reddit’s anti-spam measures, these messages are still coming through for some reason. It goes without saying this is not doing the reputation of Ethereum any favors right now, although none of these efforts are orchestrated by them as far as we can tell.

Also read: Bitcoin Price Watch; Live Strategy Plays

Ethereum Spam On Reddit Gets Out of Hand

Even though it is nothing new under the sun to be contacted by random users on Reddit regarding a product or service they want to promote, things tend to get out of hand sometimes. Take the Ethereum “marketing campaign”, for example, which is deliberately targeting users active on any of the Bitcoin subreddits.

While it is hard to say what this flood of messages is trying to achieve, it is clear that someone is behind all of these efforts. Unlike what some people might think, these efforts do not seem to be created by the Ethereum team themselves, but rather resemble the efforts of one or a select few community members taking a slightly too aggressive approach to things.

Roughly one day ago, Reddit user saagruddieu send a message to various Reddit users apologizing for the flood of Ethereum messages hitting the Reddit community. According to his message, the main goal was to showcase his belief in Ethereum in the long-term, rather than it being another pump and dump scheme. After all, the digital currency ecosystem has seen plenty of those altcoins in the past.

His – or her – reason for spamming Reddit users with messages about Ethereum was to find a way past the ongoing censorship plaguing the /r/Bitcoin subreddit. Most people will be well aware of how moderators keep a close eye on every discussion. Any topic that does not relate to Bitcoin itself will be removed or locked from comments, creating a very hostile atmosphere.

Sending private messages to users active on this subreddit will effectively bypass any censorship restrictions. But at the same time, it also causes a lot of negative response from people who think the Ethereum team is responsible for these spam attacks, even though that does not seem to be the case. In the end, saagruddieu just wanted to inspire the overall Reddit digital currency community to give Ethereum a chance, although it turned out to have quite an adverse effect.

Reddit Censorship Is Getting Ridiculous

Even though the actions by user saagruddieu are not commendable, they shed an interesting spotlight on the root cause of these spam messages, which is the /r/Bitcoin censorship enforced by Theymos and other moderators. For quite some time now, these subreddit moderators have been facing a ton of backlash from community members who feel they are far too strict with their policy.

As a result, people have to resort to different measures if they want to get a message across. Spamming through private messages is just one of the many outcomes of this censorship, and it is due time order is restored in /r/Bitcoin. Whether or not that will require Theymos and all current moderators to step down, remains to be seen. But something has to change sooner rather than later, as this toxic and hostile environment is not helping matters at all.

Source: Reddit

The news this past week has been dominated by the announcement of Mike Hearn leaving the Bitcoin scene for good. Hearn posted a very long and detailed explanation of why things are not going the way he thinks they should in the world of Bitcoin, and his words were gratefully picked up by mainstream media. But what is the hidden message behind these words?

Also read: Bitcoin Accepting Payment Platform Adyen Doubles in Revenue

Mike Hearn Raised Some Valid Points, With Caveats

Even though a lot of people are on the fence regarding what Hearn said in his post on Medium, there are some valid points to be found in his comments. First of all, there is the problem of intermediary services and people trying to take control of Bitcoin. Although the situation is not necessarily as dire as some people may want you to believe, it certainly is something we all need to be wary of from now on.

Most of the mining power is located in China, Bitcoin users flock to exchanges acting as an intermediary to hold funds, and coming to a consensus decision is very difficult when it comes to matters such as the block size debate. However, this does not necessarily mean Bitcoin has failed; it just means we are coming to a crossroads and need to figure out a proper plan of action the majority of people can agree on.

As one would come to expect, it didn’t take long until Hearn brought up the Bitcoin block size in his Medium post. While this issue has been on everybody’s mind for nearly a full year now, very little action has been undertaken other than putting together a few proposals.

In fact, Mike Hearn was the only one taking a drastic measure by releasing a Bitcoin client that could fork the blockchain and destroy the digital currency completely if no consensus would be reached. While Bitcoin XT had gotten a fair bit of support from several companies, most of them backtracked by stating how they will always support the longest blockchain, regardless of size.

A solution, such as Bitcoin Classic, needs to be implemented sooner rather than later, so this issue can be put to bed once and for all. If this issue is not sorted in due time, the Bitcoin network risks of running out of capacity, as the blocks can not be filled with more transactions. Needless to say, that situation needs to be avoided at all costs.

Speaking of development, Hearn touches upon the subject of how Bitcoin Core developers are keeping a lot of information hidden from the community. While it is true the communication has been far less frequent than before; there never seemed to be an imminent threat to the Bitcoin network. Whether or not such a threat ever existed, will remain unknown as Hearn jumped the gun and decided to force the issue by releasing Bitcoin XT.

It is exactly this release that triggered a flood of negative reactions from the community, developers, and people who weren’t even involved in Bitcoin to begin with. Pushing emotional buttons, as Hearn calls it, might not have been the smartest move, although it spurred the block size debate to new levels. This feedback is also part of the reason Hearn took his ball and went home, as we will discuss below.

Bitcoin XT Failed, But Bitcoin Itself Did Not

The way the discussion around Bitcoin XT was handled on Reddit,, and BitcoinTalk, leaves much to be desired. Instead of constructive criticism, certain individuals started hammering Bitcoin XT as an abomination and altcoin, simply because it was not the original Bitcoin Core client. All of the back-and-forth shouting, aggression, and pinned up anger led to an implosion that – possibly – would have happened regardless.

Fruitful discussions about Bitcoin XT moved to the forum, and valuable feedback was provided to the team of developers. But at the same time, that knowledge could not be passed on to other community members or investors, as anything related to Bitcoin XT and posted on /r/Bitcoin would be removed in a matter of hours. Censorship was in full effect in the Bitcoin world, and Hearn did not like it one bit [and rightfully so].

However, things could have been handled differently by both parties. Hearn and his Bitcoin XT group of developers could have resorted to other means to getting the word out about Bitcoin XT. Instead, they decided to keep hammering on Reddit and, rather than trying an alternative approach. If he is so certain investors needed to know about the artificial limit, why not reach out to them directly?

Furthermore, Hearn claims Bitcoin XT users have been suffering from DDoS attacks. That statement seems quite strange in a decentralized network, where 15% of the network nodes are running this new Bitcoin XT client. Do keep in mind all of this information is gathered from Reddit reports, and are hard to prove or debunk.

Hearn claims one-third of Bitcoin XT nodes were removed due to ongoing DDoS attacks. Surely such a minor setback should not spell the end of a project that should have the best interests of the Bitcoin community at heart? A lot more could have been done to fight back, instead of rolling over and giving up.

Mike Hearn Is Angry, But Bitcoin Still Has Issues To Address

There is no denying that Mike Hearn’s idea held a lot of merits, and things should have been handled differently by all parties involved. While Bitcoin XT was an interesting concept, reaching majority consensus would have been difficult by any means. But at least, somebody tried to do things differently in that regard.

In the end, Bitcoin still has issues it needs to address very soon before things get out of hand even more. The block size debate needs to be sorted in the next few weeks, and more transparency between developers, users, and investors will be very beneficial to the overall ecosystem. However, Bitcoin has not failed, nor has it entered its death spiral by any means.

Additionally, something has to change regarding mining centralization as well. Granted, China is a perfect location for manufacturing mining hardware and offers low electricity costs for mining. But at the same time, a balance must be struck across all continents, as there are plenty of places where cheap electricity can be found in abundance.

In the end, it all comes down to the Bitcoin community once again. All of us have a vote in saying how Bitcoin should evolve, and there is no better time than now to make sure your voice is heard. Be more vocal about how you feel, and look beyond Reddit and Bitcointalk to voice that opinion. Get on social media, contact Bitcoin news outlets, and tell your story to the world, as it is well worth listening to.

About two weeks ago, during an interview, Vladimir Putin signaled his tacit support for using bitcoins in Russia. The Russian President stated that the digital currency shouldn’t be banned and that it could have possible uses for some government institutions.

But it seems that the Russian censorship haven’t finished.  Yesterday, Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin’s media watchmen, threatened to block another news website. Officials yesterday told Zuckerberg Pozvonit, or “Zuckerberg Calling,” which focuses on news related to Internet entrepreneurialism, that it must delete or edit within the next three days an article it published about bitcoins. The suddenly controversial article, titled What Are Bitcoins and Who Needs Them?, was published more than two years ago in April 2013.

Vyacheslav Tsyplukhin, the publisher at Zuckerberg Pozvonit, stated on Facebook that, according to its editorial policy, ZP media intentionally avoids any political issues. Given this, Tsyplukhin says he is surprised by the court’s decision:

“We haven’t discussed this issue collectively yet, but I maintain the position that we don’t have to delete anything. Let them close the website, and then let them explain to our 1.8 million readers, and to the industry, what is going on.”

Roskomnadzor warned it would block the website if the news website refuses to meet his demands.

Roskomnadzor’s warning is a response to a February 2015 court decision in Astrakhan, which determined that Zuckerberg Pozvonit‘s article contains “the propaganda of tax crimes in the area of legalizing [money laundering] income obtained in a criminal way” and “has a negative impact on the legal consciousness of citizens.”

At first Roskomnadzor offered some resistance in enforcing the court order, by appealing to the court for clarification, and arguing that the article in question was merely informational. However, the last court answer ordered that law should be enforced.

These new events show some unfriendliness from the Russian government towards Bitcoin. Even though Vladimir Putin past declarations seemed quite positive, what seems to be obvious is that the digital currency ecosystem in Russia is still a harsh place for business these days.

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Censorship resistance is still one attribute that seems to have an extreme importance. Before Bitcoin, online merchants were limited to centralized payment hubs, such as PayPal, who were able to prevent certain transactions from taking place over the Internet.

In 2011, Bitcoin donations enabled organizations like Wikileaks to easily receive donations. Online Black markets like Silk Road were also able to use the digital currency as a mean of exchange. Today, these two events still are the best illustrations of Bitcoin’s usefulness and the ability to present new solutions for old issues.

The recent limits placed on Voat’s PayPal account are the latest example of the payment company’s willingness to exert control over online commerce, or for example, when PayPal decided to shut down the account of Kim Dotcom’s cloud storage service, the well-known Mega.

Bitcoin has a way of bringing up the debate as to whether or not money is speech. After all, creating a Bitcoin transaction involves nothing more than sending a cryptographically signed message to the rest of the network.

Voat is a Reddit clone that has enjoyed a large amount of traffic lately due to the site’s policy to leave content uncensored as often as possible. After experiencing a peak in popularity, Voat saw their PayPal account permanently limited when this PayPal account was used for nothing more than donations.

Much like speech, there are going to be some transactions that people don’t like in a world of free and open digital transactions. To bring this back to a real-world example, it’s obvious that some people wanted to censor donations to Wikileaks back in 2011, and it would have worked if it hadn’t been for Bitcoin.

If we allow for the gates to censorship to be opened, we also open up the possibility that innocent individuals or organizations end up being censored or financially harmed.

Bitcoin has brought a new form of speech; one that let us support entities, individuals and organizations who fight for what’s right. So, it will be increasingly important to preserve Bitcoin’s immunity to censorship.