The alleged Bitcoin-focused firm Blockstream has raised over $100 million publicly, however has but to be forthright with the Bitcoin group. 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.
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In late 2014, Blockstream went public with their firm after being financed by banking and enterprise capital companies equivalent to AXA, Khosla Ventures, Horizon Ventures, and others. Inside six months, Blockstream mentioned it will 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. Nonetheless, they’ve undoubtedly achieved 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 drawback is the product they launched, Liquid, isn’t meant for basic 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 primary Bitcoin chain.”
Other than the Blockstream Liquid sidechain being meant for a personal consortium of companies, astonishingly, Blockstream CEO Adam Again is brazenly pushing for people to transform their Bitcoin into Bitcoin Liquid (L-BTC).
Congratulations Blockstream, you simply re-invented SWIFT.
It took 4 years for Blockstream to supply a working product, and the group remains to be ready on a working model of Lightning Community (LN). It has been in growth since 2015, and appears 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 operate as marketed, LN builders and Blockstream have to resolve the path-routing drawback.
Till that day comes, LN builders have recommended that customers depend on Watchtowers to stop fraud. Watchtowers are only a fancy means of saying trusted third-parties. In addition to the Lightning Community not being trustless, the value 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 appreciate it’s cheaper and extra handy to remain on the Lightning community?
Dishonesty and Manipulation
Other than the technical pitfalls and shadowy underbelly of Blockstream, censorship campaigns and toxicity inside the group have already pushed folks away. However who’s driving this unsettling surroundings? It might be not possible to pinpoint a single actor, however it’s necessary the group calls out unhealthy habits.
Censorship, of course, has exacerbated the poisonous surroundings 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 occasion traces. The affect of censorship in Bitcoin are very actual:
“Censorship can actually hinder a society whether it is unhealthy sufficient. As a result of media is such a big half of folks’s lives at this time and it’s the supply of principally all info, if the info will not be being given in full or honestly then the society is left uneducated […] Censorship might be the primary option to decrease folks’s proper to freedom of speech.”
Soiled Video games: Hacking and Vote Manipulation
In addition to 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 group found that moderators of the r/Bitcoin subreddit have 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 function in the occasion.
Not solely has Blockstream been enjoying soiled on social media, however they’ve been partaking in a form of social-media infused espionage. Simply this previous summer time, people in the group found Blockstream is working with former nationwide spies to run counterintelligence on the Bitcoin group. Adam Again, the CEO of Blockstream, admitted he employed a group to advertise Blockstream’s propaganda as a way to manipulate the dominant narrative.
Secret Work and Hidden Agendas
Blockstream has additionally been silently hiring folks in the group 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 kind of factor occurred. In some instances, the hires have been downright bizarre and scandalous, which some could contemplate unlawful. It’s apparent now why Blockstream took down their group web page almost a 12 months in the past and by no means put it again up.
Right this moment, it was additionally found that one other well-known particular person in the Bitcoin area has been working for Blockstream. Once more, the group was utterly unaware these people have been working for Blockstream to additional an agenda reasonably 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 gained’t even know him. Some old-school Bitcoiners will know him as the notorious consumer AlpacaSW on Twitter, aka Alphonse Tempo, who’s liable for a myriad of social media assaults. He was additionally one of the most vocal drivers behind the UASF in 2017.
UASF: The Pretend Grassroots Motion
The Person Activated Gentle 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 members in the Bitcoin ecosystem might activate a fork by working the software program they select. By coordinating with one another on a selected date (flag day), they might all run the software program with the rule adjustments in place.
The idea is that if the UASF is coordinated efficiently by the majority of the consumer community, miners would observe. Nonetheless, at the finish of the day, it will take the miners to cooperate with the UASF for it to achieve success. With out miner cooperation, the UASF might trigger a sequence cut up.
Since there isn’t a proof-of-work with a UASF — because it’s simply customers and community members —it will be simple to Sybil assault it. Due to this fact, it turned clear in 2017 that the UASF was only a pretend grassroots motion to activate Segwit surreptitiously. And who was the primary group behind UASF? It was none apart from Blockstream who have been championing the gentle fork, judging by posts equivalent to UASF is a user-driven protocol growth and user-activated gentle forks and the illiberal minority.
The Reality Will Set You Free
One has to surprise, when will the lies and deceit finish? My opinion is that it gained’t. As a group, everybody must proceed being diligent, considering critically and independently. The group 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.
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