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On March 23, the Twitter handle @Bitcoin became mired in controversy after BTC supporters complained about the account and attempted to get the profile shut down. The operator of the Bitcoin Twitter profile has also accused the social media platform of manipulating matters by placing restrictions on the account and limiting its overall traffic.
Also read: Bitcoin and the Agora: Every Transaction Outside the Nexus of State Control Is a Victory
The Relentless Attempt to Silence a Twitter Handle
The owner of the Twitter handle @Bitcoin believes the account is being restricted for being critical toward the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network and the Lightning Network (LN). Over the last few weeks, several BTC supporters have advocated having the account suspended or reassigned to a group of core developers.
The dispute arose because the @Bitcoin account shows support for the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network. Hardcore maximalists and LN proponents believe that because the account calls itself ‘Bitcoin,’ it is fraudulently impersonating what they believe is the ‘real’ Bitcoin. On March 15, Twitter user @Moonoverlord opined that the account should be handed to the group of developers known as Bitcoin Core.
“So embarrassing the Bitcoin handle acts like this,” Moonoverlord tweeted. “Should be given back to the bitcoin core team instead of being used to start petty fights and mislead people.”
The former moderator of the r/bitcoin subreddit, a Reddit forum known for rampant censorship, also agreed with the idea and explained the handle could be given to any developers behind BTC. “Doesn’t have to be the core devs — Could be the group of devs @sqcrypto funds with just positive and informative content,” explained the Twitter handle known as ‘Stop and Decrypt.’ Blockstream VP of Solutions, Warren Togami, replied to Stop and Decrypt’s commentary by stating that “It’s better for the name to be frozen forever — The account has been committing fraud for a long time — Surely this is a violation of ToS.”
Twitter Suspensions and Shadow Bans
Following the controversy and people bickering about the handle this week, the @Bitcoin account detailed that it believed it was already being unfairly restricted. “Any journalists want to write about how Jack Dorsey (CEO of Twitter) is restricting accounts that are critical of one of his portfolio companies?” asked the Bitcoin handle on March 23. Twitter has also been accused of censorship and deplatforming for quite some time by many different critics.
The Twitter founder is a publicly known Lightning Network investor and has helped fund the startup Lightning Labs. The Bitcoin account had previous problems with Twitter in April 2018, when the account was suspended for unknown reasons. After the account was suspended, the r/bitcoin community celebrated while others on social media thought the move by Twitter was immoral. For example, cryptocurrency news and research website Coinivore tweeted to Twitter and Jack Dorsey to say that the account “should be restored and allowed to express their opinion on scaling.” Eventually, the Bitcoin account was restored to the rightful owner, but ever since its social reach appears to have been neutered.
The ‘One True Bitcoin’ Debate May Take Years to Settle
Right now the Bitcoin account doesn’t seem to be phased by the harassment and has continued to express opinions that are in opposition to scaling choices promoted by BTC and LN supporters. People who support the @Bitcoin handle expressing itself in any fashion have said that Bitcoin technology and the name are not a designated brand that solely belongs to BTC.
In fact, the protocol has been forked roughly 47 times since the notorious split on August 1, 2017, and there are individuals who believe there are many forms of Bitcoin now. The people who believe there is no ‘one real’ Bitcoin are convinced the protocol they support is the “better Bitcoin.” Among the 47 odd forks, groups of people think that there are only three chains that have decent support and it will take years for the market to decide which coin will be considered ‘the one and only Bitcoin.’ Even the amount of proof-of-work (PoW) could change in a 10-year period or another Bitcoin fork could capture the most accumulated PoW as well as the biggest market capitalization. On Saturday, entrepreneur Vinny Lingham expressed his opinion on this manner, writing that BTC is a clear winner and incumbent. Lingham added that “it’s going to take a Herculean effort for BCH and BSV to overtake it.”
“That said, the over-reliance on the Lightning Network for scaling and extreme focus on decentralization with the risk of high fees at any moment is a major limiting factor,” Lingham continued.
Another example that describes the situation perfectly was when independent cryptocurrency researcher Hasu Fly explained the set of circumstances that led to Bitcoin forks in December 2018. Within his memorable essay “Unpacking Bitcoin’s Social Contract,” Hasu noted that usually Bitcoin’s social contract cannot fork and typically only one contract remains after a split. However, the cryptocurrency researcher explained that the BCH fork was a rare and different story.
“Forking the protocol doesn’t equal forking the social contract, so the new token is worthless by default,” Hasu’s essay notes. “In the rare case that the social contract itself splits (like when bitcoin cash split off from bitcoin), you end up with two weaker social contracts—each agreed to by fewer people than the old one.”
The Sum of All Coins
To many people, the ultimate decision will be made by network participants and the free market in regard to what the ‘better Bitcoin’ is and it may not be decided for a very long time. Also, there are cryptocurrency supporters who hold BCH, BTC, and BSV as a ‘sum of all coins’ investment approach, in order to see which one reigns supreme in the future. People of this opinion believe that the Bitcoin twitter handle should not be restricted or frozen by the whims of the mob and a Lightning Network investor. However, in the crypto community, the oppression of mob rule and censorship has been extremely heavy in recent times. The Orwellian thought process expressed on Twitter shouldn’t be too surprising since forums like r/bitcoin, many crypto thought leaders, and various censorship apologists have promoted the obvious manipulation within the Bitcoin community since 2015.
What do you think about the individuals trying to get the Bitcoin Twitter account suspended? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Twitter, and Pixabay.
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