Have you heard about bitcoin and the money revolution, but wondered what it is, and why things are changing so fast? Are you caught in the grip of poverty or debt, and wish there was a way out? Do you think the world is stuck in a rut of slavery, and don’t see a clear path to freedom? In this article I will address these questions and show you why the world is in its current dilemma, and what the bitcoin revolution is doing to change everything.
In the natural world, everything that lives seeks to preserve its own existence. This is logical. There would be no purpose to life if everything was suicidal. That just wouldn’t make sense. Everything that is living has the innate desire to continue to do so.
But in order to survive in the wild, everything needs to keep finding ways to grow, otherwise they will eventually suffer attacks from outside sources and perish. Plants grow bigger and tougher to withstand the elements of climate, disease and pests, and then produce seeds and shoots in order to secure the longevity of their species.
As humans, we protect ourselves from the forces of nature by finding ways to improve our health and fitness, enrich and expand our minds, and have children to ensure the continuity of our families and our species as a whole.
So how does money fit into all this? Well, money is simply a mechanism of exchange that allows people to procure things that they believe will enhance and improve their lives. We as people use money to buy the best kinds of food we can afford, decent housing, clothing, transportation and education, among a great number of other useful things, all in the pursuit of a larger and longer, richer, more fulfilling life for ourselves, and our families and friends.
Without enough money to expand and enhance our lives, life is small, short and dark. A constant battle against economic scarcity that depletes our resources and leads us to an eventual and pitiful demise. This is the harsh reality of nature that plants and animals in the wild seem to understand so much better than “civilised” humans. Expand, adapt and improve, or perish.
Within the scope of the human world, the same principles apply. We must each expand our own situation in order to secure a better future, or we will be swallowed up by economic pressures and harsh reality. We see evidence of this in countries where, despite a richness of natural resources, large sections of the population have been denied access to good food, housing and education, in order to fulfill the greedy desires of the rich and controlling classes. African warlords pillage and plunder wealth from countless villages, while the poor and weak remain in a state of deprivation and eternal poverty.
In western countries, the wealthy elite grow fat while holding the masses in the iron grip of debt and economic slavery. The few dominate the many, forcing much of humanity to work their entire lives just to repay mortgages on their homes, and pay large taxes that are primarily used to maintain the status quo, i.e. the dominance over the many by the few through large police agencies and disproportionately active military forces.
The larger and richer a nation is, the more of its resources are spent on defending its control structures. The United States, for example, spends far more money per capita than any other nation on “national security”, government, and it’s so called “Department of Defence” aka “Department of Empirical Expansion”.
It is irrational, cruel and barbaric to spend such a high proportion of resources and wealth in order to gain and maintain such a disproportionate concentration of power and control, while millions of people go hungry and suffer miserable lives, deprived of decent healthcare, physical nourishment, and “real” education.
And it has to stop.
Technology is the enemy of the controlling elite. Technology is nothing more than the never ending accumulation of intelligent thought gradually building on itself to find better ways of doing things. Medicine, transportation, food production – all these things are examples of technology being used to improve the situation for humanity. Technology holds the keys to the lock on the door that opens up a better future for all humankind.
Now, technology itself is neither good nor bad, it is merely the advancement of knowledge, and it can be used for good purposes or bad, depending on the motivation of the persons holding it. A bitter, twisted person can use technology for evil purposes, and that is what we see happening all too often in governmental and military organisations. They build and use technological weapons designed to brutalize, maim and kill ordinary and defenseless civilians, with utter disregard for the amount of pain and suffering they cause along the way.
How much better and more logical is it then, to use technology to actually improve the world? Recent developments in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and tidal electricity generation, as well as new types of storage, i.e lithium battery and capacitor technology, all but do away with the need for risky nuclear plants, and are gradually reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
The technology exists to grow far more food than the people of earth could possibly ever need. Imagine how much benefit to humanity could be achieved if populations in desert areas were given access to solar powered water desalination and irrigation technology. Starvation and deprivation have already been defeated – if only the knowledge was shared and applied where it is needed.
Our technological toolbox is ready – we just need to deliver it where it is required and allow the local populations to start using the tools and start to live the full, rich and healthy lives that every human deserves.
And this is where Bitcoin comes in.
Bitcoin allows people in the remotest of nations to start benefiting from modern technology by giving them the freedom to trade with whomever they choose, anywhere around the world, far out of the reach of the wealthy elite in their European palaces.
African warlords lose the motivation to enslave and steal from their local communities once they finally have a legitimate way to build wealth without resorting to violent and ruthless behaviour.
Hackers and scammers, so desperate and hungry for a better way of life, will gladly trade their dodgy and annoying practices for something a bit more legitimate and less guilt-laden if it will sustain and improve their lives to do so.
Life is abundant, and there is plenty for all once you loose the stranglehold of the dominating financial elite, as bitcoin is doing right now.
Bitcoin is financial freedom in a smartphone app. It is the way – the only way, that people around the world have to expand and improve their lives and the lives of those around them, while also improving the lives of those around the world that they choose to trade with.
Trade is a win-win scenario, and it leads to a better way of life for everyone. And Bitcoin is the ultimate free-trade facilitator. It knows no borders, recognizes no artificial authority, and demands no taxes or bribes. Bitcoin is pure trade, and a fair share for all.
The world has woken up to its own depressing situation. It has become a financial fortress of economic slavery, where those in power use the taxes paid by the poor to keep those same poor people under their domination and control, and it has got to stop. In this article we have discussed the underlying principles of nature – the need to constantly improve and expand life, and have explained how money fits into this system. We have talked about the benefits of technology, and how it can be used to improve the lives of the whole human race, and we have discussed the part that Bitcoin is playing in bringing down the established economic power structures, and is rapidly setting humanity free from slavery and starvation.
Our world is changing quickly, lead by those among us who understand the great benefits that technology can bring to every single person on earth. Join us – follow us, and with Bitcoin, we will together open the doors to a better and more fulfilling life and a brighter future for us all.
Bitcoin has hit the mainstream in New Zealand today, with new of the first piece of real estate being sold for the digital currency that is taking the world by storm. In this article we discuss the new financial technology that is set to revolutionise the banking paradigm, and highlight a few ways New Zealanders can get involved with crypto currencies such as Bitcoin in these early times.
First, let’s take a look at what Bitcoin is, and the technology that makes it work. Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is immune to inflation, because there can only ever be 21 million of them in existence due to the mathematical system that creates them. There are currently around 16 million bitcoin in existence, and new coins are slowly generated through a process known as “mining”. All 21 million coins will have been mined by the year 2140.
The term “bitcoin mining” is a bit of a misnomer. Theres is no actual mining involved. Mining refers to the processing of financial transactions on the bitcoin network. Imagine how a transaction through a normal bank has to be processed. If someone makes a purchase using EFTPOS, funds are withdrawn from their bank acount and are deposited into the account belonging to the person they are buying from. The bank processes the transaction and charges a small fee for doing so.
The same thing happens with bitcoin: the buyer sends the agreed amount of bitcoin to the seller using an app on their smartphone or pc; the bitcoin network processes the transaction, and receives a small fee for doing so. Infact, almost anybody with a working computer can connect it to the bitcoin network using free software, and start processing transactions on it and earning part of those transaction fees themselves. This is called “mining”, and the people and the computers they use for mining are called “miners”. Bitcoin mining is highly profitable, even for small-time miners running a few pcs or dedicated miners at home.
Bitcoin and other “crypto currencies” (crypto is short for “encrypted”) are stored in people’s phones and computers using small apps called “wallets”. Well, sort of. In reality, only proof of ownership is stored in the wallets. The coins themselves are recorded as entries in a a ledger which is shared and duplicated right across the entire bitcoin mining network, making it very difficult for hackers or fraudsters to get up to any dodgy business. Details of every transaction are permanently recorded, and are viewable by anyone with a web browser using websites such as BlockExplorer. Details of the transaction are recorded, but the names and personal details of the sender and receiver are not, so there is a combination of security and privacy, sometimes referred to as pseudonymity.
As transactions are created using bitcoin and are submitted to the bitcoin network for processing, they are grouped together in batches of transactions known as blocks. Think of a block as being a page bearing a list of perhaps a dozen transactions. Once a block is formed, it is published on the network and waits to be validated or “confirmed” by a number of “miners”. It is encrypted to keep the details secure, is allocated a block number, and is added to the exiting list of previous blocks in a fashion that creates a permanent, unbreakable chain. This is what’s known as the blockchain, and is the underlying technology that is changing the world as we know it and will most likely end the stranglehold that traditional banks have over the world’s financial system.
Bitcoin and blockchain technology are creating a decentralized money system that allows anyone in the world to easily and quickly make payments to anyone else, anywhere else in the world, without the need for an intermediary such as a bank. This is revolutionizing business and will transform the way the world conducts trade, thereby transferring the ability to generate wealth from the extremely rich banking elite to the common people of planet Earth.
The bankers are already kicking up a stink and are doing all they can to make sure bitcoin doesn’t succeed: they don’t want freedom for the masses, but the cat is already out of the bag. Bitcoin is spreading like wildfire around the world, and is now becoming welcomed into the mainstream here in New Zealand. A plethora of bars and cafes around Auckland and Christchurch already accept bitcoin for some products, and the movement is gaining traction.
There are a few downsides to bitcoin as it currently stands. The value of each Bitcoin fluctuates tremendously as traders look to profit from differences in supply and demand, just as they have done in traditional forex and stock markets in the past. This causes a bit of annoyance to bitcoin users but is generally accepted as part of life. Every decent wallet app is constantly updated with the current value anyway, so it is not really much different than having New Zealand dollars and watching the price rise against US dollars or Aussie dollars. Welcome to the age of global trading (which is different than globalization but that’s food for another article).
For people new to the bitcoin world, you need to know that there are many other crypto currencies in existence, not just bitcoin. The other big coins include names such as “Ethereum” (great name and a great currency), Litecoin (designed to act as “silver” in relation to Bitcoin’s status as digital “gold”), DASH (short for “Digital Cash”), and Monero (a crypto currency with an even greater level of privacy).
Each crypto is designed for use in slightly different industries or scenarios. For example, Ethereum (ETH) is designed for use in generating “smart contracts”. One example of a smart contract could be an automatically generated and administered insurance policy, than remains in place so long as the proper conditions such as premium payments are made, and which pays out automatically when a claim is made.
You can monitor the value of each crypto currency on websites like WorldCoinIndex and CoinMarketCap (Cap is short for capitalization). Values are usually represented in comparison to US Dollars, so keep your calculator app handy or find a converter on google.
How to buy Bitcoin in New Zealand.
So how does one get their hands on some of this digital gold, you ask? Well, it is pretty easy, really. There are websites such as “Localbitcoins.com” that let you arrange meetings with other kiwis to do deals for cryptos, but not everyone is comfortable meeting strangers to buy and sell money, and understandably so. A better option is to use a reputable online coin broker or exchange such as Coinmama.com, and just buy bitcoins using your credit card. Just sign up for an account, make your purchase, and wait for the bitcoin to be deposited into your coin wallet app.
If you need a good wallet for pc try Jaxx.io or Exodus wallet. For smartphones, do a search for your particular phone’s operating system as the apps do vary. Just do a bit of research before you jump into it. Make sure the wallet you choose gives you access to your “private keys”. If it does not, keep on looking. Whoever controls your keys, controls your coins. It is not recommended to treat your accounts on coin exchanges as wallets, for the very same reason.
So there is a bit of an introduction to Bitcoin, a background and overview of the mining process and the underlying blockchain technology. You should definitely look into bitcoin. Do some research and get yourself a wallet. Keep in mind that it is very easy to change wallets later, so don’t be scared, just keep a copy of those private keys.
Bitcoin and the other cryptos are the future of finances, and they are here to stay. By jumping onboard now you are still at the leading edge of things, and will be well placed to use the technology to your advantage as we progress. It is an exciting time, so embrace the change and take control over your own finances. Be your own bank!!
Mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and crypto currencies is taking place, yet many folks are unsure as to the true nature of these digital assets and the revolutionary blockchain technology that is behind them. In this article I will give you a simple explanation of what Bitcoin is, without going into the nuts and bolts of how everything works. You can read up on the techy stuff later but for now, this post will give you the basics.
Bitcoin is electronic money. It is not printed on paper notes like your old dollar bills, and there are no physical coins like the 50 cents piece rattling around in your car’s ashtray. No paper, no shiny metal coins – just numbers in an account. Think of bitcoins as being money in an online bank account.
Now, as with all online bank accounts, someone has to take care of looking after your Bitcoin balance in the same way that your bank uses its computers to look after your regular bank accounts. When you pay your bills using traditional online banking or EFTPOS, it is your bank that processes the transactions, and they usually charge you fees for doing it. Bitcoin works in the same way except the transactions are processed by a large network of computers spread all over the world. You still get charged a fee for doing a transaction, but that fee goes to the owner of the computer that actually processes your bitcoin transaction.
As with any normal banking transaction, there is a payer and a receiver. If you are paying your power bill online, you are the payer and the power company is the receiver, and you both have your own bank account numbers. In bitcoin transactions, it is the same. You have your own bitcoin account number, but it is called an “address”, and the receiver also has an “address”. When you pay a bill with bitcoins, the bitcoins are transferred from your address to the receiver’s address.
When you send bitcoins to someone in this way, which you can do using a simple app on your smartphone, a small amount of the bitcoins you send are sent to the owner of the computer that processes the transaction. That is the transaction fee, and it helps to pay the costs of their mining equipment and electricity usage plus a small profit. The person who owns that particular computer is called a bitcoin miner. And the processing of the transaction is called bitcoin mining.
Some people own a lot of computers that are used for this “bitcoin mining”, and as a result, they can earn a lot of money from processing lots and lots of transactions. Infact, there is so much money to be made from bitcoin mining that there are even companies who rent out computers so other people can run the bitcoin mining program on them.
All of these bitcoin mining computers are spread out around the world. A lot of people even do the “bitcoin mining” on their personal pc’s and laptops at home, and earn anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars per day depending on the speed of their computer. So Bitcoin gives normal people the opportunity to earn a small income by processing transactions (aka bitcoin mining) on their own pc.
Bitcoin runs on a decentralized network, as opposed to the centralized system used by traditional banks. Being decentralized means that the system is less prone to hackers and fraudsters, and there is very little chance of the network going offline.
The next thing I will mention is that Bitcoin is “open source”, meaning that anyone can see the actual computer code that runs the network. All transactions are permanently stored on the network, and can be easily viewed by anyone using a web browser. Note that the transactions are visible but none of your personal information is visible because you didn’t have to provide it when you first opened your bitcoin account address.
To get a bitcoin address you first need a bitcoin wallet, which is a small app on your pc or smartphone. The wallet app generates an address and that is where people can send you bitcoins. Every crypto currency needs a different address, but some wallets can be used to store a number of different crypto currencies, in the same way you can hold different paper currencies in your physical purse or wallet.
Ok, that is enough information for now. There is a lot to more to learn about Bitcoin: we haven’t even talked about the “blockchain” yet, but there is plenty of time for that later, or the huge community that supports the bitcoin network. You can find more information about all those things on this website once you have digested this introductory stuff.
So as a quick summary, here are the main points we have covered in this article:
that Bitcoin is electronic money, otherwise known as a digital asset,
that Bitcoin transactions are processed on a decentralized network,
the processing of bitcoin transactions is referred to as “bitcoin mining”,
the people who own the computers that process transactions are called “bitcoin miners”, and they get paid a small fee for doing it,
Bitcoin and other crypto currencies are stored in small apps called wallets, and some wallets can store a number of different crypto currencies,
your Bitcoin wallet generates an “address” that people can send bitcoins to when they need to pay you, or vice versa.
Hopefully this article has been helpful to you as you learn about Bitcoin. Please feel free to share it with anyone else you know who also wants to learn about this exciting new technology and currency. Bitcoin is the way of the future and you are doing well to educate yourself in these early stages. Go well – go crypto!
I just read one of the most important questions about Bitcoin, a question that I haven’t read many good answers for. Fortunately, I have cracked the cryptos as you already know since my nickname is Crypto Cracker and here is the real answer. You might regard this post as mansplaining if you are a misandrist but that is your problem, not mine. These are the facts.
Much of the value of bitcoin and many crypto coins comes from the properties of the blockchain technology. Visibility of each transaction; “relative” privacy; resistance to fraud; protection against double-spending of coins etc – all these characteristics are very good, and so are deemed to be valuable features of the blockchain and bitcoin network itself. We know that there can only be a maximum of 21 million bitcoins once they have all been mined. One bitcoin, therefore, is basically 1/21,000,000th share of the overall bitcoin network. The dollar value is actually irrelevant except that dollars is how we measure things as the moment. As more people become interested and involved with bitcoin and cryptos, they increase the dollar value because they are wlling to pay more for their share of the bitcoin blockchain/network/infrastructure – call it what you want. If the bitcoin blockchain did not have any good features that made it resistant to fraud or any of those good things I mentioned earlier – if those good features did not exist then nobody would care about owning it, i.e. there would be no demand for it, and the dollar value would be basically nothing. It is the great features built into the blockchain technology that creates the value – and the public demand that creates the price.
The developing crypto currency space took a big leap forward with the dollar value of the largest and most popular crypto currency, Bitcoin, passing the $8000US mark this week. As the first digital currency of its type, Bitcoin is seen as the grand-daddy of the cryptos, and is in a huge growth phase as mainstream adoption scales up.
Bitcoin is traded continuously for other crypto currencies and US dollars on no fewer than 22 crypto currency exchanges, and the price for the coin popped through the $8000 mark on at least three of them on November 17th before falling back slightly as a lot of investors took the chance to cash out from the digital asset and take their profits. Three days later and the price of Bitcoin is back up over $8000 on all but a few of the exchanges, with plenty of buyer support apparently shifting into the crypto space from more traditional markets.
Watch the price of Bitcoin and literally hundreds of other crypto currencies live on World Coin Index.
A (brief and incomplete) history of censorship in /r/Bitcoin
Please do not use the censored /r/bitcoin or Bitcointalk. Use /r/btc instead.
The free and open discussions on this forum help individuals and the Bitcoin community achieve Truth. Everyone has some wisdom or knowledge to contribute to a discussion, and everyone who reads the discussion and gains that knowledge gets closer to the Truth. This is much more effective than having truth dictated by a handful of moderators or voted on by an electorate.
Anyone who has been following Bitcoin closely over the past couple of years should by now be well aware of the issues being debated and the existence of censorship in some of Bitcoin’s most prominent communities. For the unaware, a primer:
The Bitcoin network is currently at max load, and today is capable of processing approximately three transactions per second. This was not part of the original design of the Bitcoin protocol, and the 1MB block size limit was added in 2010 by Satoshi Nakamoto himself as a temporary anti-spam measure.
Because bitcoins were so cheap at the time, and the number of bitcoin users so few, making transactions on the bitcoin network was effectively free. The concern was that a malicious entity could simply flood the network with transactions, filling up blocks and bogging down transaction speeds for legitimate users. Because transactions were so cheap to make, such an attack would have cost the perpetrator very little to pull off, and could have crippled the entire bitcoin network while it was still in its infancy. Former bitcoin lead maintainer Gavin Andresen addressed this attack in a blog post, writing:
The block reward was 50 BTC back then, so miners could sell a block’s worth of coin for about $1.50. That gives a rough idea of how much it would cost an attacker to produce a ‘poisonous block’ to disrupt the network– a dollar or two. Lots of people are willing to spend a dollar or two “for the lulz” — they enjoy causing trouble, and are willing to spend either lots of time or a modest amount of money to cause trouble.
Today the block reward is 25 BTC and the price is over $400; miners get over $10,000 for the blocks they produce. An attacker would have to spend close to that amount to produce a ‘poisonous block.’
But even this one megabyte limit was hardly restrictive; at the time the average block size ranged from 200 bytes to occasional peaks of around one kilobyte. The one megabyte limit was meant to handle new user influx and peak period transactions up to several thousand times what the average daily transaction volume was at the time. In October 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto even laid out his plan for increasing the maximum block size:
It can be phased in, like:
if (blocknumber > 115000)
maxblocksize = largerlimit
It can start being in versions way ahead, so by the time it reaches that block number and goes into effect, the older versions that don’t have it are already obsolete.
Pretty simple, right?
One would think. Since the limit was introduced in 2010, there have been countless discussions on the necessity as well as the methods that would be used to increase this limit, and Bitcoin’s transaction processing capabilities with it. Those attempts have repeatedly been blocked by a small group of developers, and in recent years discussion of increasing the limit has been censored from some of Bitcoin’s largest discussion forums, all of which are moderated by the same individual, who posts using the handle Theymos. What is forbidden includes any discussion of code changes that propose increasing the limitation.
Some don’t believe the censorship is problematic, or refuse to acknowledge that it is censorship at all. Here’s Blockstream CEO Adam Back:
And Blockstream CTO and Bitcoin Core developer, Gregory Maxwell:
“But /r/btc at this moment is smoking hot proof that /r/bitcoin is doing something right and that it’s not just a question of moderator punishment.” (Source, archive)
And Blockstream contractor and Bitcoin Core developer Luke-jr:
“Manipulating public opinion is not censorship” (Source, archive)
“/u/theymos is one of the most anti-censorship people I know” (Source, archive)
And Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd:
“Roger [Ver]’s ideas aren’t getting censored, they’re just not getting listened too. [sic]” (Source, archive)
And /r/bitcoin moderator /u/frankenmint:
“From my perspective we aren’t participating in censorship in any tangible way, for example, me going out of my way to get your content removed from medium.com would be me engaging in censorship…” (Source, archive)
Based on this outpouring of support from certain interested parties, it’s almost as if they’d have you believe there were no censorship happening at all! Pay no attention to the fact that /u/theymos has been shown to have financial dealings with Blockstream. Let’s take a look at censorship on /r/bitcoin through the ages:
Do you believe in an open and permissionless network, or do you think Bitcoin will die because someone published some code and people are allowed to know it?
/r/bitcoin moderator /u/BashCo posts a response and is heavily downvoted when he says:
Given the fact that the block size limit debate hasn’t achieved anything even remotely resembling consensus, yet BitcoinXT contains code which could fragment the blockchain and existing ecosystem, the decision to moderate BitcoinXT topics as off-topic is consistent with actions taken towards alternate blockchains like Litecoin, Dogecoin, Ethereum, etc. I suggest we drop the inflammatory rhetoric and get to work on devising a way to scale Bitcoin which will achieve consensus.
Again for the uninitiated: the moderators of /r/bitcoin attempt to classify discussion of Bitcoin code changes (only the ones that attempt to increase the limit) as off-topic on the basis of being “altcoins.” Altcoins are entirely different currencies, with their own ledgers and tokens, and are not inter-operable with Bitcoin. BitcoinXT, on the other hand, runs on the same Bitcoin network as other Bitcoin software, uses the same tokens, and the same ledger, and is interoperable. A user running the BitcoinXT software is perfectly capable of transacting bitcoins with a user running the Bitcoin Core software.
August 13th, 2015. /u/aminok has his post (archive) deleted, in which he asked the mods: “please don’t try to impose your will on the Bitcoin community.” He posted about it in an uncensored Bitcoin subreddit.
August 15th, 2015. A now [deleted] post (archive) on /r/bitcoin calling for the moderators to step down garnered more than 2,800 upvotes (91% upvoted), making it one of the highest-voted threads of /r/bitcoin history. The community demonstrated consensus (heh) that the current /r/bitcoin mod squad was corrupt, participating in censorship, and needed to go.
Ironically, in the same thread, /r/bitcoin moderator /u/BashCo says that he supports consensus, before admitting that he is “regrettably” censoring posts.
August 16th, 2015. Moderator /u/BashCo admits that the mods are participating in censorship:
More accurately, I support consensus. Attempts to moderate BitcoinXT topics based on the lack of consensus has regrettably escalated to censorship. (archive)
The same day, user /u/SatoshisGhost was banned for mentioning BitcoinXT.
A popular Bitcoin webcomic artist /u/raisethelimit was given a 30 day ban for “trolling” when he tried posting two of his comics there.
The same day, during this massive purge of users, /r/bitcoin head moderator /u/Theymos posted a thread titled, “Call for more moderators” (archive). The thread was heavily downvoted, and sits at 0 points (43% upvoted). His post includes the phrase: “Don’t apply if you disagree with /r/Bitcoin policy.”
August 19th, 2015. /r/bitcoin moderator /u/jratcliff63367 makes a post to Let’s Talk Bitcoin titled “Confessions of an /r/bitcoin moderator.” He observes:
At the minimum we should allow the discussion and let people ‘vote’ their opinion based on which client they choose to run. If the bitcoin network is so fragile that someone running a different client with a different ruleset is an issue, then we have bigger problems.
The reality is that people running different versions of the client is no threat at all. It is an opportunity for the community to vote on the direction they want bitcoin to take.
Bitcoin-xt is not a ‘threat’ to bitcoin. It it is an option, a choice, a candidate to be voted on. One where the community can vote on which features they want to see in bitcoin, versus those which they do not.
August 24th, 2015. /u/chinawat is banned for noticing and pointing out all the recent bans.
With /r/bitcoin’s custom CSS (70,000 lines!), deleted comments are masked, and the new comment tree will display like this:
Worth noting here is that Reddit’s moddiquette guidelines tell moderators not to “Hide reddit ads or purposely mislead users with custom CSS.”
August 29th, 2015. Ten days after his anti-censorship post on Let’s Talk Bitcoin, former /r/bitcoin moderator /u/jratcliff63367 announces that he has been removed from his role. In the thread, /u/theymos chimes in to explain why he removed jratcliff:
He was going beyond just expressing a reasonable opinion. He was being particularly disrespectful and nonconstructive for a long period of time. Disagreement (even loud public disagreement) is fine, but we can’t effectively moderate without some sort of respect and trust between moderators.
The same day, he makes a post to /r/bitcoin (archive) that garners 403 points and the sympathy and outrage of /r/bitcoin users. In the thread, it is revealed that /u/SeansOutpost was not removed as moderator, despite also being quite inactive as a mod. When asked what he thinks of the censorship, /u/SeansOutpost wrote:
I don’t understand/agree with why we can’t talk about this like adults. I am not qualified to make a judgement on whether or not XT is the way to go. But at this point, it seems obvious blocksize has to go up. I’m not sure why we can’t openly discuss all options. Open discussion would seem to be in the spirit of what Satoshi wanted.
You can promote BIP 101 as an idea. You can’t promote (on /r/Bitcoin) the actual usage of BIP 101. When the idea has consensus, then it can be rolled out.(archive)
This once again raises the question: how is something supposed to gain community consensus if it is not allowed to be discussed? Theymos also has a strong tendency to play word games. It is very unclear and never explicitly defined what the difference of “promoting as an idea” and “promoting the usage of” is. The main factor seems to be whether it is discussed favorably (not permitted) or unfavorably (permitted).
November 5th, 2015. In a post that was downvoted to -749 points (archive), /u/theymos threatens to ban prominent Bitcoin company Coinbase and its CEO Brian Armstrong from /r/bitcoin for supporting block size increase proposal BIP101. Theymos also threatened to remove Coinbase from bitcoin.org (which he controls).
In the same thread, /u/StarMaged chimes in and admits how the post being discussed had been deleted by /r/bitcoin mods several times prior to being allowed. StarMaged also says of users commenting on the censorship and the ensuing confusion that
“That is why repeatedly saying things like that to someone is so dangerous.”
Yes, ideas are dangerous.
December 26th, 2015. /u/nathan2055 tested /r/bitcoin moderation policies by posting “a totally innocuous discussion thread” (archive) asking “What is you guy’s [sic] opinion on BitcoinXT and BIP101?” Of course, the post was immediately removed from /r/bitcoin. Moderator /u/StarMaged had to venture into /r/Bitcoin_Uncensored to provide his rationale for deleting the post:
/u/Nathan2055 also posted a screenshot of a private message exchange he had with /r/bitcoin moderator /u/110101002, in which the moderator explains that discussion of Coinbase is now completely forbidden in /r/bitcoin for being off-topic, simply because they run a different backend that is not Bitcoin Core.
from theymos [M] via /r/Bitcoin to Aussiehash [M] sent 11 hours ago I agree with removing it because it is mainly about XT. However, AFAICT Coinbase is currently still using Bitcoin and should therefore be allowed on /r/Bitcoinfor now in general. coblee said so in the bitcoin.org pull request, and I tend to trust him. (Perhaps Cobra was unaware of coblee’s reliability, or maybe he [IMO reasonably] considered Coinbase too dangerous/incompetent/reckless to list on bitcoin.org even though they are currently using Bitcoin.)
from StarMaged [M] via /r/Bitcoin to theymos [M] sent 5 hours ago Honestly, it seems to me that until the moment of the split, they are still a bitcoin company. They are just buying/selling two currencies at once instead of one. I am really uncomfortable with the idea that this policy would encourage companies to silently support XT and then only tell us at the last moment. Yeah, sure, remove those posts as altcoin promotion, but people outside of this subreddit should be allowed to make an informed decision without us scaring companies into censoring themselves. I feel that this is where that term “censorship” might actually be relevant, since our actions here on this issue would affect the speech of a company elsewhere out of fear of retaliation from this subreddit. Something to ponder.
A few hours later, /u/colsatre had his moderator position revoked, leading some to speculate that he was the rogue mod. /u/CensorshipIsTheWorst never posted again.
January 9th, 2016. A Github pull request to revert the removal of Coinbase and others is ignored, despite overwhelming consensus from Github users that the pull request should be merged (only three users “NACKed” the request). The post discussing this matter (archive)had 926 upvotes (89% upvoted).
Of course the “top comment,” with a score of -53, from rabid censorship supporter and JoinMarket developer /u/belcher_ insists that the vote is invalid because the pull request was “brigaded.” You’ll notice a similar refrain from the mods of /r/Bitcoin whenever they delete a post that disagrees with their status quo: The post was upvoted, ergo it was “brigaded,” ergo we had to remove it.
It is interesting to note that a post with a score of negative 53 points would appear at the top of the comments thread. In addition to hiding the scores of new posts for 8-12 hours to obscure voting activity, the moderators of /r/bitcoin will set the default comment sorting behavior in threads they disagree with to “controversial,” so that the most heavily downvoted comments appear at the top of the thread, deceiving users unfamiliar with the practice into thinking that the most unpopular opinions are in fact the most popular.
March 8th, 2016. Long-time bitcoin user and inventor of the mining pool /u/slush0 remarks that the /r/bitcoin moderators censored a video he made explaining how users of his mining pool can vote on which software to run.
The same day, /u/BeYourOwnBank points out that /r/bitcoin moderators have been deleting posts of Satoshi Nakamoto quotes. (Example 1, Example 2)
March 9th, 2016. /u/alwayswatchyoursix posts an accusation that mods of /r/bitcoin are actively searching /r/btc for users to ban. Former /r/bitcoin moderator /u/MineForeman chimes in to confirm that this is exactly what he has been doing, and admits that it is an automated process.
March 27th, 2016. /u/blockologist makes two posts to /r/bitcoin. One is titled “Poll — Classic or Core,” (Classic was another attempt at a block size increase, after BitcoinXT was killed through a prolific DDoS attack) and the other is a blog post from Gavin Andresen titled “Collaboration requires communication.” Both were deleted. A moderator of /r/bitcoin provided this rationale:
May 18th, 2016. /u/Annapurna317 receives a 15-day ban from /r/bitcoin for posting the following comment:
July 24th, 2016. Three-year old reddit account and longtime /r/bitcoin poster /u/chinawat demonstrates that his responses to a 1-day old account on /r/bitcoin are being selectively hidden.
August 29th, 2016. One can use a tool called “ceddit” to see which comments in a thread have been deleted. Here is one example from this day:
October 23rd, 2016. /u/andromedavirus provides proof that one of his comments was censored from /r/bitcoin. What had originally been censored was news of a Bitcoin miner conference held in China, which saw over 300 attendees who were overwhelmingly in favor of a blocksize increase. News of the conference was censored from /r/bitcoin, until a day later a dismissive and inaccurate tweet from prolific troll Samson Mow was permitted to remain:
October 31st, 2016. /u/BeijingBitcoins posted (archive) my own article, There Will Be No Bitcoin Split, to /r/bitcoin. It briefly attained the top post position in the subreddit before one of the mods locked the comments.
After realizing what happened while attempting to respond to a comment, /u/BeijingBitcoins then created a post on the uncensored /r/btc about how the comments had been locked. That post quickly gained attention, and within one hour of the /r/btc post drawing attention to the censorship, the original thread at /r/bitcoin had been removed altogether.
The next day, /r/bitcoin moderator /u/Frankenmint made a post in /r/btc to announce that he was the one who had locked the comments and then deleted the post. He explained that he had to lock the comments to prevent it from “devolving” (into what, exactly?). I had a brief exchange with him, in which I asked:
JB: Do you believe that a community is not capable of regulating itself?
FM: honestly…no not really… it will just fracture down into factions that have their own special interests at heart.
JB: If so, do you believe that a complex system like bitcoin is capable of regulating itself
FM: No — there are still software maintainers who follow and enforce the rules, and partcipants who seek to shape rules as they see fit — at a point to where shaping those rules causes a breaking change in the core protocol, those participants have now fractured themselves into a new subgroup.
His response right here sums up the entire position of the /r/bitcoin moderation team. While Bitcoin was originally invented as a crypto-anarchist plaything, and gained early attention from hardcore libertarians, it has now become overrun with paternalistic autocrats such as /u/theymos, /u/BashCo, and /u/frankenmint. These gentlemen rule with an iron fist, deleting posts that they deem to be “dangerous” to the community, and believing that both the online social community and Bitcoin itself are incapable of self-regulation. Instead they believe that only through the paternalistic wisdom of their own minds will Bitcoin ever amount to anything.
While today the exasperated members of the Bitcoin community accept the heavy-handed censorship as a fact of life, it was not always like this. The examples collected here are but few, and were collected over the course of two hours of research. While today the censorship is accepted as the norm, you can see in some of the examples above that it was once an incredibly contentious issue among the community.
Sadly, many members of the Bitcoin community, including those who have at times described themselves as cypherpunks, libertarians, and crypto-anarchists, have all become complacent with the status quo. Not only do they not attempt to fight against this tyranny, but they casually accept it, defend it, and continue participating in heavily censored forums where the voices of a significant number of their entire community are prevented from ever being heard. What is happening is gas-lighting of the highest order.
John Blocke implores these people to take action: Denounce censorship, and do not participate in censored forums. The Reddit admins have shown time and again that they do not care to disrupt the disruption of a $10 billion open source software movement, so we must take matters into our own hands. Do not let Bitcoin perish at the hands of a petty tyrant like Theymos.