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Nothing good comes from actions taken through fear, pressure, greed or impatience. Nothing.
We’d do well to remember Andreas’ wise and portentous words a few years back:
“No government can fuck bitcoin up. Only we can fuck it up… from the inside.”
It has saddened many to see the split in team bitcoin.
I had hoped by now hands would have been shaken and unity restored, but it seems we continue to run in circles, echoing the wider circus show that is Red vs. Blue, Remain vs. Leave and all the petty one-upmanship, twisted half-truths and mudslinging that comes with waging information wars on an unwilling, subdued and confused populace.
As with our tattered partisan democracies reflecting never-ending post-factual news cycles via embittered old vitriolic patriarchs, so too it seems, our little motley crew of misfits and rebels have resorted to the very same tactics we lambast those FUDsters for. FUDsters we, as a community, are supposed to rally against.
There was a time when some bitcoiners – Roger included – feared for their lives and liberty, such was the commitment to this idea of a better world. Look how far we have come together since those dark, scary, lonesome days where we all needed to hide in the shadows… only a small crazy few in the world to cling to for morale and understanding.
How did such a small group of believers get to this bold new frontier we are on the precipice of with such ease? By working together, united as one and by simply telling the truth to the world at large.
Never did I think the day would come where petty differences would be so vast between us, they couldn't be settled like Gentlemen. And what is happening today is definitely not Gentleman.
Are we not tired of seeing ads paid for by /r/btc and bitcoin.com to buy points of views in the exact same way political parties try to buy our minds and worldviews through TV and social media? Are we saddened that Roger's crew feel so ostracised that those are the only way they feel they can reach the 'masses'?
Must we endure the same tactics of the vote-buying organised criminal class? Is this not the kind of us vs. them mentality this technology was supposed to help free us all from?
Equally, are we not tired of the attacks on Roger Ver who no doubt feels like an injured animal backed into a corner.
Whilst I abhor Roger’s strong-arm but very clever, almost honey badgeresque 😉 tactics, it unnerves me that bigger, faster stronger business is his raison d’être. It unnerves me too that a single 'partisan' blogpost from someone who runs a mining pool in China can make a mockery of all the hard work, sweat and camaraderie we have all put into this project because there is no single unifying message of truth out there.
It's all happening too fast, and it is this exact million miles per hour coke-fuelled mentality that got that 'other' economy into the mess it's in, requiring the release valve of bitcoin.
The irony of all this of course is, had the split not created all this negativity and driven a wedge of fight or flight through the community, we may have all arrived at a compromise months ago that lead to bigger blocks – through consensus. Or, the alternative solutions may well have been advanced by everyone on the same page.
Either way, consensus is a must, unless you want us to repeat the same mistakes of that old world we've been rallying against. And yes, it takes time to get widespread agreement. Even more so when there's FUD flying in every corner.
In the very least, had we not been infighting we could have properly devoted time and energy to developing a robust consensus platform that even the layman can get involved with. After all, do we not one day hope to build these kind of systems for decentralised crowd-driven governance? Why not start with our own governance platform? Instead of splintering us into factions, could Roger not have vested his time and ample resources in helping develop a framework for such a platform? Would this not address the actual key issue here: too much noise and lack of real communication.
What really leaves a bad taste in my mouth is to see all the ad-hominem personal attacks levelled at Roger.
Roger Ver is a man that has been monumental in spreading the word of bitcoin, cares deeply about the innocent victims of the ‘shock and awe’ doctrine and has solid empathy towards the struggles faced by fellow humans. And he's made us smile a good few times along the way too…
Who can forget the ‘Bitcoin: Honey Badger of Money’ billboard that he had erected back in 2011 and (afaik) still stands to this day? How many people have driven past that and found bitcoin because of Roger? How many ripples in the ocean of awareness did Roger first cast?
Roger’s ‘how bitcoin stops war’ speech (and subsequent Tomasz animation) bought a lump to my throat, as did the very real heartfelt tears Roger shed for Iraq war victims; his softly spoken manner tells us that his heart is in the right place and that he loves bitcoin and its potential to free humanity from the yoke of middlemen as much as we all do.
But bitcoin is not going to end war in isolation – it can’t even end the war we created within our own ranks!
Both camps should be ashamed that we’ve allowed things to get this far. Jesus, we’ve surmounted so many obstacles together, and from real, actual ‘bad guys’ who do not give one nano fuck about this world or the people in it. Remember the money 2020 bankster comments all those years back? “Look at these fuckin’ nerds talking about bitcoin. They’ve never seen true evil till we fuck them in the ass”. THAT’S what we were up against. The following year, bitcoin brochures were on every seat at that very same conference. THAT’S what we surmounted… TOGETHER.
The attacks on Roger need to stop, as do his attacks on this subreddit, and its mods. Yes censorship sucks, but so does DDOSing a community that doesn’t understand the intricacies of the argument; an argument that should be settled either via building the aforementioned consensus platform or, for now, via Google hangouts, IRC and a separate subreddit where it can all be weighed up without the intervention and bias of people who are going to railroad the discussion through ignorance and/or belligerence, or simply people who aren't interested in technical discussions. r/bitcoin isn't the place for it, just as we decided it wasn't the place for market and price discussions.
Roger needs to feel he can come back to this subreddit. He was and should again be an important part of the team here as soon as these bumps in the road have been ironed out. And they will be ironed out, because we're all really fucking good at solving big problems, which is what bought us together in the first place. And this is a tiny problem compared to the others we've solved. A problem we ALL want to solve.
“But… but roger said this…” I hear r/bitcoin clamouring in the comments. We should not give a single fuck what Roger did or didn’t say since the Roger we are seeing is not the Roger that erected that billboard or shed those tears or made that speech, and that’s because he has faced so much vitriol from a community that has forgotten (or newbs that don’t know) all the crazy risks he has taken in the past to spread bitcoin awareness and back believers. And yes, his own actions have at times been questionable, but they come as a direct result of feeling voiceless and powerless. He’s not saint bitcoin jesus (none of us are) but he is, on the whole, good for bitcoin and passionately wants to help humanity move forward.
So let's help Roger and everyone else get back to expending our energy and considerable skills in the most positive ways for the entire group.
Which brings me to core itself, and the importance of consensus. On any programming job of this scale and sensitivity: consensus is fucking paramount. End of. If we're having problems reaching consensus it's because of a lack of communication, not a problem with the processes required to move forward. Without those processes this project would have crashed and burned years ago, probably around the time GOX went up in flames.
On this subject, I attended a core roundtable meet a few years ago in London. Present were Gavin, Peter and Mike Hearn (back before he jumped ship). Mike came across as massively frustrated, and rather than trying to build bridges, instead took the authoritarian "do it my way or I’ll burn them down" approach whilst wonderfully gentle Gavin meekly stood underneath, unsure which lane to stand under.
Peter was the only one who truly impressed me and left me feeling (as a fellow programmer) that core was in safe hands whilst he guided the oncoming traffic. He fulfilled the role of a strong leader but more importantly maintained an air of the calm, resolute thinker and rational listener. As frustrating as this might be for those like Roger who are deeply passionate about business working alongside this technology: calm, dispassionate logic is what’s needed to drive the code; if we don’t want that code falling off a manmade cliff. Yes it sucks if you're used to running a fast-paced business and you feel the out of date shop fittings are bad for customers, but having working lights and an actual USP is far more superior to pushing on with new renovations only to have the roof cave in on you and your customers.
The recent implosion of R3CEV has vindicated my thoughts on all this. In an ideal world, Mike, another person who has been fundamental in helping shape bitcoin for the better, would come back to the fold and accept that bitcoin is not and cannot be run like a business and, as such, nothing can happen through force of his will alone, no matter how loud he shouts or how many spanners he throws into the works. Indeed, had he not wasted time on lighthouse or writing guff demonising bitcoin, and instead used his skills on streamlining consensus with actual TECH instead of arrogance, maybe he would have solved the very boring human relational problems facing us. Quite why Mike figured the solution was a sassy essay and an entire new blockchain backed by the same system (and people) bitcoin is supposed to circumvent is beyond me. It makes absolutely no sense unless he never really believed from the beginning.
Then again, maybe the whole ‘bitcoin is dead' thing was an elaborate hoax, and Mike’s job was simply to infiltrate and keep the banks busy whilst firing a rocket up cores arse (which I think it probably did)… If so, bravo Mike; we look forward to seeing you appear as a nominee alongside Craig Wright at the 2020 bitcoin tinfoil oscar ceremonies 😉
So here we are. (TL/DR)
Bitcoin is still here and will still be here tomorrow, as sure as the sun will set and the moon will rise.
But wouldn’t it be a lot nicer if the whole family were dancing in the moonlight?
We MUST remember as the unlikely bunch of human beings from all walks of life that found and believed in this grand idea born in digital cyberspace all those years ago, that we all have FAR more similarities than we do differences. And the real strength we have is not that we believe in bitcoin but that we believe in EACH OTHER.
We MUST strive to put our differences to one side and start working together again otherwise we are no better than those shock and awe men in corridors of power we – or people who think very much like us – will surely one day peacefully take the baton of power from to lead them and the rest of humanity out of the darkness.
To do that we must lead by example. Together.
To do so means both camps dropping egos; and appealing to logical, rational process over impulsive fear-driven emotions. It means to tread slowly and carefully and to forgive each other for caring so much we hurt each other and the whole community in the process.
But most of all it means observing the obvious truth we have witnessed from the beginning:
The “crazy one’s” that comprise team bitcoin are stronger, braver and crazier together 🙂
We’ve come far together.
We will go even further when we stay together.