Bitcoin.org, the first bitcoin website ever created, is at the center of a new dispute. Since being established by Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi, long before the world had ever heard of bitcoin, the site has changed hands and roles a number of times, whilst still serving as a primer on bitcoin core. Now, moves are afoot to dethrone Cobra Bitcoin, one of the site’s pseudonymous owners, amidst claims that his support for bitcoin cash makes his position untenable.
The Battle for Bitcoin.org Intensifies
Bitcoin.org is a prime piece of crypto real estate, partly because of its desirable domain, but primarily because of the history associated with it. As the site explains, “Today [Bitcoin.org] is an independent open source project with contributors from around the world. Final publication authority is held by the co-owners, but all regular activity is organized through the public pull request process and managed by the site co-maintainers.”
On the Github where those pull requests are handled, a new issue has been raised and it’s gathering a lot of attention. Certain individuals in the BTC community are unhappy with Cobra Bitcoin’s continued involvement with the site, despite the fact that he, together with fellow pseudonymous bitcoiner Theymos, has overseen the site for years.
Github contributor “beyourseff” opened the issue, writing: “A number of individuals (including myself) feel that @Cobra-Bitcoin has become an unreliable person to own the Bitcoin.org domain name, mainly given his public support for BCH (as well as other things, but this is not supposed to be an attack on Cobra). We fear that Cobra:
2. Sell the domain to someone else, who’d use it for malicious intent. The fact that he’s known only by his pseudonym would make this relatively easy and have no consequences for him whatsoever, there’s only a lucrative upside for him.
“I personally feel that one person, pseudonymous or not, should not have total control of the Bitcoin.org domain name, since it has too much importance within the community.”
Hypocrisy and Heresy
There would appear to be a certain amount of hypocrisy in attacking Cobra for his very reasonable decision to remain anonymous. Bitcoin was founded on principles of pseudonymity, after all, as espoused by Bitcoin.org’s original owner – Satoshi Nakamoto. Cobra Bitcoin has come in for criticism from the bitcoin core brigade for tweeting occasional support for bitcoin cash. He has stopped well short of “shilling” BCH however, and has repeatedly criticizing key players within its ecosystem. There has been no evidence, to date, that Cobra might be inclined to use Bitcoin.org as a vehicle for promoting BCH.
One of the most popular posts on r/btc in the past 24 hours, with almost 250 comments, concerns the efforts of Blockstream CEO Adam Back to convince Cobra to hand over the domain. Back is convinced that Cobra occasionally tweeting support for BCH is evidence that he cannot be trusted to run Bitcoin.org. Cobra, for his part, remains understandably aggrieved and defiant.
Cobra, for his part, responded to the Github thread proposing his replacement with a lengthy but measured response, writing: “Maybe I do like some aspects of Bitcoin Cash, and find it pretty useful in a limited context at times, but that doesn’t mean I’m some raging “Bitcoin Cash is Bitcoin” lunatic. How do you guarantee the next set of owners would be incorruptible? You think I haven’t had people attempt to “buy me out”? If I listened to this type of crap a few years ago, the site would have ended up in the hands of the Bitcoin Foundation, and then likely sold off.” He continued:
I’m sorry if I don’t call Bitcoin Cash “Bcash”, or hate it with a fiery passion (I used too), or I don’t have exactly the same set of opinions as you. But that doesn’t mean you can attempt to pressure me into handing over the domain to some random group (of strangers no less!). This type of witch-hunting is so crazy. Since when did we turn so easily against each other over our opinions? When did everyone get so batshit tribalistic and insane?
Bitcoin Tribalism is Worse Than Ever
It would be fair to say that the most passionate factions in the BTC and BCH camps are more polarized than ever. In a bitcoin world in which holding moderate opinions is seen as a sign of weakness, Cobra Bitcoin is that rare thing: someone who is capable of seeing merit in both flavors of bitcoin, but who doesn’t slavishly adhere to the dogma of either. By his own admission he can be erratic, and is prone to veering off on his own crusades, such as his long-running spat with Bitmain, as is his wont.
The decision to oust Cobra from his position with Bitcoin.org seems born out of little more than a desire to exact revenge for his refusal to toe the BTC party line and condemn BCH at every available opportunity. Some bitcoin core supporters see the malevolent hand of bitcoin cash’s biggest backers everywhere they look.
“I remember a time when I thought I was crazy,” mused Cobra Bitcoin, for his part, “but now I think I’m pretty moderate, and I’m surrounded by an angry mob, constantly ready to attack the next person. Bitcoin.org is an amazing site, and it has consistently advocated for and defended Bitcoin against horrible attacks.
In defending his right to remain at the helm of Bitcoin.org, Cobra may face his greatest challenge yet.
Do you think Cobra Bitcoin is being made subject to a witch hunt? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, and Bitcoin.org.
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.