Executive Orders and Reddit Censorship

Kristopher Ives is a software developer for ecommerce with a lot to say. As an avid cryptocurrency supporter and free market advocate Ives has always shown his own Bitcoin flair.

17427345-mmmainBack in April Ives publicly called out President Obama to come and “arrest him” after sending Edward Snowden some Bitcoin. The defiance by Ives goes against the presidential executive order which states it is illegal to send money or property to those engaging in cyber-crime activities. Edward Snowden would be on the list of so called “criminals” even though the majority of Americans consider him a hero.

Also Read: Future Use Cases for Blockchain Technology: The Reddit We All Want It To Be

“I found it odd that we could all agree that presidents don’t pass laws, it wasn’t illegal yesterday, but we couldn’t agree on if it was illegal now. That seemed like a contradiction worth exploring.” — Kristopher Ives, software developer

6b386cdf2f586843fb2aef4b2c707c68In a post located on r/bitcoin members of the Bitcoin community pledged to donate to Snowden through the “Whistleblowers Relief Fund” whereas thousands of donations have been sent to him. Well over 50 thousand dollars in Bitcoin was donated to Snowden in mere days after the President’s order. Ives one of the first donors of the fund watched intently as press started to contact him about what he had done. Story after story was written about Ives with interviews done locally and on the international level. The media frenzy was nonstop for over a week solid.

ModeratorAnother subject Ives has a lot to talk about is the censorship happening over at r/bitcoin. Over the course of last week many posts have been removed by moderators which contain Bitcoin XT subject material. Head moderator ‘Theymos’ has addressed the r/bitcoin community with his reasoning about banning the subject. A great majority has down voted the pinned post giving it an extremely low approval rating. The comments mostly against Theymos’s opinion were all up voted unlike any other post. It seems the community majority didn’t like his ‘flared’ opinions. A day before this announcement from the head moderator, Ives had posted an extremely popular post about Bitcoin XT. The post received close to 2,000 up votes with a very high approval rating. Ives also created a very popular post about the moderators being changed, both posts stayed on the subreddit front page for over 12 hours. Soon after these posts and a few comments, Ives was banned from r/bitcoin permanently. Ives contests his banning was illegitimate and only done to shut his posts up.

Bitcoin.com sat down with Ives for a in depth discussion about his donation to Snowden, and his recent experience with reddit censorship. He tells our readers about the two extremely popular reddit posts he created and feels he was banned because of their popularity. Ives details his entire account and hopes the community stands behind principle over politics.

Bitcoin.com: Where are you from and what do you do for work?

Kristopher Ives: I’m from Oregon and I work as a software developer, usually in eCommerce. I’ve taken some time off recently because of my mom’s illness.

BC: You are an advocate of free market anarchism correct?

KI: Yeah, although at times I’ve dabbled in minarchism, although I’m pretty well convinced that a very small amount of something bad (minarchism) isn’t better than no bad at all. I’ll accept a smaller state any day, though. Just repeat until at 0

BC: After Obama’s Executive order you sent Edward Snowden Bitcoin. Why did you do this?

KI: I was irritated that it could cause a chilling effect without any reason. A president shouldn’t be affecting what is “illegal” or not, that’s supposed to be done by legislature. While chatting with folks I found it odd that we could all agree that presidents don’t pass laws, it wasn’t illegal yesterday, but we couldn’t agree on if it was illegal now. That seemed like a contradiction worth exploring.

Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is interviewed by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong...Former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is seen in this still image taken from video during an interview by The Guardian in his hotel room in Hong Kong June 6, 2013. Snowden was on July 24, 2013 granted documents that will allow him to leave a Moscow airport where he is holed up, an airport source said on Wednesday. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Snowden, who is wanted by the United States for leaking details of U.S. government intelligence programmes, was expected to meet his lawyer at Sheremetyevo airport later on Wednesday after lodging a request for temporary asylum in Russia. The immigration authorities declined immediate comment. Picture taken June 6, 2013. MANDATORY CREDIT. REUTERS/Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras/Courtesy of The Guardian/Handout via Reuters  (CHINA - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA)  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. MANDATORY CREDIT

BC: This act got a lot of press attention at the time. Can you tell me about this? 

KC: It did get a lot of attention, some of which I was prepared for and some I wasn’t. I never received any negative attention from the State or Federal government, and I want to make that clear.

The “media cycle” was a bit intense. It was a week solid of talking to reporters, setting up conference calls, etc. and there was a “wave” of such. It went from niche markets, to larger media outlets, and eventually international news outlets, including an interview with Russia Today (RT) that was never aired (due to live camera setup problems). Each step of the way I saw the story get a bit more of the “telephone effect”. I don’t even know how bad it got because after it went international I stopped being able to understand and translate all of the articles.

Overall I was quite impressed with my local coverage here in Oregon. They gave the story fair coverage and let the users decide if it was interesting. Until I saw the interview air on KOIN6 local TV I was worried everything I said would be edited to support their narrative. Boy, was I wrong. I think the media is more “stupid” than it is “evil”

BC: Why do you think the government dislikes cryptocurrency?

KI: Because they can’t control and own it all. There was a time when the State disliked banks from what I know (Andrew Jackson?) but once they were able to control them they stopped disliking them from what I can tell. The Internet really threw the state for a spin, but they seemed to develop a plan to control various parts of the infrastructure over time, to where we are now with a heavily dominated US Internet infrastructure and domain name system.

Bitcoin is a harder to control, but it’s like the Internet in some ways, and just because it’s decentralized doesn’t mean they can’t control lots of parts of the infrastructure. As an extreme thought experiment, imagine if all the governments just went and physically confiscated the mining equipment of all the top miners.

“I want a block size increase, but not by decree, I want it based on miners agreeing.”

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BC: Are you for or against the block increase and Bitcoin XT?

KI: It seems like a false dichotomy. I think the fork has been a long time in the making. To say that it’s the block size causing the fork in my opinion is very “surface level”. I agree with a LOT of what everyone has to say. When Gavin and Mike make great posts with good reasoning, I agree with most of what they say. Likewise, when Peter points out things are broken, I listen. The problem is that between all of this someone has to write the code and there has to be some implementation. On the one hand I don’t want “Perfect to be the enemy of the good” and we should take something and work with it, but on the other hand I don’t want to get stuck on a path of implementing yesterday’s ideas in sub-par ways until Bitcoin is dead. So I can see why they have split ways.

I want a block size increase, but not by decree, I want it based on miners agreeing.

As for if my client is called Bitcoin Core or Bitcoin XT we’ll have to wait and see who does a better job of producing a stable client with new features but not bugs. In reality it’s probably going to be the developers that take the others patches best. LOL

“The next day after I got back on Reddit I saw my inbox was exploded with new replies and the post was at about 2000 up votes. I clicked my orange box and was prepared to see all 

kinds of comments you might see, and I was going to respond to the legitimate and non-troll ones. However, the first comment in the list was saying that I had been banned from /r/bitcoin for “trolling”. — I’m pretty sure I’ve been banned simply for posting that image.”

You recently posted a reddit post which got censored and you were banned from r/bitcoin. Can you tell our readers about this situation?

KI: That’s the strange part. Usually if I do something I’m quite active and involved in it, like when I called out the Executive Order earlier this year. However, recently I’ve been a absent from the community. I was talking to a friend who is a miner and he asked me “What’s with the fork?” and I realized I was so out-of-touch with the community that I didn’t even know what was happening. When I got home I looked through what had happened for a few hours, saw the faked Satoshi emails, statement from Mike Hearn, and a quick exchange by some of the core developers on /r/bitcoin

It was clear after seeing this the “fork” was that the 5 main core developers were no longer friends and would be separating their clients. Not great, but not a disaster. Then I saw the subreddit content being [deleted] and people complaining about all posts associated XT being deleted. A friend of mine had just shared this image on Facebook and I had re-shared it, even though I haven’t yet watched Game of Thrones (GoT) to that point. It seemed perfectly fitting, and in honesty I knew people love GoT, so win-win. I responded to a few comments before I went to bed. Last I saw before I crashed out it looked like about 100 upvotes. The discussion in the comments was pretty good and overall I was happy with the results.

The next day after I got back on Reddit I saw my inbox was exploded with new replies and the post was at about 2000 upvotes. I clicked my orange box and was prepared to see all the kinds of comments you might see, and I was going to respond to the legitimate and non-troll ones. However, the first comment in the list was saying that I had been banned from /r/bitcoin for “trolling” They didn’t offer much information about why I was banned, or any examples of what I had done. I responded to the moderators but they haven’t got back to me. Not sure what the multiple account stuff there is about, I only have one reddit account. I also went to bed right after that post, so I’m pretty sure I’ve been banned simply for posting that image.

lDteEAS

BC: Why do you think this discussion with XT is being censored?

KI: Because there is a lot at stake. I’m quick to disagree with Mike and I’ve been highly skeptical of his actions in the Bitcoin space, but I do think that he and Gavin really have tried to continue to push Bitcoin at this slow pace with internal resistance from other core devs for too long. I’ve been saying that development can’t continue this way for a while actually. So the fork isn’t much of a surprise to me.

What is a surprise to me is that people have abandoned their principles under stupid technical terms like “That’s not Bitcoin” or “Not the TRUE bitcoin” crap. It’s very sad to see our community falling victim to the very things we claim to be against. It’s the hypocrisy that kills me.

“Theymos shouldn’t run both communities.”

Do you feel consensus will be made in the near future?

KI: Consensus has never stopped =) I think these guys are going to waste their time exchanging patches for a while out of the utter fear that one of them will be abandoned for the other, until they realize how stupid that is and go back to the same repository probably with different branches. Or some third party is going to step in and “solve the difference” effectively leaving both of these crying babies on the doorstep. Also worth noting a few hours before I was banned before I made that post I did say that Theymos shouldn’t run both communities’.

What do you think of Excecutive Orders and Censorship? Let us know in the comments below.


 

Images courtesy of Kristopher Ives, Reddit meme posts from Aug. 16th,  Rueters, Shutterstock, and Redmemes