Wikipedia is often used as the primary source for Bitcoin information, where contents can be edited by volunteers. However, last month, it seems that someone attempted to remove terms such as “Bitcoin” and “permissionless” from the Blockchain entry on Wikipedia to the criticism of the Bitcoin community.
Blockchain Revisionists on Wikipedia
All of the information stored on the Wikipedia platform is contributed by volunteers, who have the rights to add and revise articles. With all of the focus on the term “blockchain” as of late, it is important to make people understand what this concept means. One of the first places where one would look for an explanation on what the blockchain is would be Wikipedia.
Although the information found on Wikipedia is usually accurate, one contributor attempted to change the very definition of “blockchain” on the platform. The revision history shows that, in March of 2016, someone tried to remove various terminology from the Wikipedia page on the blockchain. Two particular terms stood out, as this user wanted to remove “Bitcoin” and “permissionless” from the page.
Most digital currency enthusiasts are aware of how the blockchain is permissionless, i.e. publicly accessible, at its core and used to power the Bitcoin network. It seems to make little to no sense to remove this type of information from the Wikipedia entry. However, various groups are looking to build their own version of blockchain technology, which could require permission to access, let alone have anything to do with Bitcoin.
This incident has caught the attention of Jon Matonis, one of the most prominent members of the Bitcoin and blockchain community. He even took to Twitter to share his concern – and slight frustration – with the rest of the world:
There is a Wikipedia edit war now going on to remove terms "permissionless" and "bitcoin" from the blockchain entry https://t.co/kVfd5AZkKw
— Jon Matonis (@jonmatonis) April 11, 2016
It turns out the user who attempted to make this changes – going by the name of Satoshilong – was blocked from making Wikipedia edits on March 10, 2016. It is not the first time incidents like these take place, as rumor has it the same individual tried to add an advertisement to one of his own products in the blockchain page on Wikipedia last year.
The Validity of Volunteer-Driven Information
Even though Wikipedia is filled with interesting information and articles on a broad range of topics, it is all but impossible to fully validate its contents. Keeping in mind how all of the information on this platform is volunteer-driven, it is not unlikely people misinterpret things or try to push their hidden agenda when contributing content.
Various Bitcoin community members feel this is a conspiracy to discredit the term blockchain in its relation to digital currency. While it is true a blockchain can be either permissionless or permissioned, there is no need to alter information on a public domain in favor of one over the other. All in all, this is a very worrying scenario, and although the culprit has had access revoked, nothing is keeping other individuals from attempting these shenanigans in the future.
Who do you think would want to make such changes to this Wikipedia entry? Let us know in the comments below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia