Reddit Bitcoin Mods and Gregory Maxwell Accused of False Flag Bot Attack and Hacking

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The moderators of bitcoin’s subreddit have been accused of engaging in vote manipulation through bots on their own sub in an alleged false flag blaming of r/btc.

The pseudonymous moderator of bitcoin’s subreddit accused Bitcoin Cash supporters of engaging in vote manipulation stating a few days ago that accounts were hacked to:

“Downvote everything on /r/Bitcoin and upvote everything on [r/btc]. So I guess [Bitcoin Cash] pumpers can write some code after all.”

A person called censorship_notifier says there is evidence the hacking and vote manipulation was undertaking by the bitcoin moderators or with their knowledge as well as Blockstream’s CTO Gregory Maxwell.

The person says he runs a Censorship Notifier Bot which collects and stores “large amounts of data, and… needs to know exactly what was on the site at a specific time, and when things disappear from the site.”

They noticed two comments used the word censorship, which “normally trigger our censorship notifier detection,” that is would normally be removed by the moderators, but were not in this case. So they investigated them.

First, they confirmed that the censorship trigger still applies, with comments removed, including ten other unrelated comments that had used the trigger word. The below comment therefore was manually approved, they say.

This comment is believed to be by the hacker because it is the only comment on bitcoin the account has made, Censorship Notifier (CN) says. He further adds that the comment:

“Was submitted, approved, upvoted, and screenshotted all in less than 180 seconds, as shown by [the moderator approved ticker/time of 2 minutes].

That is an extremely short time for an automoderated comment to be approved based on what we have observed and in checking other subreddits open modlogs on approvals.”

However, once the hacked owners gained control of the accounts, they deleted the comments, CN says:

“It seems that they wanted a comment that wouldn’t vanish, so not a hacked account, and also that they preferred a comment that could ultimately be used to make /r/btc look guilty.

4n4n4’s comment provided exactly this, and it was posted to the thread ~5 minutes after [the above comment] was deleted – was never blocked by automoderator, it was picked up in the next CN scan ~1 minute later… Seemingly because 4n4n4 is an approved submitter.”

This was not a hacked account, CN says before asking who is 4N? The suggestions is fairly surprising with CN stating:

“We have a surprisingly large amount of evidence indicating that 4n4n4 is [Gregory Maxwell], the CTO of Blockstream.”

The evidence appears to be fairly circumstantial. “The biggest indicator we found is that [Gregory Maxwell] has the very frequent pattern– of writing–his sentences with two dashes separating words,” he says.

With further indications alleged to be his knowledge about bitcoin, seemingly knowing quite a bit about Maxwell’s life, using phrases like bitcoin’s creator, knowing who works on what at Blockstream, and so on.

Maxwell has denied the allegations, stating “the only account I use on Reddit is [nullc]. I don’t currently know who /u/4n4n4 is.” 4N has also denied he is Maxwell.

CN however says “After the massive amount of research we put into this, we believe that at least one moderator of /r/Bitcoin must have been either aware of the bot’s plans (and allowed it to place blame on others), or have executed the attack themselves…

We believe that it is likely that /u/4n4n4 aka /u/nullc was also aware of or involved in this attack based upon the suspicious timing and similarities.”

If that is indeed the case, it suggests Blockstream and bitcoin subreddit moderators are closely collaborating with each other.

However, these are allegations, and while the evidence regarding at least one moderator’s complicity appears to be fairly strong, the evidence regarding Maxwell appears to be somewhat light considering the seriousness of the allegation.

But Reddit admins, who are apparently investigating the matter, would probably have much more information, including potentially IP addresses which may shed some more light.

We may therefore hear more on what appears to be quite a bombshell.

 

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