Matt Corallo (pictured), a long time Bitcoin Core developer now working on Rust Lightning, has blocked Samson Mow, the Chief Strategy Officer at Blockstream. In announcing so, Corallo said:
“Best decision I’ve ever made. I’m honestly pretty embarrassed to have helped cofound Blockstream.”
It’s not quite clear what exactly led to this decision, but Corallo said:
“The kind of ‘let’s be mean just because it’s fun’ culture exposed by a number of Blockstream folks and their management is a lot of what’s wrong with (a small subset) of the Bitcoin culture.”
While referring to Mow, Mark Friedenbach, another Blockstream cofounder, said: “That employee’s actions are representative of a general culture there.”
Even Luke-Jr chimed in, stating “I get a sense that Blockstream may have essentially let the trolls’ propaganda redefine the company.”
Corallo made it clear that “most of the devs there are great human beings (in addition to great developers). Mostly the non-devs there are…. Really toxic.”
So, What Happened?
We haven’t really been following it, but it looks like this begun when Jeremy Rubin, another Bitcoin Core developer, said to Changpen Zhao of Binance:
“If you reveal your private keys for the hacked coins (or a subset of them) you can decentralized-ly at zero cost to you, coordinate a reorg to undo the theft.”
The first response was “that’s among your worst ideas ever,” with this suggestion of a reorg dominating the discussion even more than the hack itself.
That “discussion” – mostly people saying how bad the idea is – continued for a few days, with our radar then occasionally catching someone saying people should stop being mean to Rubin.
The discussion then presumably developed to other matters, with Neha Narula, the only female Bitcoin Core developer as far as we are aware, stating:
“Always question, never settle, and know that there are lots of us who try to debate, criticize, learn, and improve without being jerks.”
“The issues were in meat space where it is much harder to mute people. Meanwhile, attending ethereum hackathons was a positive experience for them so they chose to focus on that software.”
So said Leigh Cuen, a reporter for Coindesk. She mentioned harassment without anything specific, with Kiara Robles stating:
“As someone who currently works at Blockstream, I’m fairly disappointed with the amount of trolling some people choose to do. It puts the community in a situation where they are afraid to say anything counter to blockstream, out of fear of the troll mob.”
When looking at all this we came across some anon twitter accounts calling Rubin a soyboi. Corallo too has been called the same.
Nationalist Rhetoric at Blockstream Marketing?
In the latest episode of the right has gone too far with the aid of some gullible individuals who adopt some of their language unknowingly in most cases, here is Mow:
You can clearly see there the milk gets slightly darker, with this being at a conference organized by Mow.
Undisputedly the above is outright racist, but we don’t think Mow is racist himself. Mow is half Chinese. He’s probably just using it without quite considering what exactly he is saying.
If he even knows at all. Nationalist terms are now apparently cool for some people, even though they breed hate and division and can lead to harassment and worse.
Nor is this a joke any longer. And coming from someone in an influential position, and publicly, may well make some people uncomfortable because of their race or gender or orientation or nationality and all the other 1940s nonsense.
Liberalism may have been taken for granted for so long we might have forgotten what the alternative really means. Yet for some, time has clearly come to say enough.