In a February 15th tweet, influential Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin blasted the moderation practices of the bitcoin ecosystem’s top moderator, Theymos. The critique is sure to set off a new round of “permission vs. permisionless” debates in the cryptocurrency space.
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Buterin: “Absolutely Deplorable”
Every cryptocurrency community has its own brand of baggage. A nagging criticism in the bitcoin community as of late has been charges of heavy-handed censorship in the popular r/Bitcoin subreddit.
The charged culprit? u/theymos, or Theymos, the lead moderator of the sub. Buterin’s comments came in response to a brief a Twitter exchange between Erik Voorhees, early bitcoiner and ShapeShift CEO, and Emin Gün Sirer, a professor at Cornell.
Voorhees initially tweeted that the “vitriol in the Bitcoin community is causing at least as much damage to the project as regulators.” Sirer concurred, noting that “regulators have used a very soft touch, both in the US and the EU. The vitriol has really damaged the community. It seems to stem from just a small number of thought leaders though.”
As the conversation grew to include others, Buterin chimed in. He conceded to another user that Theymos is within his rights, as he started r/Bitcoin, but that his moderation style is abhorrent when contrasted against the Bitcoin project being billed as an “open community plaform.”
This is often quite nuanced. For example, I consider Theymos's moderation policies on /r/bitcoin absolutely deplorable, but if the subreddit had been called /r/lounge_of_theymos the whole time instead, then it would be 100% totally ok.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) February 15, 2018
Shots fired, eh.
Cøbra Bites Back
It was only a matter of time until Buterin caught heat for his call out and the first person to deliver a salvo seemed to be Cøbra, heavyweight bitcoiner and self-described co-owner of both bitcointalk.org and bitcoin.org.
Cøbra suggested Buterin had been involved with censorship of his own during the DAO hard fork:
I consider financial censorship and stealing funds from the DAO “hacker” in an “immutable” system to be against everything libertarianism stands for.
— Cøbra (@CobraBitcoin) February 15, 2018
The aforementioned Sirer jumped back in the fray on Buterin’s behalf, describing Cobra’s jab as old news.
— Emin Gün Sirer🔺 (@el33th4xor) February 15, 2018
We’ll see if tensions continue to bubble over the coming days.
What’s your take? Do you agree or disagree with Buterin? Sound off in the comments below.
Images via Reddit, YouTube