As governments are increasingly having to contend with cryptocurrencies, legislative hearings on the topic are surging. In Canada, the Standing Committee on Finance just brought in cryptoverse denizens to discuss the space and regulations. During said hearing, bitcoin entrepreneur Jonathan Hamel made waves by calling bitcoin cash (BCH) “Bcash” and one of the space’s “scams.”
UPDATE 12:01 PM 3/20/2018: It appears Jonathan Hamel may have been soliciting donations for his controversial remarks to parliament. More details provided below.
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Stoking the Flames
Cryptocurency thought leader Andreas Antonopoulos appeared before the Canadian Senate back in 2014, and he was widely applauded for his competent and even-keeled approach.
Jonathan Hamel, however, decided to get a bit more campy in his new parliamentary remarks. Everything seemed rather straightforward on the morning of March 19th, as Hamel tweeted out that he’d soon be formally explaining why “excessive regulation could slow down innovation in the Blockchain [sic] space.”
I will appear today before the @OurCommons Standing Committee on Finance to explain how Canada became a leader in the Bitcoin industry and why excessive regulation could slow down innovation in the Blockchain space https://t.co/QZkoWVi63x
— Jonathan Hamel (@jhamel) March 19, 2018
And Hamel did make that argument in his appearance before the Standing Committee on Finance. Yet he also made his case on the ongoing bitcoin vs. bitcoin cash wars in an apparently partisan manner.
Hamel: ‘Downright Scams Like Bcash’
Having an opinion is one thing. Making a decisive claim to a parliamentary panel in the absence of overwhelming evidence is another.
Of course, there are a spectrum of opinions in the BTC vs. BCH wars, with thought leaders in the cryptoverse falling all along that spectrum. There have been fair and unfair salvos from both sides in recent weeks.
Hamel’s most controversial remarks at the hearing should be slotted into the latter. “Other cryptocurrencies are downright scams, like Bcash,” the entrepreneur said at one point.
If Hamel had framed that comment slightly differently, instead saying something like “Personally, I am a big technical detractor of BCH, but others in the ecosystem disagree,” then there would be little, if any, controversy.
Instead, Hamel said matter-of-factly that “Bcash” is a scam, suggesting that it is undebatable bitcoin cash is on the same level as nefarious plays like Bitconnect and Davor Coin — an assertion that is simply not true.
Whether they agree or disagree, many enthusiasts in the cryptoverse can analyze Hamel’s contention and understand the context of his remarks. Parliamentarians that are appealing to Hamel’s expertise likely cannot, though, at least not as easily. For that reason, Hamel’s apparent tribalism was highly inappropriate and not representative of the technical contours of the ongoing scaling debates.
Context: The ‘Bcash’ Controversy
The “Bcash” nickname is bandied about in the ongoing scaling wars. Some bitcoin supporters love it, BCH supporters hate it. Why?
Some ardent bitcoin supporters believe the BCH fork “stole” the bitcoin name, regardless of the permissionless nature of the open-source crypto space. As such, some BTC fans use “Bcash” as a way to minimize BCH’s connection to bitcoin.
In turn, many bitcoin cash fans have now started calling BTC “Bitcoin Core,” a suggestion that bitcoin is being centrally planned by its main developers.
Thus with Hamel’s latest salvo, the churning tribalism continues for now.
UPDATE: Donations Solicited?
On March 19th, a Redditor named u/jhamel2 posted a thread in r/Bitcoin called “Today, I will defend Bitcoin in front of the Finance committee at the Canadian parliament (live).”
In the thread of the post, u/jhamel2 wrote:
“Spoiler : I’m gonna say ‘Bcash is a scam’ and it’s gonna be archived forever in the Parliamentary records (not a blockchain but still…) Donations are welcome : 1BiRhgxwHkBPB64MzAoefThtCDenqK416w Proof-of-Socks.”
In the very least, it appears the crypto-minded Redditor lives in Canada and shares a first name starting with “J” and the last name of “Hamel.”
What’s your take? Do you favor BTC or BCH or a different crypto altogether? Sound off in the comments below.
Images via Reddit, Fashion Is Your Business