A group of people claiming once again to “represent the industry” has coalesced, with the same tired and discredited arguments these exact same people have been trying to force on others for years. One of the company owners in this group famously said, “It’s time for grown-ups now”; this archaic agglomeration is another thinly veiled attempt to wrest control over Bitcoin from the people to whom it rightfully belongs, the users, and to manufacture a narrative and inject Crony Capitalist legislation into the statutes to prevent upstart starups from entering the market and eviscerating them.
You will remember SegWit2X and how this same cast of characters actively tried to destroy and centralise Bitcoin. Having been successfully thwarted, these same people are now intending to ramp up their efforts to spoil the market with their parochial, navel-gazing, insular perspectives and attitudes. They plan to do this by unilaterally drafting rules that will make it impossible for individuals or small companies to run full nodes and build businesses and transact with them.
They will utterly fail.
The tragic, and basic error these Crony Capitalists have made is basing their association in the United States of America, where people have rights. There is already legal precedent that will thwart anything they propose to the US Congress. If they had any sense (and ambition) they would have based in Switzerland and tried to manufacture an international consensus narrative. Eventually, Bitcoin is going to touch the entire world, and no one in foreign countries is minded to follow the American lead in anything (especially with the extraordinary Donald John Trump as President of the United States). This is good for Bitcoin, obviously, because the contagion will be well contained should they manage to successfully lie to legislators and cause anti-American, anti-Bitcoin legislation to be enacted.
I will now address their loathsome blog post, announcing this scandalous organisation, but first, I want to draw attention to the unfortunate coincidence of the date of the announcement and their lacklustre, imaginationless corporate identity:
A Unified Voice for the Blockchain Industry
Over the last few years, the open blockchain ecosystem has evolved from a cluster of hobbyists into a global industry with billions of dollars of invested capital. An ever-widening circle of individuals and businesses recognize the value of decentralized, permissionless blockchains and the infinite number of solutions that can be built on top of them. They know that this revolutionary technology can create new standards of trust, efficiency and privacy in the digital world.
From the first lines, the CoinCenter narrative is on display. There is no such thing as “Blockchain”. These people, who are Computer Illiterates, have created fake categories out of nothing; one of them is the idea of “Open Blockchain” and “Closed Blockchain” (that’s, in fact two, but who’s counting? We’re talking about Blockchain, where facts and math don’t matter!). Neither of these actually exist; they are talking points, points of reference that they’ve been using when they try and manipulate the Congress. The same is true of “Permissioned Blockchains” and “Permissionless Blockchains” which is just more nonsense. It is not true that there are an infinite number of solutions that can be built on vapourware, and buzzwords like “trust, efficiency and privacy” are not a substitute for writing software. It’s also galling that these people actively work to kill privacy in Bitcoin with KYC/AML but talk about creating new standards of privacy.
None of the companies involved in this has contributed anything of any significance to Bitcoin; in fact, quite the opposite, and everyone that has contributed is not involved in it. The people who are actually doing things and creating new layers and features can see right through the narratives of these bad actors. Even if they were to recruit people involved in the software, this would not make their arguments correct, but instead would be the Appeal to Authority Fallacy.
This conflict has been going on for many years in Bitcoin and was there at the foundation of the biggest companies. It is literally a conflict between good and evil, and the evil people know exactly what they’re doing and have been doing it from the beginning. They’ve got one thing going for them; they’re consistent and totally predictable:
However, there are barriers to these advancements. On the industry side, innovators face regulatory minefields. On the policy side, lawmakers must navigate trust and safety, security concerns, and consumer protection. Among the general public and members of the media, many people do not understand what blockchain is — and isn’t.
The barriers to advancement are all technical and have only to do with software. In order to overcome these barriers, you must have some idea of what it is you’re working with. Lawyers are not software developers, and cannot provide insight into solving technical problems; they can only bring the skills that they have to the table, which are literally worthless when it comes to solving the problems that Bitcoin has. Lawyers are needed when you have a dispute or are setting up a legal contract. Bitcoin is neither a problem or a legal framework or contract; it is MATH.
There are no “regulatory minefields” in Bitcoin; this is a fantasy of CoinCenter whose only goal is to create a climate and requirements where they can collect a salary and have a reason for existing. What they’re doing is exactly what the author of the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) statute did: create a body of law, leave the legislature and then run a profitable business navigating the maze you created.
We know that systems like Bitcoin have existed previously, with almost one hundred million users. I am of course talking about FarmVille. That game and many others were developed released and ran successfully without CoinCenter’s thinking or the need for a “FarmVille Association” to “reach out” to legislators.
Literally billions of transactions happened on FarmVille without anyone helping the developers of that game achieve their goals, and no, Bitcoin is not different to “Farm Bucks” (the in-game money of FarmVille); it is exactly the same as Farm Bucks. I explain why this is the case here. Bitcoin is a database application with a new schema. That is all it is. It is revolutionary, but the revolution is not the creation of a new class of object, it is the creation of a new method of arranging data.
The people who don’t understand what Bitcoin is will inevitably mischaracterise it and come to the wrong conclusions about it. Many people like the ones who run this new and crazy Blockchain Association have a vested interest in mischaracterising Bitcoin; it’s the only way they can find a role to play in a new field where they lack the skill to participate directly. As I’ve said before, these people should either start a business or do the hard work of learning to write software.
When industry leaders come together, they can make an impact.
Today, we launch the Blockchain Association, a Washington, DC-based non-profit trade association that will serve as the unified voice of the blockchain ecosystem.
They’re not virtue signalling, pandering, begging, trying to pull up the ladder, collaborating in secret forums, writing worthless foundation documents, constitutions or other drivel that does not and cannot make a single Bitcoin transaction or help anyone.
And note how they say “non-profit”, virtue signalling that they’re not in it for the money. Of course they are. They’re in it for the money 100% and want to prevent other people from competing for the same money they want to capture. There is no “Blockchain Ecosystem” and even if there were one, these self-appointed pinheads don’t have the right to anoint themselves and lord it over everyone else. It’s also profoundly unethical to use the law to fence off Bitcoin and prevent others from working with their own hardware and the software they’ve written. What these venal people are trying to do is create a bespoke Patent System, where the State will grant a license to write software to people approved by them, using only previously approved techniques and business models.
It doesn’t appear to the casual observer to be anything like Patents, but the effect is the same; these people use the legislature to create a barrier to entry. You can only write software if you are defacto approved by them, and do things their way, or face legal consequences. This is indistinguishable in effect from being granted a Patent by the State and using it to keep competition from developing.
Our objective is to create a pro-innovation environment for the industry, meeting the growing global demand for accessible, transparent and democratic financial and technical systems. To do that, we’ll foster collaboration between the community and industry leaders, educate policymakers and the public on the benefits of blockchain and related technologies, and advocate for public policy that cultivates and enables innovation and improves lives.
It is a lie to say that their aim is to create a pro-innovation environment. That environment already exists, and the many software projects and companies operating is proof of this. Bitcoin itself didn’t need any of these people to start, and not a single one of them thought there was a problem to solve in the first place; they are all new to this problem (the problem of fiat money), and have no understanding of the motivations behind it, let alone the gears that make the solution run. We know this is true because they were all for SegWit2X.
Now for the real triggering. Bitcoin is not democratic it will never be democratic, and it is a good thing that it is not democratic. For those of you reading this who believe in democracy, try and think. Do you believe that the value of your house, your business or your life should be left to a democratic vote? Of course, your answer is “no”. You should also answer “no” to the question if it is asking about the form and function of your money. The value of your money like any natural constant cannot and should not be left to a vote. Bitcoin cannot be democratic, and as we’re seeing with Etherium, leaving technical details to a vote is a recipe for total disaster.
Bitcoin has no “industry leaders” despite their rabid wish to appoint themselves as such. There is no distinction between peers on the Bitcoin network; everyone has the same rights and must obey the same rules, all of which are written explicitly in the software. The people who don’t want to follow the rules, like the SegWit2X people, CoinCenter and now Blockchain Association are rule breakers, cheats and bullies who can’t accept the discipline of the network, and who in fact have no respect at all for “the community”. That’s why they’ve created this association; they’re elitists who think they’re better than everyone else.
When they say they’ll “advocate for [sic] public policy” that means they will lobby the Congress to pass laws that flavour their operations and pander to their perspective and business models to the exclusion of all others. Doesn’t sound so nice when you tell the truth does it? But that is exactly what they’re proposing to do, and we know this from the BitLicense debacle that turned New York into a wasteland. KYC/AML and market friction don’t “improve lives” and only serve to slow down the spread of Bitcoin. These people are the worst liars; KYC/AML abuses users, makes business more expensive to run, causes services to be less usable and viral. But…that’s what these people want.
The Blockchain Association unites the projects, investors, exchanges and foundations who will work together to advance the future of the entire ecosystem. Our inaugural members include industry-leading projects and exchanges, such as Coinbase, Protocol Labs, and Circle, and investors such as Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital. These organizations are setting the pace of the industry. As a group, they can have the conversations with policymakers that will drive meaningful change.
None of the members of this gang is working to advance Bitcoin. Coinbase is the worst actor of all, and Circle is no better. DCG was one of the main Bitcoin antagonists in the SegWit2X scandal. None of these gangsters is setting the pace for anything, save bad behaviour (cutting off accounts of users, surveillance, chain poisoning, and other anti-market, anti-Bitcoin activities). If you want to see what a company that is setting the pace looks like, look no further than Lightning Labs, Samurai Wallet and other, actual industry leaders who are building the infrastructure that these parasitic entities will all adopt and try to co-opt.
We know the industry doesn’t agree 100 percent of the time, but we do share many core beliefs and principles. The Blockchain Association came together these past few months not in a bubble, but over coffees, dinners, video calls, and perhaps most importantly, during New York’s Blockchain Week. It’s clear that we will only thrive if the blockchain ecosystem achieves its full potential, which requires regulatory clarity, policies that support the whole system rather than a handful of large organizations, and the protection and privacy of consumers.
This is another lie on many fronts. But it is true that the only way these people can thrive is if they use the law to kill competition. They don’t innovate and iterate fast enough to keep up with the thousands of developers who are all trying to disrupt them. And there is one live example that vividly demonstrates this: BTCPay Server.
Take for example the sad case of BitPay and Nicolas Dorier. Dorier is a genius software developer who took it upon himself to disrupt BitPay by duplicating and radically improving their service feature for feature. In a few months after accepting the challenge, he did it.
Now there is a tool that can totally destroy BitPay forever. Obviously BitPay or anyone under this form of withering market competition would rather not endure it, so what would they do about it if they could do something about it…theoretically?
Theoretically, they would set up an “Industry Group” and then lobby Congress to make running an “Unregistered Bitcoin Fulfilment Platform” a crime. CoinCenter would provide the legal cover/pretext and expert fearmongering. Then it would be literally illegal to run BTCPay Server in the USA. If you think that scenario is impossible, you are totally insane.
Innovation moves faster than policy, and we’ve seen many blockchain-based frameworks with great potential that don’t fit neatly within existing statutory and regulatory frameworks. The unique characteristics of the token economy require an evolved environment that supports our members as they build more inclusive, efficient, and distributed financial systems, and more decentralized web applications.
And there you have it. “Innovation moves faster than policy”. It also moves faster than these companies combined can counter. AirBnB is not a hotel. Uber is not a taxi company, Facebook is not a publisher. AppearIn is not a telephone company. None of these companies felt the need to “reach” out to explain what they were doing, they just did it, because they knew they would win. The companies in the Blockchain Alliance know they can’t win without using violence to stop competitors.
The fact that software projects don’t fit into artificial categories that these people imagine are real or relevant is called disruption. And the idea that every single activity people engage in, new or novel, needs regulation is anathema to Americanism. The only people who need regulation are CoinCenter, who stand to make a fortune out of consulting once they set up practice consulting on the laws they helped draft.
The “Token Economy”? PLEASE.
Today, federal regulators and Congress are looking at consumer protection, regulation of token offerings and secondary token trading, anti-money laundering and know your customer laws, money transmitter licensing, taxation, and user privacy. The decisions they make now will affect the industry for years, so the Blockchain Association will be a liaison to policymakers: we’ll advocate for our community and the opportunities presented by our technologies, and encourage regulatory solutions that protect consumers and support innovation. We seek policies that support the creation and use of digital tokens and assets, and capital formation and trading through robust exchanges. Business practices that harm consumers should be rooted out and those that advance their interests should be encouraged, and legacy legal frameworks often don’t succeed at drawing the right distinction.
Bitcoin has consumer protection built in. That is a fact. Companies that don’t know how to use Bitcoin and who don’t want to experiment are the problem, and there are sufficient laws on the statutes to cater for any possible negative circumstance. This is what CoinCenter can’t accept; they’re unwilling to build an ethical legal business from the ground up. They’re going to the top to force their ideas down. Down the throats of every Bitcoin user in the United States of America.
I’ve dealt with regulation of token offerings and secondary token trading, anti-money laundering and know your customer laws many times on Medium, and these are all nothing more than poor pretexts to justify hurting other people to preserve broken business models and save companies the onerous and risky task of writing new software.
They leak their true purpose however, with this disturbing line:
Business practices that harm consumers should be rooted out
This is nothing less than a threat to anyone who will not go along with their dastardly, evil, poisonous scheme to ring-fence software development. Any company that harms consumers can already be sued using existing legislation. When promises are not kept (breach of promise or breach of contract) or people are tricked (fraud) the law is very clear, robust and mostly effective. Any new law that is “blockchain specific” will be superfluous and toxic to software development in general. When they say, “drawing the right distinction” this is code (not the right kind) for, “The laws don’t work to protect us from competition”. Everyone can see this, and everyone knows what these dastardly characters are up to.
Innovators are escaping groups like this and their toxic influence by incorporating in jurisdictions that are more open to free market enterprise, like China. That’s why BitMEX is running in Hong Kong, and they’re making a killing there, by serving people with a product that is true to Bitcoin and technically superior. BitMEX blocks all US customers precisely because spoilers like CoinCenter have introduced uncertainty and chaos with their lies about Bitcoin and how it works. Eventually, someone in Congress is going to look at what Americans are doing outside of America in Communist China and realise, “Hey wait a minute, these guys are making money and serving people why are we falling behind?” Then the weird haired robotic chat bot blabberers will not be able to answer. When this happens, the collapse of the idea that there needs to be a “Foundation” at all will be in full effect.
Work is underway. Join us.
Our immediate goals are to engage directly with elected officials and regulators, create campaigns that engage the blockchain industry in our work, and build coalitions with other organizations to create a broader, coordinated community.
None of this will work to write a single line of code. Software is the only thing that matters, not “industry”, regulators, coalitions or “community”. SegWit2X proved that all of these companies combined were worthless toothless paper tigers that have no say or power to influence how things work. Furthermore, no one will ever trust these people again, or anyone that was associated with them. No one will be stupid enough to fall for mealy-mouthed weasel words about “community”. These people are in it for themselves, to serve their own narrow parochial perspective and they literally don’t care about the truth of anything. All they want is to be the boss, and there is no way this is going to happen.
What we need now is the collaboration and support of those of you in the ecosystem. We’re navigating a complex environment and our solutions will improve as we include the contributions of more organizations. Membership of the Blockchain Association is tiered by company resource, and we have included an Associate tier for nascent endeavors to ensure all interested parties have a voice. Our staff and board will be developing an inclusive membership framework in the coming months.
All of this is bad breath hot air of the same type everyone’s heard for years. “Collaboration” with whom and what? What “complex environment”? They don’t mean software, that’s for sure. “Have a voice”. This is right out of the idea of “Everyone has a say”, which actually means you get to say something, have it recorded and then ignored, because the outcome is pre-determined. It is there to make you feel good about being a “member”, but in fact, you will have all your real power stripped away from you as the form and function of the services you’re permitted to write is constrained by the higher tier members who have direct access to Congress.
Anyone who joins this charade contributes to the appearance of representation (which is meaningless of course) but it also encourages these selfish people to carry on with their destructive agenda. In the end, they will fail, and nothing they do will be able to stop the free development of software globally. Once again, BitMEX is the example of a true to market, true to Bitcoin service serving everyone without the need for a ridiculous, unfit for purpose “association”.
Particular thanks go to Jerry Brito and the team at Coin Center, who provided extensive insight and advice: we are grateful to have them as key partners to the Blockchain Association staff.
As a community, we’re committed to being thoughtful, creative, and unified. Working together, we will see the adoption of policies that will unlock the potential of our ecosystem. We hope you’ll join us!
Let me be absolutely clear. If you join these people, you are anti-Bitcoin.
If you are a company, joining this association is cutting your own throat. The people who run it, who provided “extensive insight and advice” are the reason why there is any confusion about Bitcoin in the USA. Their class is responsible for the BitLicense, which is now universally recognised as the biggest mistake in the history of Bitcoin’s interaction with the State. All indications are that these people have learned nothing from BitLicense and are going to double down with their Computer Illiterate scorched earth policy.
Unbeknownst to them, there have been other people working in secret to counter the lies being spread about Bitcoin by anti-American Crony Capitalists, and in the end, these efforts will totally cancel out Blockchain Alliance’s and the work of all other anti-Bitcoin groups. The ladder they’re trying to pull up is made of wood. It is being set on fire. As they pull it up into their fortress, it will burn them all to ashes.
Before SegWit2X, the announcement of an association like this would have been more worrying than it is now, but it should be clear to everyone that this is yet another worthless exercise in Virtue Signalling that will most probably come to nothing. Even if it does last a few years, anyone can avoid its toxic effects and serve billions of people without ever having anything to do with these unethical and violent people.
Everyone knows which companies are leading the way in Ethical Bitcoin, who is making the most profit, and which jurisdictions are toxic. Acts like this are, at best, a rearguard action. They can’t innovate in the business model or software arena, are unwilling to relocate to free countries so they can experiment, and have nothing to offer anyone except chains.
On top of all of this, the actual community of Bitcoin users is now extremely hostile to these people, and cannot ever be brought round, bought or corrupted. Even the most mild mannered and conciliatory types have been permanently radicalised by SegWit2X.
Those who were not conciliatory are emboldened and reassured that no one will ever be able to steal their money. And all the top tier software developers, and actual contributors (the only tiers that matter) have been deeply radicalised against all the people who caused so much trouble, who lied, spammed the network and revealed their true characters.
It is Game Over for all of you.