Editorial

Derek Tonin

Bitcoin Core erupts into a Twitter culture war

Culture wars affect many aspects of the internet, and the development of Bitcoin Core (BTC) is no exception. A recent explosion of conversation on Twitter has the BTC community debating if the culture of its development is open to questioning, or if this is more Social Justice Warrior (SJW) propaganda run amok.

The conversation about BTC culture started with Neil Woodfine, marketing director at Blockstream, writing a long tweet thread. In his view, the culture of the storage of value is built on a healthy dose of skepticism as a reaction to constant scams. As a result, in his most controversial tweet of the thread, he says:

Leigh Cuen, a reporter with CoinDesk, pointed out exactly how this is a problem. She points to harassment she has suffered as a result of being in the BTC sphere, and questions that the BTC culture is above reproach.

What did Cuen get as a response? A CEO of a crypto company accusing her of virtue signaling, and demanding she name names, or lose her standing in the industry.

Also taking exception with Woodfine was Chaincode Labs engineer John Newbery. He pointed to the lack of diversity in the BTC development team, and asked why the team couldn’t even begin to discuss building a more inclusive culture. For that, he was accused of pushing SJW propaganda.

There are some elements of truth to both sides to his debate, making it one that many wish would just go away so that they can all focus on the development of the project. The crypto world has been shaped the by adversity it has had to face, and it’s right to be skeptical of its critics, as many criticisms end up being propelled by ulterior motives. On the other hand, the culture that Woodfine celebrates in BTC development, combined with the male dominated world of software development, can lead to a toxic industry that pushes away talent that otherwise might be motivated to help it succeed.

What every project hopes for is a cohesive effort towards one goal, with everyone working in harmony. Although there are many shades when it comes to BTC developers, and they can’t all be lumped into the same group, it’s development can only be described as doomed when the core of its development team won’t even hear the first word of criticism when it comes to its culture.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

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