Business 25 April 2019

Derek Tonin

Blockstream co-founder Gregory Maxwell caught playing both sides

A big question is quickly emerging from the depths of the internet: What side is Gregory Maxwell on? Is he possibly on both sides? Could it be more than both sides?

Some Reddit sleuths think they’ve caught the former Blockstream CTO in a bit of a pickle. Using tools to check deleted posts, they believe they’ve discovered that Maxwell was using multiple accounts on the platform. In one thread, they found “nullc”, Maxwell’s account, making the same comment as popular user “Contrarian_” in a post bashing Dr. Craig Wright. Both posts were then deleted.

This complicates matters quite a bit. Diving into the posting history of both accounts reveals several threads where they had conversations with each other, and generally steered the debate. If they were both controlled by Maxwell as Reddit users allege, then he intentionally manipulated the community with two high profile accounts, and also used them to take both sides of an argument.

That appears to be what has happened in recent history as well. Maxwell came out in support of Wright in November, shortly after Bitcoin SV (BSV) was created from a contentious hard fork. Now, after Wright has taken legal action against his colleague Adam Back, Maxwell, allegedly and perhaps mistakenly, used both his accounts to bash the man.

Twitter revealed more secrets about Blockstream as this news developed. Bitcoin entrepreneur Olivier Janssens linked to evidence that Adam Back, Blockstream’s co-founder with Maxwell, led an effort in 2016 to block a proposal to scale Bitcoin. It was an effort that appeared to be almost guaranteed to gain miner acceptance, but Back convinced the miners to sign agreements tying them to Maxwell’s wishes.

All of these accusations are only that for the moment, but they are adding up to a pretty coherent story. Back and Maxwell used Blockstream to hijack the development of Bitcoin, and then Maxwell used dirty tricks to steer the conversation in their favor. To maintain a sterling reputation, he continued to use his multiple accounts to both support and bash his enemies, and steer his follower’s whichever way he wished.

That helps explain quite a lot about Adam Back’s claims that Wright is not Satoshi. If the creator of Bitcoin is indeed Wright, and he is now explaining that the real path for Bitcoin should be found in BSV, it hurts Blockstream’s business model quite a bit.

That may not be what happened, but a lot of people are starting to believe it.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.

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