Calvin Ayre

Calvin Ayre issues statement on Bitcoin Association’s response to Craig Wright legal action

This statement is Calvin Ayre’s personal opinion, and not one of anyone else.

I know this may be hard for some people to accept, but Craig Wright isn’t God, nor does he wield godlike control over the Bitcoin Association.

Last Friday (February 26), the Switzerland-based Bitcoin Association issued a statement in response to last week’s ‘letter before action’ issued by attorneys acting on behalf of Dr. Craig S. Wright’s Tulip Trading Ltd. The notices were sent to a number of Bitcoin developers, including those representing the BTC, BCH, BCH ABC and BSV protocols.

The letters advised these developers of Craig’s pursuit of legal redress following the theft of encrypted private keys to two addresses holding several billion dollars’ worth of BTC. Craig’s action is intended to establish the legal obligations held by these developers by requiring them to assist Craig’s efforts to regain access to and control of the stolen BTC.

The Who

Some observers have questioned why Craig included the Bitcoin Association in this action, given its role as the global body that oversees the Bitcoin SV (BSV) protocol that Craig designed and supports. There seems to be some confusion over Craig’s relationship with the Bitcoin Association, so allow me to unmuddy these waters.

The Association has no role in Craig’s legal action, but the Association’s statement of February 26 expresses its support for his efforts to compel network developers to assist victims of crime in reclaiming stolen property.

The Association similarly shares Craig’s desire to reintroduce software solutions that he included in Bitcoin’s original code but which were subsequently removed during Craig’s temporary exit from the scene in the years immediately following Bitcoin’s release. The Association views this as an essential step in instilling confidence in the technology underpinning Bitcoin and ensuring wider adoption of its use as a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that operates under the rule of law. The Association plans to follow all relevant areas of law in this and all matters.

The How

There are some prominent Chicken Littles with obvious vested interests who claim Craig’s legal moves will achieve the exact opposite, undermining confidence by requiring network administrators to effectively roll back the blockchain, thereby undoing months of transactions recorded in blocks mined since the February 2020 theft of Craig’s BTC.

But such claims ignore the fact that Craig constructed Bitcoin’s code as a triple-entry accounting system. All that’s technically required is one transaction to return the stolen coins to their rightful owner, while a second transaction would ‘burn’ the ledger’s existing entry. Meanwhile, the blockchain would ensure that evidence of the crime is publicly retained. 

Bitcoin’s various forks (such as BTC and BCH) removed this functionality from their code but it would be fairly easy for miners to reinsert these tools. This would help enshrine Bitcoin as a legally compliant technology and remove the threat of future legal actions that are undoubtedly in the works by other victims of digital larceny.

The Why

The fact that Craig has been forced to take this seemingly drastic legal step only reinforces the idea behind the formation of the Bitcoin Association—the belief that becoming a professional global ecosystem requires a coordinating body to ensure the technology operates within legal parameters.

We chose Zug as the Association’s headquarters in part based on my personal history with Switzerland, where I’ve had a base of operations for years to assist management of my various business interests. But we also took into account Switzerland’s strict regulatory climate, which has earned the country a reputation as a desirable jurisdiction for legally compliant global operations.

Much of the digital currency industry has also chosen Switzerland as a home base due to local regulators’ familiarity with and acceptance of Bitcoin, making it the perfect home for the Association that represents the original Bitcoin protocol.

I was one of the Bitcoin Association’s founders and currently serve as a member of its Executive Committee. The Association also features a number of influential figures from the BSV community, including Chairman Stefan Matthews and President Jimmy Nguyen.

The Association will welcome its second independent director later this year to bolster its commitment to transparency and legal compliance, as well as an additional industry figure to ensure a wide variety of views factor into our decision-making process.

Craig is not part of the Association, a decision that was intended from day one to demonstrate that no single individual controls BSV.

Part of Craig’s vision for restoring Bitcoin’s original design was to lock BSV’s protocol, offering developers and enterprises the confidence with which to proceed with their plans, safe in the knowledge that their work won’t be sabotaged by decisions made without their consultation by self-appointed network demigods. 

If you want a real-world example of why this is necessary, consider all that has been built on the internet following its widespread adoption in the mid-90s. None of that would have been possible without the assurance that the digital foundation on which companies were developing would not suddenly shift under their feet.

Craig’s decision to lock BSV’s protocol was also intended to ensure that no single individual—including himself—could exercise control over the network. Craig has stated that if you can’t change the protocol, then the protocol has no ‘God.’ The technology then becomes solely about the best companies developing the best products, exactly what Bitcoin promised and what BSV has delivered.

So don’t believe the hype emanating from those who claim Craig’s legal action is intended to achieve an unchallengeable dominance over Bitcoin. He himself has ensured that can never happen. All he wants is for the technology he invented to fulfill its destiny as a legally compliant global payment and data storage system.

I mentioned in a previous article that digital currency’s ‘wild west’ phase was rapidly coming to a close, much as the original Wild West period did. Nowadays, we might look back at the rough and ready figures from those frontier days as colourful rogues, but no one wants to go back to a society in which individuals could shoot each other dead after a losing poker hand or rustle another man’s cattle without fear of legal retribution.

Bottom line: all societies are built on laws and if the digital currency sector chooses to believe that it’s an exception to this rule, it will soon find itself relegated to the pages of history alongside Jesse James, Billy the Kid and the Hole in the Wall gang, none of whom, if you’ll recall, died of old age.

The Bitcoin Association has chosen to wear a white hat in this drama, which is just one of the reasons— alongside unparalleled scaling capacity and ultra-low transaction fees—why BSV’s long-term future appears far brighter than its legally conflicted rivals.

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