PODCAST Bitcoin Cash at 3: Amaury Séchet Details BCH’s Creation and Founding

TL;DR: We’re celebrating the third anniversary of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) by sharing audio reflections from the BCH community: influencers, developers, business people, etc. This episode features Amaury Séchet, and is available embedded in the article below, and on iTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicBreakerPocketCastsPodBeanYouTube for Newer EpisodesYouTube Older Episodes, and Overcast.

Bitcoin Cash at 3: Amaury Séchet Details BCH’s Creation and Founding

Amaury Séchet is best known as the lead developer for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) client, Bitcoin ABC. He’s also considered by many the founder of BCH. That’s a controversial statement, and right away this must be acknowledged. Community polemics especially in recent months have made Séchet’s mere mention a point of acrimony and contention. At CoinSpice, we have felt the ire, and hard.

Amaury Séchet
Amaury Séchet was the subject of a recent meme competition.

In truth, Séchet was instrumental in getting BCH over the line, pulling the trigger, and moving it from a mere Big Blocker endless debate and into reality — fleshy and using real ammunition. That kind of brass determination and moving fast while breaking things comes with a price, however. Séchet is often described as obstinate, inflexible, hard to work with, cunning.

Maybe those, paradoxically, are also qualities needed to fork away from a financial hinge of history. That was Bitcoin’s tag for most early adopters. Bitcoin represented something new, something original in the pantheon of human exchange, and so … to … break away from it in protest, to start something new-new yet contiguous … takes guts.

CoinSpice as an ABC Shill

Personally I found Amaury Séchet over the years easy to deal with, funny, generous. That’s hard to type because I disagree with so many of his moves, including the Infrastructure Funding Plan (IFP). Philosophically, I aligned more with those who broke off from ABC and formed the Bitcoin Cash Node (BCHN). I remained silent about my personal feelings on the matter, and plodded along, covering IFP happenings as they happened. And because Séchet and ABC are incumbents, of course they would, at least at first, have the lion’s share of coverage. Makes logical sense, chronological sense.

Amaury Séchet

But then CoinSpice began to be viewed as a Séchet and ABC shill. It got vicious, ugly, and, ironically enough, I was threatened, hectored, and admonished by those who opposed Séchet and ABC. It was also comical. I just could not tip my hand while covering the IFP. It would not be fair to the community, to those who wanted the straight dope about what was happening. Interestingly, I got very little push-back from ABC and Séchet, even though I know both were at times equally frustrated with CoinSpice covering and amplifying the BCHN view (a broad category).

ABC and Séchet instead engaged CoinSpice, responded to my requests for interviews and quotes and podcasts, and, as any reasonable person might expect, received a lot of coverage. They’re first among equals in this regard. At the protocol level, ABC is Bitcoin Cash, more or less. However, let it be understood I contacted non-ABC players regularly … to often no avail or worse. The last few months were just too, too charged with emotion (and, frankly, it hasn’t died down). I hope all of that changes, and for the better.

Freetrader Gives His Version

So, when I reached out for the BCH 3rd anniversary, the bad blood was just too much for most to consider participating with CoinSpice. I had to accept that. I bugged a few people multiple times, including trying to get a panel for this very podcast episode, but they either ignored my invitation altogether or turned me down. Once again, that leaves Séchet to dominate the record. But it’s not by design.

Amaury Séchet

Within this conversation, the lead maintainer for BCHN, Freetrader, came up, and Séchet characterized his involvement. I was able to get Freetrader’s version of events for clarity and completeness, to round out the episode. Freetrader was also kind and generous with his time.

CoinSpice: Did you leave ABC?

Freetrader: Yes. At first I left to work on things I considered my time would be spent
more effectively than arguing with a certain ABC developer. Because that’s not what attracted me to Bitcoin.

It was a soft departure. In an open source project, you donate your time,
you can stop when you feel the point has been reached or it no longer makes sense.

When did you leave? 

I stopped working on ABC at the end of 2017, as the records easily show. I continued working on Bitcoin Cash in other ways, sometimes in private (ABC is not the only game in town). In early 2020 I resigned from /r/BitcoinABC formally as a moderator.

Had enough of the way they pushed the IFP without consultation.

I guess that marks my official “exit” from ABC.

They had made it sufficiently clear by their actions that they do not represent what I wish to see in BCH. I paid the price with removal from bitcoincash.org (run by ABC, don’t think otherwise) on Github, and was removed from the ABC slack a while later.

Why did you leave ABC?

I found the decision-making process and management style to be in-transparent,
autocratic and frequently yielding bad results. Aside from my own experience, others have had the same experience. Being treated with disrespect way beyond generally tolerable was a common theme.

Bitcoin Cash does not belong to any one person, organization, or even some cartel. That is one significant part of its value and potential.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: There’s also a version of Bitcoin Cash founding by Jonathan Toomim, here]

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