TL;DR: Mere hours after co-founder Jihan Wu of cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain tweeted a video claiming Bitcoin Core (BTC) had been “hijacked” during the scaling debates of a few years back, a sudden change came over a popular conference’s organizers or Wu or both. Scheduled to speak at the overt BTC maximalist gathering known for not tolerating dissent, Wu was either summarily disinvited or pulled himself from the program.
Jihan Wu No Longer Speaking at BTC Conference
“PSA: Bitcoin Has Been Hijacked,” came a tweet from Bitmain co-founder Jihan Wu on 7 June 2019. It pointed to a video by Chronos Crypto, who in a snappy 3 minutes or so detailed how he believes the BTC project has been changed by developers over the years. Claiming to have seen the difference himself, the spot comes across as an earnest attempt to clue newer enthusiasts-in on how narratives have shifted on purpose.
That notion runs directly counter to a conference put on by BTC maximalists in San Francisco. Wu has long been a staunch supporter of increasing block size, for example, to alleviate inevitable mempool congestion, causing higher transaction fees and slower confirmation times. BTC developers insisted both relatively high transaction costs and longer waits were features not bugs, in line with a store of value commodity and keeping the network secure. The scenario played out in real time late 2017, as BTC had finally caught the public’s imagination. Fees dutifully skyrocketed, wait times went on for days, and BTC users eventually soured on cryptocurrency altogether. As a result, some experts believe markets have yet to recover and adoption was greatly hampered.
And so it was Wu seemed philosophically out-of-place poised to speak in a little over two weeks at the 2019 BTC conference. Could it be BTC maximalists turned a corner, embracing freedom to disagree? A prominent skeptic of both their motives and tactics allowed a platform, a lone dissenting voice? Was BTC about to shock the world and open up to new and potentially better ideas?
Whatever the case, Wu reiterated his well-known position through that tweet at 8:40am PST, and by 3:27pm PST, not seven hours later, BTC conference organizer David Bailey appeared to respond in an effort to at least save face and perhaps keep remaining speakers on message. “Disappointed to share @JihanWu will not be speaking @bitcoin2019conf,” Bailey lamented. “I’ve known Jihan for many years, since Bitmain was underdog battling corrupted BFL&KNC, and have great respect for his contributions and the company he built (by age 30!).” To underscore the point, the conference’s official Twitter account posted a revised speakers’ list without Wu’s inclusion. As of publication, Jihan Wu has not commented.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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