TL;DR: The countdown continues toward revealing the Spiciest Person of the Year for 2019. We’ve narrowed the field to less than a half dozen total, including four runners-up. Numbers 5 & 4 & 3 are posted: two swashbuckling exchange CEOs and one glorious troll. Number 2 is Bitcoin ABC lead developer Amaury Séchet. His 2019 saw him emerge from behind the main reference client implementation for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) to establish himself as a key influencer in the fight for peer-to-peer electronic cash’s soul.
Number 2, Bitcoin ABC Lead Developer Amaury Séchet
Out of all the spicy folks we considered for 2019, a very spicy year, Séchet is our first runner up. He could’ve easily taken Spiciest Person of the Year hands down, and so his inclusion on the list was a no-brainer, … ranking him 2 will no doubt be controversial. Amaury Séchet translated from French means “spicy” in English.
He began a mere three days into the present year by defining its zeitgeist during a Bitcoin Cash Developers Meeting livestream in anticipation of a scheduled May protocol upgrade. Séchet was bundled, his trademark goatee and long hair distinguishing him, and seemingly in a mood to impart a vibe. The crew had a litany of projects it wanted tackled, most of which he agreed needed to get done. The problem was who was willing to do the work. “They don’t happen by magic. If no-one’s doing anything about them, they’re never going to happen,” Séchet reminded back in early January.
It was a rare peek inside how the sausage is made, and a real foreshadowing of what was to come for BCH development in 2019. Amaury Séchet would pound home that point over and over again. Everyone desires cool features and zip-bang doodads, complicated algorithmic wizardry, but who will put in the work, take responsibility, ownership? BCH folks seemed a little too dazzled by tech talk and not concerned enough with actual delivery.
More Steak, Less Sizzle
As if he were writing a year-long developers’ situation comedy story arc, Séchet offered a bit of performance art slightly more than a month later. Want bold claims and bombast? Here, have some. “I am Satoshi Nakamoto. There it is said and I can prove it,” he tweeted, and pasted a signature string for good measure along with a hash message, summoning a familiar phrase, “It’s content will be revealed soon. If you don’t believe me, stiff!”
Most savvy cryptocurrency enthusiasts understood him to be making a point about evidence and proof, telling a lie in the greater service to truth. Dumb, humorless crypto news outlets fell for it, however, ultimately trolling themselves in the process, revealing more about their tech knowledge and journalism chops than Séchet’s claims. “What I’m doing is like a vaccine. Exposing people to a mild form of the disease,” Amaury Séchet told CoinSpice at the time. “There has been and there will be people claiming to be Satoshi. Some will have proof that may seem convincing. It takes wind off their sail.”
It was an important teachable moment. Antony Zegers, a Bitcoin ABC dev and Séchet conspirator, seemed to take it to heart, matching his own personal philosophy with public rhetoric, but for keeps. Zegers announced his resignation from BCH implementation Bitcoin Unlimited (BU) as a way of showing solidarity, of putting in the social work, signaling to the broader community. At the end of last year, a penny stock company suddenly popped up with connections to Canada, suing BCH developers such as Séchet. Zegers felt BU hadn’t stepped-in to defend the honor of open source development, much less that of its BCH colleagues left to the whims of US legal ambulance chasers.
Making Tough, Unpopular Calls
“I’m doing what I should have done a long time ago: resigning my BU membership,” Séchet announced soon after Zegers. “Not only some [BU members] think that suing developers (including myself) providing open source software for free is good, but many are openly hostile to Bitcoin Cash,” he detailed.
He referred to BU’s governance model as “a sad joke, with proposals more and more absurd being voted on,” characterizing its leadership as “complacent” and “backstabbing,” revelations he admits came only “after taking a break and looking back.” He also thanked Zegers “for having the courage to stand up for what is right,” and emphasized the importance of the Bitcoin Cash community protecting itself “from people and groups attempting to take advantage of its cooperative nature and undermine the project.”
While taking a decidedly more public role in shaping BCH community debate, Séchet still managed to preside over two successful scheduled protocol upgrades in 2019, one in May and another last month — both of which, while modest in scope, were considered foundational for peer-to-peer electronic cash’s future concerning privacy and ability to scale. Even Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin praised BCH development and progress.
Culture, Culture, Culture
For a hard core dev, mathy at his roots, Séchet’s 2019 was decidedly more community-focused. He blasted well-regarded BCH influencers, chided otherwise supporters, and appeared to be angry and disaffected, sick of it all, at various points. His chatroom battles became screenshot fodder for trolls and BCH haters, and his tweets were at times confusing signals for those sympathetic to Bitcoin Cash but unsure of what he was going-on about.
He would openly complain about lack of funding for infrastructure, pointing out how Bitcoin Core (BTC) had “won” due to its Blockstream model and shunning what it considered bad actors. While not exactly wanting to mimic BTC, he for sure advocated for something close — too close to some in the BCH community who felt Séchet was becoming the very thing he at one time claimed to hate.
Confusing matters further, Séchet rejected funding for Bitcoin ABC out of hand. The OKCoin fund looked to be answering his charges of businesses who use BCH not contributing to its well-being, to its guts, its code maintenance. Here they were, offering free money. Nope, he cited their support for bad actors and refused the award. Was he a principled eccentric or had he finally cracked and gone mad? And don’t get him started about the BCH logo color.
Maybe the key to his thinking was put forward in Townsville, Australia. The country’s first-ever cryptocurrency conference was in line with Séchetism: BCH was used for tickets, travel, food, accommodations, everything; no ICOs or weird pitches; no shady clout chasers; speakers all focused on building and adoption. Veteran MC Naomi Brockwell called it the best conference she’s attended. He was able to take a bow Down Under, and solidify his place as a key thought leader. As 2019 ends, Séchet would be the first to admit none of the funding or infrastructure or culture problems have been solved, but he can take solace in at least having had his views made public and in becoming the first Runner Up for Spiciest Person of the Year. Hold onto your baguette for his 2020.
CONTINUE THE SPICE and check out our piping hot VIDEOS. Our podcast, The CoinSpice Podcast, has amazing guests. Follow CoinSpice on Twitter. Join our Telegram feed to make sure you never miss a post. Drop some BCH at the merch shop — we’ve got some spicy shirts for men and women. Don’t forget to help spread the word about CoinSpice on social media.
DYOR: CoinSpice is your home for just spicy crypto things. We’re not affiliated with any cryptocurrency project or token. Each published piece is intended for information purposes only, not investment advice and not in the hope of impacting speculative markets. There are plenty of trading sites and coin-specific advocacy journals out there, we’re neither. CoinSpice strives for rigorous accuracy in our reporting. Information presented here is contingent usually on a host of factors, and the ecosystem moves fast — prices change, projects change, and at warp speed. Do your own research.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.