They spend a lot of time on social media, from brigading to sock accounts. They even have a satellite system. In terms of actual production, Bitcoin Core (BTC) focused company Blockstream is not known for being prolific. They have finally released a product, Liquid. Boiled down to its essential parts, it basically allows users a side chain and full node without the bother of mining in an effort to do what is already being done, for example, on Bitcoin Cash (BCH). It’s a very complicated way to make payments, especially if potential users aren’t particularly technically inclined.
Blockstream Finally Releases a Product, Liquid
Last week, Blockstream’s Chief Architect, Lawrence Nahum, posted to the company’s blog, “Announcing the Liquid Full Node and Wallet Release.” It’s among the first of actual products rolled out by the company. Known more for social media thread wars, many in the ecosystem wondered aloud just what it was Blockstream actually does.
“We are excited to announce the availability of Liquid full node binaries and source code!” Nahum wrote excitedly. “Now any user can join the P2P Liquid Network by operating a full node, in order to trustlessly self-validate the chain just like they can with the Bitcoin network. Included in this release are the Liquid full node liquidd and liquid-cli command-line utilities, complete with wallet support which enables users to self-manage L-BTC and other Liquid Assets.”
The word “trustlessly” has been a bone of contention in the Liquid marketing roll out. One oddly worded Blockstream tweet read, “We are excited to announce the release of the Liquid full node binaries and source code! Now any user can join the P2P #LiquidNetwork by operating a full node, in order to trustlessly use the #sidechain just like with the #bitcoin #blockchain.”
Just a Fancy Bank
Peter Todd immediately seized on the tweet, responding “If I don’t even call @opentimestamps ‘trustless’ there’s no way in hell that @Blockstream should be calling Liquid ‘trustless.’ It’s ultimately just a really fancy bank. The operators of the Liquid sidechain can collectively and unilaterally steal your money, and other than suing them, you have no recourse. Collectively they’re a bank like any other. That’s just not trustless in any way shape or form; saying otherwise is false advertising.”
CEO and Blockstream co-founder Adam Back responded dismissively, pointing to Todd’s concerns as “trivial.” Exasperated, Todd pinged Back immediately, “Dude, whoever is in control of the @Blockstream Twitter account fucked up. Simple as that. Delete the tweet and correct the record.” Such mistakes always seem to be made in Blockstream’s favor.
At that, Back slowed a bit in smugness, conceding, “yah the tweet diverged from the blog. trustlessly validate yes. trustless use in general? ofc not – peg IOU trust, weaker/different censorship trade-off (fixed signers but more fungibility via CA/CT) & liquid assets have inherent claim risk from issuer (not from functionaries).”
Over Promise, Under Perform
When a comment compared Liquid to Zcash, Todd noted, “No, it’s a lot worse than Zcash; probably on par with Ripple but there’s a more clear failure point with Liquid as your stolen BTC are more clearly stolen.”
Emilien Dutang, co-founder of blockchainpartner.fr teased, “What a huge success for liquid! 0 transactions in the last 3 hours. Congratulations to @Blockstream, all those press release were worth it! Released since 2015 with only a minimal 75 millions dollars of budget and still no customers, hard to beat that.”
On the plus side, the artistic look of their explorer (blockstream.info) is receiving praise for its minimalist, clean look. That’s something.
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