TL;DR: Proof of Social Media (PoSM) is a CoinSpice quick take of the ecosystem’s temperature through the lenses of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, Twitter, and wherever else sentiment can be observed. This PoSM installment examines the claim Bitcoin Core (BTC) developer Gregory Maxwell uses fake social media accounts. Several accusations surfaced over a period of at least two days recently, culminating in widespread confusion. Maxwell insisted to CoinSpice the charges are “nonsense.”
Proof of Social Media: BTC Dev Gregory Maxwell Calls Fake Social Media Account Accusations “Nonsense”
“The accusations are nonsense,” well known Bitcoin Core (BTC) developer Gregory Maxwell answered CoinSpice when asked for comment, “part of a long-standing campaign of harassment with a goal of discrediting Bitcoin’s steadfast defenders in order to scam people into purchasing fake Bitcoin assets– same as the first hundred times they have been brought and a dozen other similar instances.” Longtime collaborator, CEO and co-founder of Blockstream, Adam Back, entered a Twitter thread unexpectedly to defend Maxwell, doubling down on his assurance to CoinSpice.
Social media, particularly on messaging board service Reddit, has become a key battle ground in the war for crypto hearts and minds. Tactics such as banning, brigading, gaming upvotes and downvotes, purchasing older accounts with large amounts of Karma, bots, etcetera, all play a role in the digital public square fight for influence.
Maxwell is an early-adopter of Bitcoin, and can be counted as among the first to work on the project. His development chops are highly regarded by most. As co-founder, along with Back, of BTC-focused software company Blockstream, he’s also viewed generally as a partisan figure long believed to have been involved in social media squabbles, deep and petty alike.
I'm less surprised Greg Maxwell slipped up and revealed he's Contrarian, and more surprised he has detailed 3-way conversations with himself (he's also midnightmagic).
BTC is led by a person who believes the sun rotates around the earth and another who has multiple personalities pic.twitter.com/vVjqSGEPy8
— Peter R. Rizun (@PeterRizun) April 25, 2019
Loosely generalized, Maxwell is considered part of the dedicated cadre sometimes referred to as “small blockers.” He was instrumental in making the case for keeping BTC block sizes low, championing what some saw as bug or fault. Maxwell viewed smaller blocks to be a BTC feature: less room for the protocol to be monkeyed with on-chain, and such relatively smaller sizes might also encourage more full node participation, less ultimate centralization, among other arguments.
The trade-off came to a head in late 2017 when transaction times on BTC lagged, and associated fees were rising. Maxwell was seemingly undeterred, famously quipping, “Personally, I’m pulling out the champaign [sic] that market behaviour is indeed producing activity levels that can pay for security without inflation, and also producing fee paying backlogs needed to stabilize consensus progress as the subsidy declines.”
His place in the debate solidified beyond reasonable doubt, Maxwell is also believed to be an active participant in subreddits, and was recently accused of employing a universally thought underhanded tactic, sock puppetry. Essentially a sock puppet is a fake account, one used in conjunction with at least one other, in an effort to allow the puppeteer flexibility in opinions they’re often not allowed in polite company. It’s also a sly way to introduce doubt from an otherwise unblemished source, and can be a difference-maker for especially impressionable readers looking for clarity on a given subject.
looks like coincidence. eg Contrarian__ says this https://t.co/UbtfozaZNl which is the opposite of Greg's view, Greg has argued publicly against at length vs @SDLerner's speculation about Satoshi (or even single-miner early mined coins.) @midmagic is also definitively not Greg.
— Adam Back (@adam3us) April 25, 2019
Maxwell is nullc is Contrarian__?
In this instance, Maxwell is alleged to have solidly manned the Reddit account nullc for years. The latest dust up is the claim nullc and Redditor Contrarian__ are the same person. The notion is derived from a first piece of stylometry-type evidence where the typed gait and mode of expression is exact between two accounts. What often winds up happening is the puppeteer mistakes one account for another in a given thread, and posts either the same comment in succession from both accounts, or mixes up her own train of thought to give the real account the sock puppet’s views or vice versa.
It’s all quite confusing for those uninitiated in such matters, but it does go on, and if true in Maxwell’s case would hardly make him a lone offender. In this case, nullc and Contrarian__ deleted identical thread comments, “LOL. Craig can’t code,” just a few minutes apart, a tell in the Texas Hold ’em sense: alarm bells go off instantly for vigilant thread readers, and especially when they involve comments from a polarizing figure such as Maxwell. What’s also important to note is the inconsequential nature of the particular thread debate — perhaps no one much cared about the arguments in this case. It’s merely the possibility of trickery or subversion that has enthusiasts and veterans concerned.
That very loud instance led sleuths to dig, finding what they believe is a Maxwellian pattern of strategy along those lines, playing both sides off against the middle. And there’s there-there historically in the sense Maxwell, for example, reached out to a longtime nemesis during the Bitcoin Cash Hash War, offering assistance … in an enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend kind of way. Furthermore, there is evidence of his tampering with Wikipedia pages during so-called Edit Wars, adding conspiracy fuel to a growing fire. Currently, foes are insisting they’ve unearthed his staging entire conversations between Reddit accounts, hoping to sew more discord between camps perceived as threats to BTC.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.
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