TL;DR: Bitcoin Unlimited Chief Scientist Peter Rizun was summarily disinvited from a popular podcast after bitcoin core (BTC) supremacists pressured the host. Rizun was initially asked to take part in a series dedicated to the Lightning Network (LN), discussing his concerns over the technology.
BTC Lightning Supremacists Pressure Podcast to Dump Interview of Critic Peter Rizun
“In prep for an interview w @PeterMcCormack,” Rizun posted back on 9 March 2019, “help me brainstorm why a future where the blockchain is settlement-only and most TXs take place on LN is bad. By ‘bad’ I mean no longer p2p ecash where users can send payments to any other user, be their own banks + verify their own TXs.”
Rizun is a respected voice in the space, and many appeared supportive of he and host Peter McCormack, of the podcast What Bitcoin Did (WBD), meeting for a constructive conversation. McCormack is relatively new to cryptocurrency, and though based in the United Kingdom his interviews are notable at least for the fact he actually goes to his guests personally. He’s also an ardent supporter of BTC and a fan of Lightning. The opportunity to hear an open critic on WBD was highly anticipated.
The BTC community is known for its penchant toward censoring dissenting voices, however, and those instincts for controlling the narrative seem to have been applied to answering recent scaling concerns over Lightning. By all accounts, LN is BTC’s answer to higher transaction fees, slower confirmation times. Recently, the tech received marketing support from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey through a play on what’s known as a coin roll, passing transactions via Lightning while marveling at its capacity. Inspired, a few tried out LN for themselves, finding it less than what was billed by Dorsey and other partisan investors.
Kinda Hating Myself for Bending to the Pressure
In a surprising turn, on 10 March 2019 the show’s host explained, “I won’t be interviewing Peter Rizun. Thank you for the feedback. I would still like to have someone on with valid criticisms or an opinion on limitations,” and cited a previous episode where the LN issue was evidently already discussed.
Rizun posted likewise, taking the rebuff graciously, “@PeterMcCormack regretfully informed me that my invitation to come on his show was rescinded. I was invited to discuss the downside of LN as a scaling solution and had been preparing all weekend. Too bad it didn’t work out.”
While McCormack’s initial excuse seemed to turn on “feedback,” he would later admit to “kinda hating myself for bending to the pressure right now. Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.” Reaction from the community to his slighting of Rizun ranged from expected piling-on against Rizun’s reputation by BTC supremacists, to more thoughtful consideration of what McCormack’s buckling at hysterical elements means for both his show’s integrity and the robustness of Lightning’s technology. CoinSpice reached out to Rizun, offering to discuss the pros and cons of LN on The CoinSpice Podcast.
UPDATE 11 March 2019: McCormack changed course, regretted having given-in to pressure, and pledged to have Rizun on the show.
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