TL;DR: It has not been a great start for Bitcoin SV (BSV). Beset by its own speculative price tanking, a planned merger between CoinGeek and Squire Mining (its price also falling) has been pushed back, and, if all that wasn’t enough, three reports of illegal content uploaded to the BSV blockchain have put a public relations wrinkle on a project priding itself in being “government friendly.”
Bitcoin SV Money Button Responds to Illegal Uploads
News of a quick, one second South Park video clip uploaded to the BSV chain was met with cheers from the project’s enthusiasts for its relative ease of placement due to generous OP_RETURN functionality. The broader crypto community seemed amused but also slightly puzzled. BSV is the government friendly chain, they’ve claimed, the one touting promises of intellectual property (IP) and patents to insulate it from competition.
The latter reaction might seem petty, if not pedantic. However, the animated series has been around for 22 seasons, and is produced by South Park Productions, distributed by Viacom, and shown on Comedy Central — companies in a BSV world encouraged to employ legal means in sanctioning the chain, assuming entities associated could be held liable. To this, proponents have shrugged the happening off through a variety of legalisms and technical gymnastics.
Complicating matters further is a recent report revealed by a much-lauded BSV application, Money Button. “We’ve started moderating the blockchain,” founder Ryan X. Charles explained. “The blockchain itself, of course, cannot be censored. But businesses that provide services for the blockchain can, should and will delete immoral and illegal content.” Allegedly, child pornography was recently uploaded through Money Button and onto the BSV chain.
Moderate Morally Reprehensible and Illegal Content
Again, a healthy portion of crypto enthusiasts view the spirit of open source and public blockchains as an affront to patents and government minders enforcing IP. BSV enthusiasts and stakeholders have insisted exactly opposite is the case, and in turn dedicated their chain and coin to those ends. They’ve insisted the space must “mature,” and lecture incessantly of being the adults in every room.
Money Button blogged “businesses that write to and read from the blockchain have a moral and legal obligation to moderate morally reprehensible and illegal content,” and further detailed how an anonymous user posted illegal content to BSV using Money Button. “We have confirmed that was the case and we have banned the user responsible for creating those transactions.”
It’s unusually torturous language due to the nature of crypto. More than a few in the community have wondered aloud if businesses associated with BSV will wind up being Facebook-like surveillance scolds. The rest of the Money Button post proceeds with verbiage such as “it is likely that criminals will continue to attempt to abuse this technology for illegal purposes,” and those who do “will be banned and reported to the authorities,” culminating with users being “able opt-in to blacklists from trusted businesses and authorities.”
OP_RETURN and Dunning-Kruger
Incredibly easy would be to get lost in morality debates hardly anyone disputes, something like the Dunning–Kruger effect. It’s a bias protecting intellectual mistakes through wild overestimations of real prowess, and those employing it fall prey to lowbrow arguments about censorship fears the equivalent of being pro-child pornography. Public relations in this manner is often about taking worse case scenarios to smuggle-in wide net policies under scares of rampant criminality. Yet cheerleaders also forwarded recent news of BSV now housing a full read only memory of Super Mario Brothers for the Nintendo Entertainment System, another seeming violation of IP.
It’s worth noting OP_RETURN sizes were a real bone of contention during debates leading to the contentious hard fork turned chain split of 15 November 2018. As one prominent developer observed concerning the recent Money Button affair, “BSV recently increased their OP_RETURN size to 100kb so someone was able to upload [illegal imagery] to the chain via Money Button.” Bitcoin Cash, from which BSV forked, by comparison, has an OP_RETURN size of only 220 bytes, making it difficult to almost impossible for something similar to occur.
Extra irony might happen when businesses in fear of thundering legal threats, the kind made often by prominent BSV figureheads, drop any use whatsoever of BSV as a result. Forget exchanges as well. Even mining the chain could pose legal trouble under the BSV rubric. At the very least, platforms such as Money Button are officially centralized both in theory and practice, and they’re going to decide what is legal and moral. CoinSpice reached out to Ryan X. Charles of Money Button 24 hours prior to publication for comment, and received no reply.
Squire and CoinGeek Extend Merger Negotiations
And merchant adoption is going to be critical due to the spectre of CoinGeek Mining (a principal BSV mining pool) and Squire Mining merger negotiations being pushed to 31 March 2019. Squire acquiring CoinGeek was thought by BSV proponents to establish a giant, publicly traded mining outfit, and since the middle of last year it has been highly anticipated within their ranks.
Hardware synergy, chip prototypes, etc. were given many headlines within the BSV camp through official websites and chat rooms. The situation, however, turned a bit when Squire CEO Taras Kulyk resigned after a severe market downturn and slow product development. The trading price of Squire Mining (SQR) has dropped nearly 80% since Fall of last year.
BSV’s speculative price has also fallen steeply, following broader market trends. Combined with illegal upload issues going against the very nature of its business model, no new ASIC chip, merger architect and Squire CEO bowing out, and negotiations shoved back, no doubt the BSV community is hoping for a much better 2019 going forward.
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