Roger Ver’s announcement

I announced on Twitter yesterday after hearing Roger Ver’s talk at the Satoshi’s Vision Conference that the wallet would no longer create a default BTC wallet when downloaded, only a Bitcoin Cash wallet. It was exciting news that got a huge applause from the audience.

Predictably, the Bitcoin Core pitchforks came out quickly and I received hundreds of responses from Core users calling to sue and spreading misinformation and propaganda about Roger’s announcement.

I’ve kested four of the popular responses below and my replies to them since they are revealing about the mindset and tactics of Core and since I hope anybody who is on the fence can use them to see through the mist and make an educated decision.

1. “ wallet will no longer function with Bitcoin!”

I saw this response more than anything else and it was surprising because I thought I was clear in the post. Per Roger’s announcement, the wallet will not create a BTC wallet by default, but users can still create one on their own. Of course, it’s no moral failing to misunderstand something, but it is a moral failing to orient yourself in such a way incentivizes misunderstanding. Charles Mackay writes in his Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds:

An enthusiastic philosopher, of whose name we are not informed, had constructed a very satisfactory theory on some subject or other, and was not a little proud of it. “But the facts, my dear fellow,” said his friend, “the facts do not agree with your theory.”—”Don’t they?” replied the philosopher, shrugging his shoulders, “then, tant pis pour les faits;”—so much the worse for the facts!

You realize after a few hours talking to Core users that they have no intention to correct any misunderstanding they might have that would go against their narrative. This is the mindset that led to the hard fork to begin with. And I’m certain we’ll see reviews on the app stores claiming that the wallet won’t work with BTC.

2. “ has sold its soul to greed.”

An accusation of greed is the leper’s bell of the intellectually bankrupt. I was reminded of the excellent video where economist Milton Friedman defends against the claim that “Capitalism is greedy:”

Well first of all, tell me: Is there some society you know that doesn’t run on greed? What is greed? Of course, none of us are greedy, it’s only the other fellow who’s greedy. The world runs on individuals pursuing their separate interests.

The Bitcoin ecosphere is built fundamentally off the desire to profit. Of course, many of us want to create a freer world, but all of us want to get rich in the process. As Craig Wright said at the Satoshi’s Vision Conference,

We use greed for good. It’s what Bitcoin does.

And you should remind anyone from Core who tells you otherwise that “hodl” culture is all about pumping price and selfish profit. That’s a good thing. Double standards, however, are not.

If Core is going to push “lambo” memes, they should allow for the possibility that others want to profit as well.

3. “People will lose money!”

Anyone who does their research knows that the default address setting in the wallet is the new Cash Address. It was created in large part to ensure people were not confused. It is not possible for people to lose money by sending BTC to that kind of address. Nobody will lose money because nobody can lose money.

This is almost besides the point though because Core wants a victim of Bitcoin Cash and they will have one even if they have to manufacture it. As I’ve written elsewhere, this is another example of the Theoretical Bitcoiner that has become so common recently. Segwit Justice Warriors use the TB

not to protect these imaginary victims, but to distract, discredit, and subvert.

Roger could put a big red graphic on top of every page of the wallet saying “WARNING: You are using BCH not BTC” and they would still claim there are people losing their money. But we know better. Nobody has lost money and nobody will. It’s all in their heads.

4. “Scam! Ver wants to trick people into buying Bitcoin Cash. The lawyers will have a field day.”

I actually saw one particularly upset person claim that the wallet is all a front to get a bunch of people to load it with BCH and then steal it. Of course this is not possible but like pop-physics today, when reality doesn’t match the theory, Core bends their understanding of reality instead of the underlying theory.

Besides that crackpot theory, the general consensus among them is that this is some kind of scam. This too does not hold up because it requires you to stretch the meaning of “scam.” It is no scam to have a free mobile application. Downloading it costs users nothing. Using it costs users nothing. If they don’t like it, they can delete it. If it doesn’t serve their needs, they can delete it, and nobody is the worse off.

In a legal sense, there’s no case to be made. The website has very clear, accessible reasons why they support BCH instead of BTC. It’s not fine print in some legal document, it’s material that any prospective Bitcoiner can and should read before making any decisions.

It is sad that people who supported going around the state now threatening to use the state to crack down on a company that makes decisions with which they don’t agree. So be it. They will lose.

As for my own personal opinion on Roger’s announcement, I think it is probably a good decision. I see no reason why his business should be set up to support people that hate him and ideas that are contrary to what he believes. As a commentator said:

What Core‘s reaction tells us about Roger‘s decision is that it was absolutely the *right* decision. They are irrationally hateful toward him and he owes them nothing.

And I think this could probably do a good thing by further separating BCH from BTC. I hope to see more services start to fragment.

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