@Bitcoin, crypto is split on whether to censor controversial Twitter account
Crypto Twitter is embroiled in a heated debate over whether to suspend the controversial @Bitcoin account. Bitcoin maximalists call for its removal for violating Twitter’s terms of service and for false advertising, defenders of Bitcoin Cash and free speech are resistant to what they describe as “censorship.”
@Bitcoin Twitter Account the Focus of Debate
The crypto community is a tech-savvy, active, and involved bunch, especially on social media. The platform of choice: Twitter. As one of the few social media platforms that facilitate quick and easy communication between a large number of people, Twitter has coalesced into a force that can bring projects to fame or demise.
The anonymous spirit of cryptocurrency translated into a largely anonymous and powerful Twitter community—referred to as Crypto Twitter— that is highly vocal about the direction of the industry.
One ongoing controversy is over the Twitter account @Bitcoin. Created in 2011, the account holds tremendous sway in the community with over 930,000 followers.
Originally, the account was an all-in-one-stop for everything Bitcoin. However, the account started criticizing the network in 2017 for its high fees and lack of scalability. Soon after, the account started to become vocal about its support for Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin’s controversial hard fork supported by Roger Ver—who allegedly owns the account.
Transaction fees on BTC are too high for it to be useful in payments, and the blocks are too full for reliable confirmations. These are facts. But according to BTC maxis, I'm a scammer and a villain and a fraud for pointing these facts out.
— Bitcoin (@Bitcoin) April 21, 2019
Fraud or Freedom of Speech?
Increased support for Bitcoin Cash did not bode well with most Bitcoin maximalists, who accused the account and its owner of false advertising and of violating Twitter’s terms of service. Bitcoin Cash supporters and free speech advocates were quick to respond, maintaining their position that Bitcoin doesn’t have a single “right” vision and that Bitcoin Cash exists as a different “path” that Bitcoin could have taken in its evolution.
Does this twitter account think it is fooling anyone @Jack? It spreads fear about bitcoin in order to promote another project called “bitcoin cash” using any kind of subterfuge. Bitcoin will not raise the coin limit past 21 million coins ever. https://t.co/AtOr0IHExx
— James McCue (@jamestmccue) April 21, 2019
What the Community Says
However, the difference in opinions quickly turned into one of the most heated arguments Crypto Twitter has ever seen. WhalePanda, a highly influential Crypto Twitter influencer, suggested that the @Bitcoin account should be suspended like the @internet account was some time ago.
The @Bitcoin twitter account should be suspended like the @internet account.
The account was sold which is against ToS.
The account is actively involved with defrauding people. It really is that simple.https://t.co/Innp81a2GW
— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) April 21, 2019
Larry Cermak of The Block offered a more balanced alternative to banning the account. While the analyst himself supports Bitcoin, he called for the market to decide on whether or not the @Bitcoin account should stay as it is. Calling for Twitter to ban the account contradicts Bitcoin’s censorship resistant principles, Cermak said.
TIL It’s unpopular to think that @bitcoin shouldn’t be banned. I don’t give a fuck about Bitcoin Cash and support Bitcoin but it’s subjective (IMO) to argue that they are impersonating a brand. Why not just let the market decide instead of advocating for banning?
— Larry Cermak (@lawmaster) April 20, 2019
Some users have pointed out the flaw in this argument, saying that the @Bitcoin handle itself has the power to sway the market. Others were more practical in their arguments, saying that the account should be banned as buying and selling Twitter handles is against the platform’s terms of service.
i don't see how the market decides the twitter handle but one could argue owning the bitcoin handle helps sway the market
— nick (@nickjamesbtc) April 20, 2019
A large part of the crypto community that usually stays away from both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash also contributed to the debate. Many argued that banning @Bitcoin would be a violation of free speech, as nobody has the right to ban criticism or praise of certain cryptocurrencies.
Counterpointing that was James McCue, a software developer who argued that it was an account created to sell “bitcoin cash” and trash bitcoin in intellectually dishonest ways. McCue noted:
“This is not an issue of free speech, it is a marketing scheme.”
The argument to suspend @Bitcoin
The bitcoin community shares a common argument—Roger Ver should use a handle like @bitcoincash or @bcash for promoting Bitcoin Cash. The hate is not channeled against the coin—BCH, but against the tactics employed by the BCH team to manipulate users into believing that bitcoin cash is bitcoin, say those criticizing the account. Likewise, the /r/btc subreddit is also controlled by Roger Ver and BCH team and faces similar criticism.
Roger Ver, the owner of the @bitcoin handle on Twitter—also owns the famous domain bitcoin.com, which is also utilized for promoting Bitcoin Cash.
For instance, the buy bitcoin page of Bitcoin.com uses enables new users to purchase “bitcoin” without clarity that it is actually bitcoin cash they are purchasing, as asserted by several Redditors. Additionally, the get started with bitcoin guide on the website is also questionable, as it actually shows users how to get started with Bitcoin Cash, added another Redditor.
The issue even got the attention of Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter. In response to Zack Voell, a Messari analyst, Dorsey asked what Voell recommended Twitter should do about the account.
Voell released the conversation and faced backlash from the community, later deleting the tweet. However, Voell did liken Bitcoin Cash using the Bitcoin name to @Oreo hijacking the @ChipsAhoy username.
Allowing @Bitcoin to shill Bitcoin Cash, an entirely different asset, and bash $BTC unobstructed is no different than letting @Oreo hijack the @ChipsAhoy handle. End this deliberate misinformation campaign.
— Zack Voell (@zackvoell) April 20, 2019
So far, the debate still rages on and the community seems evenly split on the issue. Thus, it seems unlikely the Crypto Twitter will come to a consensus on this particular issue.