On October 6, the two anonymous owners of the website Bitcoin.org, ‘Theymos’ and ‘Cobra Bitcoin,’ stated they would soon be posting a warning on every page about the risks of Segwit2x and every company involved with the fork will also be mentioned.
The website, which was originally founded by Satoshi Nakamoto, serves as an open-source repository for bitcoin resources and information. As the top Google search result for “Bitcoin”, the website serves as the gateway for many people into the cryptocurrency community.
The current domain owners of Bitcoin.org have been vocally opposed to the SegWit2x proposal and the corresponding New York Agreement (NYA), even going so far as to remove links to SegWit2x supporters from the resources section. Now, just a month out from the scheduled date for the hard fork, Bitcoin.org is threatening to place banners on every page of the website denouncing companies that support SegWit2x.
From the announcement:
“On 2017-10-11 at noon (UTC), Bitcoin.org is planning to publish a banner on every page of the site warning users about the risks of using services that will default to the so-called Segwit2x (S2X) contentious hard fork. S2X companies will be called out by name. To ensure that we only warn users against companies that will actually put user deposits at risk, we urge all companies to publicly clarify their stance before the above date, either by a highly-visible public statement or by commenting on Bitcoin.org issue #1835 (or by doing both).”
Specifically, the announcement demands that companies that support the hard fork agree to not list the SegWit2x chain as “BTC” or “Bitcoin”. Additionally, they must state that they will not do anything to “deprive users of their bitcoins,” which may include crediting BTC deposits as “S2X”, automatically selling user coins derived from the original chain, or using SegWit2x software without the addition of opt-out replay protection. Finally, the bitcoin services must commit to continuing to provide normal service to the original blockchain following the fork.
During the original discussion on Github concerning whether or not Bitcoin.org should add the denouncement warning, a few individuals were against the action. Cobra Bitcoin the ‘other’ leader of Bitcoin.org says he’s made the Segwit2x risk warning a “red alert” because he thinks the November hard fork is “possibly the greatest threat to Bitcoin.”
The announcement goes on to list 50 companies it will denounce by name unless they comply with these demands, including prominent names such as Coinbase, BitPay, bitFlyer, Xapo, and ShapeShift.
SegWit2x supporters respond
Unsurprisingly, SegWit2x supporters were not pleased by the decision. BTC1 developer Jeff Garzik called the move the latest instance of Bitcoin Core’s “culture of reprisals” which included his expulsion from the Bitcoin Core repository earlier this year. ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees was also critical of the decision:
“Using bitcoin.org for political positions… not a good precedent,” he posted on reddit. “Don’t people here often condemn Roger [Ver] for using bitcoin.com in the same way?”
Of course, the entire community has been quarreling over this announcement on forums and other forms of social media. A vast majority of the r/bitcoin crowd supports the website’s announcement, while the other side of the debate believes the website’s decision is absurd. Theymos, who is also the lead administrator of the Reddit forum r/bitcoin, states on the forum’s announcement thread, “this bitcoin.org blog post is mostly targeted at the involved companies and other in-the-know people,” explains the owner of Bitcoin.org.