Homer: Not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working like a charm.
Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, dear.
Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn’t work.
Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock.
Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?
[Homer thinks of this, then pulls out some money]
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
I always loves the above scene in The Simpsons. It shows so simply how difficult it can be to disprove something that is clearly not true.
The logic is so simple that it’s almost impossible to refute. But the idea is so blatantly ridiculous that no one in their right mind would believe it.
It’s a very original way of showing that correlation does not imply causation.
Confusing correlation with causation is something many, many people do. And journalists, in particular, are apt to make this mistake.
Although to be fair, I think most journalists who make this mistake do so on purpose to rile up readers.
The Daily Mail is notorious for this in its science reporting. And the Guardian, too, which is known to put ideology before honesty.
But there is another way to look at that Simpsons scene. Short of taking that stone to a zoo, or shipping a tiger to his house, how could Homer prove Lisa’s rock doesn’t really keep away tigers?
He could show how ridiculous Lisa’s statement was. But in order to disprove it, he’d have to get his hands on a tiger.
Where am I going with all this? Well, this is the perfect analogy for something that’s going on in bitcoin right now.
It’s taken the world of crypto by storm, and I think it’s well worth getting clued up on. Plus, it’s pretty entertaining.
The feud that tanked bitcoin
Satoshi Nakamoto is the man or woman who created bitcoin. Satoshi Nakamoto was not the person’s real name, but an online pseudonym.
Over a decade later, and no one has managed to unmask Nakamoto’s real identity. It also seems unlikely anyone ever will, as the most likely candidate, Hal Finney, is dead.
So if you can’t prove who the real Nakamoto is, by the same token, that makes it virtually impossible to disprove someone claiming to be him.
Enter Craig Wright, aka Faketoshi.
For a long time now, Craig Wright has claimed he is Satoshi Nakamoto.
And just like no one can prove Lisa’s rock doesn’t keep away tigers without getting hold of a tiger, no one can prove Wright isn’t Nakamoto without getting hold of Nakamoto.
One eccentric academic claiming to be Nakamoto wouldn’t really be such a problem if he didn’t wield so much wealth and power.
But Wright is a billionaire, and owns multiple “news” outlets that report on the crypto markets.
And what’s more, he is locked in a death spiral with Roger Ver (aka “Bitcoin Jesus”) to prove which version of bitcoin should reign supreme – Ver’s Bitcoin Cash ABC or Wright’s Bitcoin Cash SV.
Both of these cryptos are forked forks of the original bitcoin. They currently sit in 4th (ABC) and 12th (SV) place on CoinMarketCap.
This feud was responsible for crashing the price of bitcoin back in October. Each side was buying computer power to try attack the other’s network.
It was a mess. And the rest of the crypto world looked on in disbelief.
You’ll notice that Bitcoin Cash SV is now ranked much lower than Bitcoin Cash ABC.
Ver’s ABC is now worth four times Wright’s SV. The market has chosen and Ver’s vision won.
And let’s not forget, each of these cryptos is simply a fork of the original bitcoin, which is now worth $84 billion more than both Bitcoin Cash variants put together.
Because Wright lost the Bitcoin Cash fight, his side also lost a lot of money.
People are at their most dangerous when they are close to defeat
Wright is in hot water.
Last week Coin Telegraph reported that Bitcoin Cash SV miners have lost $2.2 million since its inception.
He is getting desperate. And so he has started a legal campaign to silence anyone who says he isn’t the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
These threats have gone out to many notable figures in crypto, including Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin.
But it wasn’t this lawsuit that got the community up in arms. It was Wright’s threat and bounty for Twitter user “holdonaut” that did it.
As well as threatening to sue holdonaut he also announced a $5,000 bounty for doxing him.
If you’re not familiar with the term “doxing”, it’s when you hack a person’s online accounts and post it all publicly. Usually including their real name, address, email address, home phone number, family members, etc.
Sometimes this will include their credit card numbers, bank details, place of employment, passwords and anything else the hackers can get their hands on.
It is a wholly terrifying thing to do to someone. And usually it ruins their lives.
Don’t poke the bear
Well, Wright’s antics, as you can imagine, caught the attention of a lot of high-profile people in the world of crypto and things escalated.
Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance which basically the biggest exchange in the world, tweeted this:
Yesterday he followed up with this:
Master piece! You have my full support, Peter.
To be clear, I don’t choose sides on technology. We let market do that. I am against fraud, such as lying to be someone. As such, it is my strong opinion that:
Craig Wright is fraud.
The real Satoshi can digitally sign any message to prove it. This is as simple as breathing for him/her. And we have the pub key.
Until then, everyone is Satoshi, except Craig Wright!
Lastly, anyone who supports BSV from a tech perspective should be attacking the fraudulent Craig Wright, who is poisoning YOUR community, and not attack the rest of the world.
Anyone thinking CW is Satoshi should read about how a private key works, ie, learn about crypto.
The #weareallholdonaut has been trending in crypto circles and a number of high-profile users have changed their likeness and Twitter names to holdonaut.
But now it’s gone even further.
There are now calls for all major exchanges to delist Bitcoin SV on 1 May.
“The truth? You can’t handle the truth!”
So now we have come full circle.
The community was rightfully angry at Wright for suing people who disagreed with him and doxing his enemies.
But now many in the community are calling for his creation to be censored, because he is trying to censor other people.
If nothing else, this whole Bitcoin Cash saga makes a great soap opera.
One of the people calling for this mass delisting tweeted this:
This tweet was posted on Reddit, and it received some fantastic responses.
But I think user “Warr1979” response summed this argument up best:
As I replied on twitter what if every government banned bitcoin on May 1st? What if they said “Sometimes we must do the hard thing, not because it is easy, but because it is right”. How would we all feel? Craig Wright is a tool to put it kindly, he needs to go. This is no different than big government trying to swap their weight. I choose to ignore Craig and if I can help the people he’s attacking. But no head of exchange, no crypto “influencer” should tell the masses how this should be handled. The people as a whole should. As crypto gets older it becomes more like the establishment. In the end it’s all about money and power not freedom.
Although, I guess you could argue that many individuals standing up against a billionaire megalomaniac is akin to what Archbishop Desmond Tutu was getting at with this statement:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Either way, this whole saga is an interesting microcosm of many political situations that come up over the course of history.
If crypto really does want to create a new paradigm, how it deals with situations like this are far more important than they first appear.
What do you think of it all? Let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
And look out for tomorrow’s Exponential Investor, when I’ll be reporting directly from Paris Blockchain Week.
Editor, Exponential Investor