The Battle For Bitcoin's Brand: We Need To Talk About Roger

John Medley

Bitcoin Forking Meme

Comment of the Day @Bitperplexed

Bitcoin Brand Battle

Recently the CryptoTwitter Blog covered @rogervers's latest antics in his quest to hijack the bitcoin brand. Shapeshift recently integrated into the bitcoin.com wallet and accidentally called Bitcoin: 'Bitcoin Core', resulting in outrage on Twitter and a announcement from the Shapeshift CEO @ErikVoorhees:

We Need To Talk About Roger

Roger likes to say he was the 'first investor in bitcoin' and a 'bitcoin evangelist', mentioning it constantly in interviews as some sort of accolade to which he pins his identity and meaning in life. All power to him for claiming this title and in his defense he has dedicated much of his life, energy, intellect and wealth to further the cause of bitcoin but it seems pride and power have clouded his judgement of late. Unfortunately for the ecosystem, this comes at severe consequence: Roger owns bitcoin.com and its affiliated social media sites that together capture and influence a huge number of new users.

He is abusing this power and people are starting to get pretty angry about it. The latest example of the damage Roger is causing is the 'vulnerabilities' found in bitcoin.com's wallet. It stores the mnemonic seed as plaintext which makes it accessible by apps with root access. Roger (MemoryDealers) didn't seem to think this was a big issue. Not only did Roger not believe the 'vulnerability' to be a major issue, he also seemed to know the value of bitcoins stored by bitcoin.com wallets.

Another classic example is the way in which bitcoin.com sets its default wallet to BCash, meaning hosts of users send BTC to a BCH address. As you probably know the immutable nature of public blockchains means this money is lost forever. A surefire way to lose the faith and interest of new crypto enthusiasts. Coinbase have had to post this announcement on their platform to stop their users doing the same.

Coinbase Bitcoin Cash warning

Not to mention the other more nefarious but speculative arguments against BCash; low quality/number and pseudo anonymity of developers, centralized hash power, market manipulation, increased control from one man (Roger), increased profitability for miners. Even @NickSzabo4 who many believe to be Satoshi said BCash is 'centralized sock puppetry'.

The @CryptoGlobe Twitter feed is full with people debating the issue and one of their arguments against BCash is that it is trying to hijack Bitcoin's brand and network effects, something that has taken almost a decade to build. Secondly, and more seriously numerous 'newbie' investors are buying BCash and sending to bitcoin wallets. Ironically, Roger's 'mission' has been to spread bitcoin to the world; however, his net impact seems to be turning people away from the real Bitcoin.

Roger takes serious offense when people call Bitcoin Cash, BCash. A re-branding to 'BitCash' is gaining support as a pragmatic compromise to stop new users getting scammed and Roger not getting his knickers in a twist. I can only hope it gets adopted and people stop losing money buying BCash by mistake.

PS: You may want to have a look at this useful analysis from @whatbitcoindid, before you consider following Roger...

Weekly Newsletter