After banning all adverts relating to cryptocurrencies in March, Twitter has now singled out the bitcoin-bashing handle @Bitcoin and delivered a suspension.
The handle, thought to be the property of Roger Ver and notorious for its flagrant promotion of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), was suspended on Sunday, April 8, presumably after complaints mounted up from Bitcoin (BTC) supporters. The account has since been reinstated, but is now the property of a mysterious “Adrian from Moscow Russia.”
This is the latest installment in the BCH-BTC saga, which has been ongoing since the canceled SegWit2X fork of November 2017.
This led to a resurgence in the former fork of Bitcoin Cash, and a disagreement over scaling solutions that erupted into a campaign of petty name-calling. It came as no surprise, therefore, that news of the account ban was reveled in by Charlie Lee, founder of competing cryptocurrency Litecoin, who gleefully spread news of the closure to enthused followers:
— Charlie Lee [LTC] (@SatoshiLite) April 8, 2018
Ver, who has repeatedly been accused of spreading anti-BTC propaganda for his own gain, responded with a dramatic defamation of Twitter – calling into question the responsibility of the platform to uphold principles of free speech:
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) April 8, 2018
Former BitGo engineer Jameson Lopp responded that ‘free speech’ is not about saying what you want on private property, but rather the freedom to speak your mind and not be thrown in jail:
Freedom of speech means that the government won’t throw you in a cage for saying something it doesn’t condone. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want on someone else’s property.
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) April 8, 2018
Why the Ban?
While no reason was given for the ban, Twitter users have speculated that it could be due to trademarking issues over the Bitcoin name. Ver maintains that Bitcoin Cash stays true to ‘Satoshi’s original vision,’ but has been accused of piggybacking on the popularity of Bitcoin to promote Bitcoin Cash, and thereby capitalizing on the confusion of investors new to the scene who are unlikely to be aware of the history between the two strands of Bitcoin.
Impersonation is grounds for suspension according to Twitter terms of service, as is spamming, or abuse. It is arguable whether or not @Bitcoin is actually guilty of these, and some have speculated that there could be a larger conflict of interest at play.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is a vocal supporter of Bitcoin, and recently made a $2.5 million contribution to the Lightning Labs. If the Lightning Network is to succeed, then along with SegWit it would negate many of the advantages, like lower fees and faster transaction times, that made Bitcoin Cash worthy of attention in the first place.
This is not the first time that the @Bitcoin Twitter account has courted controversy; it was punished earlier in the year by a temporary restriction after a dubious poll asking followers to indicate their preference for Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.