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People Are Mad at CoinBase

This was waiting for me in my twitter feed when I woke up this morning. It actually took me a little while to figure out what had actually happened.

Back at the beginning of August, CoinBase sent out an email which included the following:

We are planning to have support for bitcoin cash by January 1, 2018, assuming no additional risks emerge during that time.

Once supported, customers will be able to withdraw bitcoin cash. We’ll make a determination at a later date about adding trading support. In the meantime, customer bitcoin cash will remain safely stored on Coinbase.

Then yesterday (being Tuesday 19th December 2017), they went ahead and released full support for bitcoin cash. As a result the price went completely insane and some of the people who noticed probably made a lot of money.

One interpretation of these events is that they’re completely in keeping with the statement above. Another is that they are an utter betrayal of that same statement. It really comes down to whether you use an open or closed world interpretation.

Now, many1 of bitcoin’s supporters are a certain sort of libertarian. One who constantly see conspiracies which are out to get them, and has never heard of Hanlon’s Razor. So obviously they only see the interpretation which allows them to be the most aggrieved. As of right now they are trying to get #DeleteCoinbase to trend on Twitter. Which is to say that it’s getting a couple of posts an hour.

I’m not entirely sure what I think about this. My first thoughts are:

  • CoinBase’s actions do seem a little off;
  • A lot of the people who are angry are attacking anything they see as a threat to bitcoin.

I’m going to wait a day or so for the dust to settle before forming a full opinion.

  1. Not all, but many.