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Bitcoiner Jameson Lopp Admits to Griefing Bitcoin Testnet, Sparks Debate

Lopp will be publishing an essay next weekend with full details. And he also noted that this should not surprise anyone familiar with his email to the development mailing list a few weeks ago.

  • Jameson Lopp, Co-founder of Casa, admitted to "griefing" a Bitcoin testnet by generating three years' worth of blocks in one week, disrupting ongoing developer tests.
  • The incident sparked debate among Bitcoin developers, with some arguing it was a harmful attack, while Lopp defended it as a necessary "stress test" to expose network vulnerabilities.

Bitcoin, controversies, clashes, and differences go hand in hand. However, it’s usually the Bitcoin maximalists vs minimalists. But this time, it's between Bitcoin developers.

Recently, a Bitcoiner confessed to "griefing" one of Bitcoin's testnets by generating three years' worth of blocks in just one week, prompting some developers to suspend the applications they were testing.

But who’s the culprit? 

It’s Jameson Lopp, Co-founder & Chief Security Officer of Casa, a digital asset self-custody solution. Lopp identified himself as the culprit in an April 28 post on Nostr, a decentralized social media platform.

Source: Nostr

Before Lopp revealed himself as the person behind the griefing attack, several Bitcoin developers were furious and were expressing their frustration on X (formerly Twitter).

For instance, Francis Pouliot, Founder of Bull Bitcoin, a noncustodial Bitcoin exchange and payments firm, vented on X, stating, “Whoever has been f****g with testnest is a d****bag looser.” 

Interestingly, Lopp commented on Pouliot’s post by stating that he will be “publishing an essay next weekend with full details.” He also noted that this should not surprise anyone familiar with his email to the development mailing list a few weeks ago.

“I suggest you view recent events as a free stress test. Sounds like you have room for improvement,” commented Lopp. 

Another Bitcoin enthusiast, Leo Weese, shared his take on X, stating, “This is what it looks like trying to sync a testnet3 node right now.” With thousands of new blocks every hour, it’s impossible to sync fast enough to reach the tip. He also believes that the community might have to permanently part ways with permission-less testing networks.

While Lopp disagrees and suggests that it simply needs to reset the testnet and fix the bug, Pouliot offers a different perspective. The Bull Bitcoin founder compared the situation to someone defecating in a jacuzzi at a spa, ruining it for everyone enjoying themselves. He then ironically noted that this person claims we are all better off now, as there's no longer a risk of someone else soiling the jacuzzi.

“Bitcoin developers themselves have begun to fight against Bitcoin testnet, because unable to control their emotions and behaving like children. They have taken on the roles of police, and judges, and enforce their rules,” a Bitcoiner wrote on Bitcoin testnet3 faucet.

The writer noted that although the Bitcoin testnet cannot be destroyed due to its decentralization, actions have been taken that hinder its usefulness for everyone and involve openly mocking individuals.

For instance, Lopp, who has publicly admitted to this attack on multiple occasions, is not the only one involved, and his behavior negatively reflects on other developers who are unrelated to these actions.

Thus, the writer believes that people like him should not have access to development because their personal outbursts pose a security risk to Bitcoin overall.

Edited by Harshajit Sarmah