Why don’t core developers disclose conflicts of interest?

If you are Chinese and can translate this, please do so.

Participating in development of what is called the reference bitcoin client should require a declaration of conflicts of interest. This would be any form of financial or similar involvement in or with businesses/groups that are involved in Bitcoin in any way, and the dates in which these involvements took place. This would range from any form of work performed for these businesses or groups, other financial involvement, shareholding and similar relationships.

Any core developer who does not make an honest disclosure, should take a good hard look at themselves, and question how ethical they are behaving.

In this Bitcoin StackExchange post, Pieter Wuille, a core developer and a founder of Blockstream goes into detail about the extent (up to 30% or more) to which they have co-opted core development during the period in which he selected to analyse. It would not have been possible to easily determine Blockstream owned this amount of the Core development, without Blockstream co-founder and core developer Peter Wuille deciding to use it to try and make Blockstream look important.

When looking at the history of Bitcoin Core v0.12.0rc1 after august 1st 2014, 500 out of 2185 commits (23%; over 30% when including libsecp256k1) came from Blockstream employees and contractors.

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I’m probably focusing mostly on contributions I participated in myself.
— Peter Wuille.

Here are some of the developers which Peter Wuille implies are compromised, not declaring their Blockstream conflicts of interest clearly, with each pull request and check-in:

  • Peter Todd (Likes their office fridge)
  • Greg Maxwell (Blockstream founder, CTO)
  • Andrew Poelstra (Blockstream, mathematician)
  • Jorge Timon (Blockstream, infrastructure tech engineer)
  • Matt Corallo (Blockstream founder, stated to be on leave of absence).
  • Cory Fields (MIT funded, works with Blockstream)
  • Mark Friedenbach (Blockstream, infrastructure tech engineer)
  • Rusty Russell (Blockstream founder, infrastructure tech engineer)
  • Peter Wuille (Blockstream founder, infrastructure tech engineer)

Peter Todd claims to have “never worked for blockstream" but “For the record, I’ve received a number of red bulls and soylents from both Blockstream and ChaincodeLabs’s company fridges". It’s possible he only worked with Blockstream, and not for them, and received no compensation for doing so. But that’s not what he said.

Matt Corallo is a Blockstream founder, who has taken a leave of absence to work at ChaincodeLabs. As a core developer he works for Blockstream, and at ChaincodeLabs he teaches “hackers” “philosophy” about Bitcoin development. Corallo being pro-Segwit and anti-big blocks of course, likely teaches a “philosophy” with the same tolerance and open-mindedness we see in /r/bitcoin.

Greg Maxwell, as a founder and CTO at Blockstream, spends a good amount of his time on Reddit trying to help people realize how big blocks are bad and Segwit is good. He may not address the points raised, and may not seem to understand the mathematics or even some basic concepts, but I imagine he answers a fair number of posts and between the time he puts in doing work on Bitcoin Core for Blockstream and dismissing common concerns, cannot spend the time to add the detail required to do so.

There are other known Blockstream involved core developers who weren’t mentioned above, who are known to be contracted by Blockstream. Luke Dash Jr. for instance, is publicly known to be contracted by Blockstream. Fortunately, Luke is honest about his involvement, unlike pretty much every other core developer who hasn’t declared their conflicts of interest.

These are just the ones who we know visit the Blockstream offices, work for Blockstream or cooperate in their corporate interests. What other core developers over and above these have a stake in Blockstream, or related business endeavors?

When I learnt software development in university, they taught ethics.

The maintainer of Bitcoin Core (Wladimir J. van der Laan) should start practicing his, given he is also funded by MIT, and require disclosure of conflicts of interest by the developers he manages.

Edit: A copy of the StackExchange post has been added below.

Peter Wuille on Blockstream’s Bitcoin Core Development Influence

ElectrumSV developer

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