Dear bitcoin community,
I’ve been cancelled of the Lightning Dev Kit communication space (Discord and I guess other things) end of last week for very unclear reasons by the group of people called the ldk code of conduct team. This casts a big open question if there is no a corporate capture underway of the Lightning Dev Kit open-source project by the spiral people. As a note, I’ve been an active and prolific contributors for some years and as old since 2018, far before many other contributors leveraging the code of conduct application for obscure and doubtful interests.
The reasons exposed are completely without ground and the ldk code of conduct team has never sent the mentioned communications to me with PGP signatures and OTS proofs, as I think a transparent and accountable open-source process is requesting. I’ve never harassed anyone in the community and this is a bag of pure calomnies from the ldk code of conduct team. I don’t know what are their underlying motivation.
As a matter of enlightenment, there has been some private drama between the spiral team and myself in october 2022, where someone there broke his plain months-long committed business words towards me in a very explicit fashion (and I think there has been some third-party witnesses in the quality of some Blockstream people). This is under resolution through the appropriate channels.
While this was a private dispute at first, this of course poisoned the relationships between myself and some of the LDK contributors employed by Spiral, where I’ve been more and more asking for accountability of the spiral team in the conduct of the janitorial roles of the project. My maintenance credentials were removed during Q1 2023 without due notice in a complete opaque fashion (while I’ve never been interested in maintenance and I’ve never used them it’s good to have a clear and transparent process when someone is removed its maintenance credentials). And since then this has been full “cancel culture” in the Lightning Dev Kit project, where some maintainers are abusing their github and discord admin rights as soon as you say something questioning their technical choices or maintenance decisions.
Everytime you’re asking a motivation of this publicly or privately they’re going to kick for touch difficult yet-necessary and constructive conversation replying they’re “not comfortable” to have such conversation happening. Personally, I do not believe when hard things have been to be discussed like the security of end-users funds or long-term sustainability of the project culture, feelings of discomfort, even coming from maintainers, are not legitimate criteria on which to lay a decision. This is breaking the peer-to-peer nature of bitcoin open-source.
I’ll advise for the time being the Bitcoin community to be very distrustful and doubtful about commitments and PR statements made by the spiral team, Steve Lee and Matt Corallo as from my appreciation they’re trying to cover up their ethical past misbehaving or do “virtue signaling” to cover their inner softness in term of personal values. I understand the spiral team is under strain from the rest of the block inc commercial units to move fast on LDK engineering and add more features to yield back value on the $$$ which have been burnt in Spiral salaries since 2019, though this doesn’t justify their behaviors.
And here I’m very sad about Matt Corallo’s attitude, who despite being hold as bitcoin dev legend and vetted with high-quality hacking skills has a decade long-reputation of “jumping” from an employer or set of colleagues to another one as soon as the tide is turning on (mike hearn, gavin andresen, blockstream, chaincode, spiral) without respect of personal loyalties or committed words and have not achieved a professional status of independence where he can hold opinions of his owns on delicate human affairs. I hope newer current and newer generations of bitcoin devs won’t follow his career example in term of personal values. From my history of inter-personal relations with Matt Corallo, it’s hard to trust him because of his employee-like mentality and corresponding incentives.
All this story, at the very last in my opinion, casts a doubt for other economic stakeholders (VC-funded lightning startups or traditional financial players) which are interested to throw more financial resources in the LDK project for the sake of their own commercial ventures. Accountability and clear rules matter when you’re making years-long investment decisions. Neither for self-motivated and talented hackers who are just willing to learn lightning fundamentals on an interesting codebase.
I know it’s hard for a lot of bitcoin open-source developers and people in the community to speak up about spiral as someone as always either a $100k grant to ask them or professional advantages of any kind and people might chill their minds to protect their own business. That said, I’m less corporate or “silicon-valley” and I prefer to stick to an open and “no-bullshit" internet culture inspired by the centuries-old US and European of civic discourse traditions.
Overall, I don’t have anger about the spiral people. They’re competent according to world class standards in the tech field, I’m just very sad and disappointed about their poor behaviors in the realm of human affairs. I stay committed to build better human standards with them in this space the day we can find a common line of understanding. Feel free to ask them their versions of the story on their social media handles.
While I’m very busy on other technical things, I’ll stay available during the coming weeks or months to answer questions of the community on cancel culture in bitcoin, the wider bitcoin FOSS culture, the state of LDK and why the respect of human values matters on this thread. I’ll respect people private life and related confidential informations, I know where is the boundary.
This changes nothing in term of my other commitments towards other bitcoin open-source projects, especially bitcoin core. While I announced my intent to cut with the LDK project due to other pure and technical serious reasons independent of LDK itself, I still have a good chunk of sensitive security information to share back with the appropriate LDK contributors and I’ll take time to so during the coming year of 2024.
Disclosure: Based on past published information, I believe Steve Lee is an investor in though I trust the editors community to be mindful about the potential conflict of interests in term of neutral moderation, while applying the usual norms of civility.
(For the context see the #general chan on LDK Discord, apologies I have no time no figure out how to cleanly insert links with markdown).
Cheers, Antoine
I'd encourage everyone reading this to look at the conduct and manner at which Antoine has presented himself over the last year and to weigh it into his current accusations against LDK and LDK members. There's a lot that is already public if you know where to look. To me, this is more a reflection on his spontaneous actions and demands than anything about the LDK team. I have seen him voluntarily remove himself multiple times from the various LDK contributors/security lists (and even lightning itself) throughout the year. This is not stable behavior.
I had respect, but this is over the top and it's burning remaining bridges for absolutely no gain but to cause even more drama. Nobody has time nor wants to deal with this. I have seen nothing but patient and considerate behavior from the LDK team throughout the year.
I didn't want to mention anything but LDK is the last group that should be called out for improper behavior here. I may not know everything, but I've seen nearly every public mailing list email, discord message, and LDK issue opened or commented on, and this is my opinion based on those. People should be aware of that and consider more than just this side of the story.
As a side-note: I did curl -L and OTS’ed the SHA256 of the post at publication to make the editors accountable and transparent towards the community in their moderation policy if any.
Here the cat of the OTS proof: OpenTimestampsProof ':dKvEdeg\8w$"%B|_s&ZHX͜e:f y4۠ .?.Xus N ..-https://alice.btc.calendar.opentimestamps.orgs3Ee?.%D7%872%7B ,+https://bob.btc.calendar.opentimestamps.orgAR ./-n[q k0j(wx >Kbj)ҫBBe?.ҁ|H )(
We don't have a moderation policy. We don't have moderators. We don't edit posts. We use a web of trust algorithm to distribute power and people zap and downzap things and they get ranked. Currently, ~20 stackers have as much power as anyone else on the site over consensus ranking in this respect and that number continues to grow. Everyone also has their own PoV so even if consensus doesn't like something, it doesn't mean no one will see it.
The worst thing that happens to posts here is that they get downzapped into an 'outlaw' state, which is still viewable by accounts with 'Wild West Mode' turned on in their settings (and are always viewable via direct link).
Also, we create open timestamps for you: #298135/ots
Thanks for the clarification.
Kudos for already generating open timestamps as part of the publication process.
Here a great ressource on micro-payment and reputation for peer-to-peer / distributed system, a lot of food for thoughts:
Excellent resource! I hadn't seen that before. Thanks!
@k00b has basically create entire protocol around Stacker News. It's not just a platform anymore.
This is probably the best compliment SN has ever received. Thank you!
~20 stackers have as much power as anyone else on the site
Just to clarify, this is the number of people with maximal power (ie the same as me). There's a long tapering tail of power comprised of >1000 stackers which is ever longer and fatter.
Yes those ones are good examples. I know it’s bearing for a LDK user to deal with dramas between open-source devs and contributors, though note at the end of the days the people are partaking in the decision process affecting your stack of satoshis.
There is really a lack of maturity of the bitcoin development stage w.r.t conflicts of interests, ethics and formalized conflicts of resolution. No one is specifically to blame for the state of things, though not the first time there are cases of blatant cancel in the community.
communicating over text or email is always hard because it can be interpreted in way not intended.
yet it reads like you do want to resolve this with them.
hope you can. I like your point about needing to be a strong or aligned project for the time when strong adversaries come.
this. for open-source projects dealing directly with people’s money being strong and have a community of devs and contributors aligned is a must, not a nice to have. we’re living in a post-CSW era.
I appreciate the work you and Spiral have done advancing bitcoin and lightning.
I still appreciate the work of Spiral has done to advance bitcoin and lightning. Though as pointed in the comments just above, current project culture will harm both contributors and interests of the end-users in the future.
Any specific examples? Kind of hard to understand what's happened here.
I think the PR adding a code of conduct is a good example where a serious divide among the LDK community in term of project philosophy has shown up in public:
Can you do a breakdown of the objectionable sections? It's a TON for an outsider to get a handle on.
Conflict resolution is quite established in the field of human endeavors since few centuries, with the idea of the rule of law (clear, transparent and a priori rules, impartial and independent judges, separation of concerns between issues at stake).
My critics to the LDK code of conduct (among others, I have far more).
Code of conduct team is in a situation of conflict of interest when the dispute is between spiral (their employers or funders) and myself.
Rules not to infringe, dispute adjudication process and sanctions are not clearly defined in the document, and left at the arbitrary of the code of conduct team.
Lack of contradictory process where someone accused of wrongdoing can produce an answer or dismiss as moot the accusation.
Lack of separation of concerns between end-users interest funds security and interests of the complainant, there should safe-guard measures to avoid abuses.
All those issues are creating a huge uncertainty in the contribution process of LDK as an open-source project and therefore weakens the survival of the project on the long-term.
My God!
hey man sounds harsh. sorry to read all that. hope you have good support around you and hope you can work it out with them. thank you for all your contributions to all the bitcoin open source projects take care ✌
No worries, best support is year of self-reliance forged by daily philosophical lecture and meditations. A great read for those days are the emerson essays:
Only real sadness is the opened distraction rather than working on meaningful technical things for bitcoin. When I was a young dev I used to shrug about “culture” though now after seeing how it does interfere with code quality and end-user security, I'm taking it more and more seriously.
nice , thanks for link will have to investigate. meditation is always helpful indeed. thanks
Sad to hear. 🫤
What is the point of even posting this?
Aware the community there is an open conflict in the LDK open-source project and than if you’re considering it to contribute as a hacker or use it for your commercial ventures you should reconsider your decision at it might not be sustainable.
I know that “human drama” have bad press in the Bitcoin ecosystem, though conflict are not bad things per se, as they can be source of newer norms and social rules, or even technical inventions. If you look on the centuries of history, ignoring a conflict by doing the ostrich politic has never been successful (unless for few geographical isolated countries). By raising the conflict in public, I hope to make the issues at stake more understood by the community, and therefore enable their resolution.
Hope I’m answering your question.
Thanks for sharing.
I think human drama is looked at poorly in any ecosystem, not just Bitcoin.
I know several other LDK contributors and none of them seem as concerned as you are about the project's longevity. Maybe they're wrong, idk.
Thanks for your note.
I don’t think we should necessarily look as human drama as a negative thing - This is a fact of life and from conflicts can emerge better norms and ideas on the long-term.
Humbly, what we should look on is a better process to have pacific and respectful expression of divergent opinions, where conflicts can be solved on the ground of principles. That build stronger culture in the long-term.
Be aware of group-thinking among other LDK contributors, they more or less share all the same cultures and professional experiences. Time will tell about the project’s longevity.