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What happened with /r/btc?

Reddit is one of the most popular discussion platforms in the world. Early in Bitcoin's history, the Reddit section for Bitcoin, called /r/Bitcoin, was a major hub for discussion. However, during the Blocksize War that lead to the Bitcoin/Bitcoin Cash split, the "small block" side (who became BTC) began banning any discussion of the "big block" side (who became BCH). Censorship of this kind was completely anathema to a community trying to build censorship resistant, authority free money. Community outcry reached such a point, that the head moderator Theymos took the unprecedented step of declaring that if 90% of users were unhappy, they should all leave instead of receiving an overwhelmingly demanded change in moderation policy or moderators. Original source.

Theymos censorship quote

For more detail, see here.

At the time, there was only one Bitcoin (BTC), and so many "big block" supporters moved to /r/btc to continue discussing their ideas about Bitcoin. The culmination of this community division lead to the original Bitcoin splitting into Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) under very extreme circumstances. In hindsight, this has led to the confusing situation of /r/btc supporting the coin with the ticker BCH rather than BTC.

Many new users are confused when they find the situation:

  • /r/Bitcoin: Occupied only by BTC supporters. BCH supporters very quickly have their comments deleted and are then banned from participating. Questioning this situation also leads to being banned from /r/Bitcoin, adding to the confusion.
  • /r/btc: Occupied mostly by BCH supporters, as they descend from the "big block" side of the Blocksize War and are banned from participating at /r/Bitcoin. Unlike /r/Bitcoin it does not ban competing opinions though, or asking about what happened, so it shoulders the majority burden of explaining to confused users.

Note the key difference, that /r/Bitcoin has an enforced bias to BTC, while /r/btc has a naturally occurring bias to BCH, which anyone can participate in and dispute. In the free market of ideas, BCH becomes a popular choice - and the same already happened (and would happen again) in /r/Bitcoin if the moderators ever permitted open discussion.

Some BTC supporters claim this situation is dishonest on the part of the /r/btc community, having so many BCH supporters in the subreddit with BTC's ticker. However this is either misunderstanding the history or deliberately and unfairly overlooking the prior and ongoing censorship of very passionate "big block" advocates that cannot particpate in /r/Bitcoin as they had before the Blocksize War. BTC supporters are welcome to debate in /r/btc, and often do, but quickly become salty when their claims are debunked or they do not receive favourable community sentiment. The inverse is not true, as BCH supporters cannot post on /r/Bitcoin at all.

It is somewhat a rite of passage for /r/btc users to be banned from /r/Bitcoin as it happens so frequently, and generally the censorship of /r/Bitcoin is a joke/grievance among the community.

Many new participants in /r/btc, with the best of intentions, will suggest the community migrate to a sub such as /r/Bitcoincash or /r/bch to avoid this confusion. However the /r/btc community will not entertain this idea, for the following reasons:

  • Network effect: Moving everyone from one sub to another is hard to co-ordinate.
  • Pride: /r/btc users want to retain their protest against the Blocksize War and will not concede to the unfair censorship they were subjected to under any circumstances.
  • Education: Confused new users proactively ask the questions that help them become educated on the history of the sub.
  • Signalling: Long time Bitcoiners who return to the BCH community and find /r/btc intact will be quickly convinced the community is still healthy and resilient as it was when they left it.

This is many of the same reasons that BCH will not rebrand.