Bitcoin engineer Jameson Lopp SWATted by angry crypto fans

An engineer for BitGo, Jameson Lopp, faced down a horde of police officers with rifles at his home in Durham, North Carolina after someone sent an anonymous tip regarding a hostage situation at his home. The engineer has been vocal on Twitter about upcoming changes in the protocol.

“They shut down most of my neighborhood,” he said. “There were dozens of patrol units, a SWAT team, mobile command post, a fire truck, and paramedics,” he said. “It was a huge waste of public resources.”

Lopp has been vocal in the hard fork debate and has worked at BitGo for almost three years and a Bitcoin enthusiast for five years. The 911 caller who forced the police to act told a dispatcher that he was holding is family hostage and gave Lopp’s address.

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Swatting is when you call in fake tip that something bad is happening at someone's house or business to the  police.  The police then send in a SWAT team and tear up the person's or business's place of residence.  It got popular for gamers to do it to other gamers for revenge or the get an advantage during a competition.   Later anarchists and other groups started to anyone they don't agree with.

Jameson Lopp is a programmer that is working on an upgrade to the BitCoin system.  There an issue with way BitCoins transfer from person to person.  The math and network request to be 100% sure Person B should get BitCoins from Person A is extremely intense.  BitCoin has become so popular that the entire system is starting to get crushed under it's own weight.

Lopp and other developers are working on a more modern system for transferring and mining (finding) BitCoins.  But some group say some combination of: 

  • You are making it easier for people make counterfeit bitcurrency
  • You're taking away anonymity for speed
  • You're starting to centralize the power which goes against the idea of block chain communication

When you deal with anything that could worth thousands or trillion of dollar you will get radicals.  Block chain currencies are literally one mistake away from becoming worthless.