BSV Blacklist Manager Presents “Horrific Backdoor” for Blockchains

Reading Time: 3 minutes
  • The new Blacklist Manager tool created by BSV is a “horrific backdoor” according to one blockchain expert
  • Bob Summerwill, Executive Director at Ethereum Classic Cooperative, says that the tool has one initial purpose – to enrich Craig Wright
  • The tool, which can freeze and reassign coins on a blockchain, could be a threat to all blockchains

The new BSV Blacklist Manager, which allows miners to freeze and reassign coins on its blockchain, represents a “horrific backdoor”, according to one observer. Bob Summerwill, Executive Director at Ethereum Classic Cooperative, has warned that the creation of a tool that can impact a ledger at such an integral level “puts all blockchain projects and their developers at legal risk”, not just those running BSV. He also says that the tool was primarily designed to allow Craig Wright to steal 80,000+ BSV he says are his.

Craig Wright ‘Hack’ Led to Tool Creation

BSV first made its intentions known regarding a notary tool to tamper with the blockchain back in 2019, in the wake of its ideological leader Craig Wright saying that he was about to prove that coins could be moved with a court order proving ownership. Sure enough, just a few months later, Wright was ‘hacked’ and more than a billion dollars in BTC and BSV stolen from him, with many pointing out that the wallets concerned actually belonged to the Silk Road hackers.

Wright used this alleged hack to try and get the UK High Court to rule that blockchain developers were responsible for the coins on the chains they operated, essentially trying to force them to move coins that someone could prove with a court order belonged to them. Wright lost, pending appeal, but the Bitcoin Association, which confusingly advocates for BSV, settled out of court (despite winning), and created the Blacklist Manager, which launched last week.

Wright’s loss meant he didn’t get his court order, so the Bitcoin Association changed their requirements to a document “comparable in force to a court order”, which is just vague enough for Wright to get what he wants without creating a free for all.

Blacklist Manager is Close To “On-chain Censorship”

Summerwill notes in a blog post that the tool is “the closest that we have seen to on-chain censorship”, with the BSV nodes all expected to fall into line and observe any such claims because they are mining nodes and not full nodes, and as such they “must move in lockstep to avoid orphaning”, which is where blocks are not accepted by networks.

Summerwill argues that the tool doesn’t just impact BSV, because successful implementation may be used by Wright in his appeal hearing to show that “BTC and BCH developers are willfully obstructing legal due process and “law and order” if they do not do the same.” This could, theoretically, lead to them being forced to implement a similar tool, but as the judge noted in dismissing Wright’s case in March this year, there was little chance that a system as decentralised as Bitcoin could force its miners to follow any protocol, regardless of legal right.

Legal Compliance is Masquerade

Summerwill signed off by saying that BSV’s claims that its tool had been designed to make it a legally compliant network were a masquerade, and its core function was so that Wright could get back the 80,000+ BSV coins in his blockchain’s version of the hack wallets, with a view to obtaining the equivalent to the Satoshi wallets as well down the line.

Such actions, say Summerwill, already prove that the tool is nothing but a sham and that, “These blockchain backdoors can and will be abused and are ultimately not in the public interest.”