Folks in the Bitcoin/blockchain world can be fairly opinionated -- that's no surprise. But just because you have an interview go sideways, it doesn't mean you get to threaten a lawsuit over it. That's not how it works. Perianne Boring founded and runs a lobbying organization focused on Bitcoin/blockchain issues called the Chamber of Digital Commerce. I have to admit to not being that familiar with the organization (I'm more familiar with another organization called Coin Center). However, late last week, Boring appeared on a podcast called Bitcoin Uncensored
. To say the interview did not go well... would be an understatement.
Again, there are lots of different opinions around Bitcoin and blockchains, and the hosts of the show are pretty clearly skeptical of both Boring's position and
knowledge on the issues -- and they don't hide their skepticism at all. The interview is basically a long attempt to pick apart Boring's knowledge of Bitcoin/blockchain and the regulatory issues related to it. It doesn't really get very confrontational in terms of yelling. They just keep asking questions that lead to more buzzwordy answers than substance, and then ask followups that highlight that. It does come across as a bit of badgering by the hosts who are playing a game of gotcha. But, still...
Not surprisingly, the interview doesn't go over well. They close it out by highlighting that she doesn't appear to understand a number of issues related to Bitcoin/blockchains, and they worry about what happens when people think she represents the technology and the regulatory questions. They point out that there are tons of scams in the space, and they worry that when someone represents the space and can't understand what's a scam and what's legit, it can lead to very bad results overall.
Fine. That kind of thing happens. People give bad interviews with people who are deliberately trying to make them look foolish. It doesn't necessarily mean they really are foolish, just that they got caught in such an interview. What happens next
is where things go weird. Boring apparently emailed one of the hosts of the show, Chris DeRose, to demand he take down the episode. Like so many people who are angry about content online, she trots out all the ridiculous reasons why:
If you can't read that, it says:
Incredibly disappointed by what happened today. Please delete the episode (link referenced below) immediately -- you are not authorized to publish this content. A cease and desist letter is forthcoming, and charges of harassment and slander will follow if you do not comply.
Yeah, so that's not how any of this works. She clearly agreed to go on the program, so there's no "authorization" needed to publish the interview. Publishing her own interview is also neither harassment nor slander. She does get credit for being correct that "slander" is the word for defamatory speech (whereas it's libel if it's written), but having listened to the entire interview, I don't hear anything that comes even remotely close to slander. They do mock her, and are perhaps a little harsh, but it's not slander. And, of course, threatening them only makes this worse. I never would have heard about any of this if she hadn't sent such a bogus threat email, and now it's getting more attention
because of it. There's a term for that somewhere...
I actually think it's good that there are people working to educate politicians on Bitcoin and blockchain technologies. I'm not nearly as skeptical as the guys who run the podcast are of the technology, though I agree that there are lots of questions about where it will go and if it will ultimately be as useful as some expect. I also recognize that sometimes interviews can go weird and not come out the way people expect. But to react by demanding it be taken down and waving around bogus legal threats doesn't seem particularly productive, and only seems likely to call into greater question Boring's other claims.