News - FBI investigates meeting Bitcoin developers

By Luc Vesters

FBI investigates meeting Bitcoin developers

Bitcoin (BTC)
Laws and regulations

Mike Schmidt, director at Bitcoin developer Brink, revealed in a post that the FBI has sent him a subpoena demanding information about CoreDev Atlanta 2022 participants.

"I was legally advised to cooperate," it continued. The FBI also required Schmidt to remain silent about the investigation for a year. The deadline expired yesterday, April 10.

According to the report, Schmidt had sent the names, GitHub usernames and e-mail addresses of participating Bitcoin Core developers to the FBI. He then apologized for the privacy violation.

The trigger for the FBI's investigation was the theft of core developer Luke Dashjir's BTC holdings. He requested the help of U.S. authorities to solve the case.

The FBI's investigation highlights the legal risks Bitcoin Core developers face. The best example: former Core developer Jonas Schnelli. When he resigned in 2021, the Bitbox co-founder cited the increasing lack of anonymity as one of the reasons. Earlier, a report by ARD portrayed him as a "serious criminal."

"Legal risks for Bitcoin developers are increasing from year to year (which can be stressful)," the farewell message reads.

Bitcoin founder Satoshi Nakamoto also distanced himself from his creation due to concerns about anonymity. The reason is the growing media hype and speculation surrounding the founder's identity.

The contribution of core developers to the blockchain is undoubtedly important. However, due to its decentralized nature, the BTC network functions even without them.

This means that any developer can suggest changes to the open source code. However, the deciding factor is always how many of the Bitcoin nodes adopt changes to the code.

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