Lightning Network: Cool Enough for Twitter Jack and Fidelity But Not Iran

On Feb. 22, bitcoiners rejoiced when the financial banking giant Fidelity was handed the ‘Lightning torch’ as the Lightning Network’s social experiment was passed on to its latest bearer. Then, two days later, the new Lightning torch holder made the decision to exclude passing it on to a cryptocurrency executive from Iran because of U.S. sanctions. After a few words were exchanged between the torch holder and onlooking cryptocurrency supporters, an argument erupted over the debacle. The exclusion showed that a good portion of the community believes it is wrong to censor individuals over arbitrary laws and invisible borders.

Also read: Bitcoin Whales Have Accumulated Thousands of Coins in the Last 2 Months

Iranian Bitcoin User Excluded from Receiving the Lightning Torch

Over the last few weeks, Lightning Network (LN) supporters have been passing a small fraction of bitcoin back and forth to each other using the ‘Lightning Torch,’ a social experiment that has generated a lot of attention. LN fans were pleased when crypto luminaries like Changpeng Zhao and Erik Voorhees participated, but supporters grew even more ecstatic when the CEO of Twitter and Fidelity Bank held the torch.

Lightning Network: Cool Enough for Twitter Jack and Fidelity But Not Iran
Lightning Network fans thought it was “brave” to send the LN torch to Fidelity Bank, but sending it to an individual in Iran was a different story.

However, on Sunday, Feb. 24, the torch holder at the time, Peach Inc. developer Vijay Boyapati, decided to exclude Coinex executive Ziya Sadr from Iran because of financial sanctions.

“I really wanted to send it to Ziya Sadr but US law makes it very risky for me as a citizen — Very sad that two peaceful people cannot transact with each other across the world because of the state,” Boyapati stated after being asked to send the LN transaction relay to Sadr.

Lightning Network: Cool Enough for Twitter Jack and Fidelity But Not Iran

Immediately after Boyapati’s tweet, the community started arguing about why a small fraction of BTC dust could not be sent to a user in Iran. The Lightning torch creator Hodlonaut explained it was “very sad,” while others lamented Boyapati’s decision to exclude the user. One disgusted cryptocurrency fan wrote: “‘Bitcoin is censorship resistant!’ — Everyone while they avoid sending the lightning torch to Iran.”

In response to the sarcastic tweet, Bitcoin maximalist Giacomo Zucco asked who the “specific moron” was and said “It would be only fair to shame him forever in the annotated version of the Torch chronicles.” Following Zucco’s statement and a few more opinions from other observers, Sadr responded to Zucco.

“I won’t call Vijay a moron but he declared he can’t send it to me because of that,” Sadr explained.

Lightning Network: Cool Enough for Twitter Jack and Fidelity But Not Iran

Ziya Sadr: ‘Hey Adam Back — Do I Need to Put Invoices on a Shirt?’

During the debacle on Twitter, Boyapati decided to instead send the Lightning torch to Blockstream founder Adam Back. Boyapati also defended his position and said the “wording of the law is clear” and said that Back was outside the U.S. so maybe he could send it to an Iranian. When the torch was given to Back, other community members also asked the veteran cryptographer to send the funds to Sadr in Iran. “Adam show them how it’s done — Bitcoin is borderless and does not care about laws,” one user wrote. Even Sadr asked Back to send him the torch after being explicitly denied by Peach developer Boyapati.

“Hey Adam Back — I was denied the LN Trust Chain because I live in Iran — Do I need to put invoices on a shirt?” Sadr asked the Blockstream founder.

There was no response from Back on Sadr’s Twitter thread and then on Feb. 26 the Blockstream executive decided to pass the Lightning torch to Blockstream’s lead investor Reid Hoffman. The heated debate over excluding a bitcoin and LN supporter because of laws and borders, especially after all the talk on how LN improves privacy, seemed pretty ironic to many onlookers. The torch has passed through roughly 37 countries and a wide variety of cryptocurrency users, luminaries, and even mainstream organizations, but has failed to show Bitcoin’s censorship-resistant properties. The LN torch passing also had a hiccup on Jan. 31, 2019, when a user decided to stop the show by seizing the torch because “it was possible.” “No one can stop me — This is bitcoin,” the torch holder exclaimed.

Lightning Network: Cool Enough for Twitter Jack and Fidelity But Not Iran

However, after it was seized, Lightning Network executive Elizabeth Stark didn’t seem too pleased and asked: “Are you really going to be *that* guy? — Seriously?” The user replied with a fairly poignant assessment of the LN social experiment on Twitter.

“I wanted to see the reactions — LN is a great tech but we should promote it for payments, not twitter circle-jerking,” the torch holder seethed. “I saw cultist that wanted me doxxed and killed for 0,025 and other making fun of my country, saying that that’s a year wage.”

What do you think about the torch being denied to a person residing in Iran? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, and Twitter.


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Tags in this story
Adam Back, Changpeng Zhao, Coinex, fidelity, Giacomo Zucco, Hodlnaut, Iran, Iranian, lightning network, ln, LN Torch, N-Featured, peach, Reid Hoffman, Sanctions, Trust Torch, Twitter Jack, Vijay Boyapati, ziya sadr
Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.

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