[dlc-dev] On a legal communication received March 14th 2023 on one of my Bitcoin dev endpoint

Antoine Riard antoine.riard at gmail.com
Tue Mar 21 08:24:58 CET 2023

Hi all,

Last Tuesday 14th March, I did receive a letter from the law firm so-called
Jackson Lewis saying they represent Chaincode Labs about the subject of
"improper communications". Being a long-time Bitcoin developer and knowing
well of Chaincode Labs, I've been and I'm still very confused about this
letter's authenticity.

The letter is available here under MIT license:

The sentences inside are quite unclear to me, especially not being an
English native. They say that I have to halt "all improper and
inappropriate communications with certain Chaincode employees". In the
past, I did find bugs and other issues in Bitcoin Core Github PRs of some
Chaincode folks, so I don't know if saying the code might be broken under
"inappropriate communications". They add "You agreed to do so" without
presenting old-school paperwork signatures or cryptographic ones or OTS
proofs of archived content, so it's a bit hard to know what to answer on.
Beyond that, they say I would have sent "unsolicited emails" to Chaincode
employees in February 2023. For sure, I've sent mails on the usual mailing
lists to which a lot of folks are contributing to. And some of those mails
were pointing to bitcoin technical shortcomings that might piss off people,
as always.

Then, they say my "conduct was improper '' without pointing to a precise
FOSS code of conduct. The thing is we don't have a code of conduct in
Bitcoin Core as there are a lot of legal uncertainties (from the recent
inquiry of Chaincode Labs itself iirc). The restraint on communications
tells nothing if it's scoping the confidential report of security flaws to
selected parties (among them potentially Chaincode folks), in order to
mitigate upcoming jeopardy of Bitcoin funds. Finally, the "any and all
legal actions" doesn't say if those actions can target open-source
communities and projects I might be involved with (like we're seeing Tari
Labs doing "legal actions" against LL and therefore impacting the wider
non-LL Taro community).

There are 2 more troubling issues. One, the title of the letter "Chaincode
Labs - Cease & Desist Letter to Antione Riard". I really received it like
this and checked the typo multiple times. I think my name is Antoine Riard,
I've to verify but I think so. So I don't know if the letter is legally
valid. Second, the lawyer issuing the letter sounds to be one specialist in
labor law, not really cryptocurrencies and FOSS software.

In the lack of sound legal advice on my side, I would say the default would
be to reach out to the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund, which from my
understanding sounds to have a mission to provide guidance to developers
receiving legal intimidations in the pursuit of their open-source
activities. The thing is the Bitcoin Legal Defense Fund is run by Chaincode
Labs among others, so I wouldn't know if I could ask them for advice on an
issue at first sight involving them. Sounds a weird catch 22.

By advance my apologies to Chaincode Labs if I'm sharing a forgery or
non-authenticated document assigned to their organization. I believe in the
cases involving Tulip Trading Lawsuit there has been doubt on the quality
of the document produced, so a fool sending forgeries to developers to
throw confusion among the community is not to exclude. In anycase, I
believe it's better to seek community feedback on what to do about this
letter (and as such ccing all the lists!).

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