Often controversial and outspoken, lately bitcoin core developer Peter Todd has landed in hot water on Reddit, with posts and comments he made in regards to a doublespend attack that he carried out against the bitcoin exchange and wallet provider Coinbase. After making the post, Todd appeared to have been temporarily banned from the discussion board.
Initially , Todd posted to say that he had used a doublespend.py tool on default settings to doublespend with a low fee transaction followed by a high-fee double spend. Todd ended up gaining $10 from Coinbase, which he offered to pay back. Claiming that he was highlighting the danger of zero-confirmation payments, Todd claimed that he had been trying to point out the weaknesses in the system for some time with no luck and so had decided to publicise the problem.
Unfortunately for Todd, the detail that he posted seemed to have led to his suspension as it violated the content policy that prohibits illegal content being posted, as the actions Todd took were essentially fraud, and the money was used to buy Reddit gold. Even if they were done to highlight weaknesses that Todd wanted addressed, he still broke the rules.
Rumours were rife of permanent suspension and theories on potential actions Todd may have additionally taken. However, the suspension seems to already have been revoked. On Twitter, Jeremy Gardner (who was the recipient of the Reddit gold) backed up Todd, claiming it had been carried out at his house after conversation about the flaws in the industry security. Gardner asserted that it wasn’t a malicious attack but merely proving a point. Todd also took to Twitter to apologise for his lack of foresight in the matter, which resulted in Reddit admins having to deal with a ‘flood of abuse reports’ about his account.
Coinbase defended its zero-conformation payments, saying that they wish to eliminate confirmation waiting times for customers to improve their experience and condemned Todd’s actions. It is not yet certain whether the incident will result in Coinbase changing its system or not.