Controversy Over Bitcoin Forum Funds Involves Greg Maxwell, Warren Togami, Theymos and Blockstream

Greg Maxwell is a target of a recent online Bitcoin community controversy that originates in an alleged connection between Theymos and a Blockstream employee.

Two of the Bitcoin community’s largest forums, including Reddit Bitcoin and Bitcointalk are operated by Theymos, who despite many criticisms, have maintained the success of both online communities.

A few years ago, Theymos decided to develop innovative forum software to continue the surging growth of Bitcointalk and Reddit Bitcoin. The software is called Epochtalk, and it is still being actively developed by Theymos and his contracted developers.

To Theymos’ credit, only about $50,000 worth of Bitcoin was donated for the development of the forum software and the remaining budget was covered by Theymos’ income from Bitcointalk.

Bitcoin Core developer Greg Maxwell defended the efforts of Theymos in developing this piece of software, considering his dedication in building a better infrastructure for the Bitcoin community.

Maxwell wrote:

“Thing is − the forum is theymos and has been exclusively run by him since time immemorial. Even at the end of 2010 it was pretty much just Theymos operating it. The forums fund come from its substantial advertising income. Theymos would be within his legal and moral right to just take the profits personally − but instead he has historically spent substantial amounts of the forum's income supporting the forum and the community.”

However, it was recently discovered by a user of an online Bitcoin community that the funds for the development of Epochtalk was traced back to a Blockstream employee by the name of Warren Togami, who is a Technical Project Manager of Blockstream hired on May 27th, 2015, according the company’s blogpost.

Warren Togami, Technical Project Manager

Theymos/Togami connection

Togami was hired by Theymos as a part of a development company called Slickage Studios, who received $100,000 per month from Theymos to focus on the development of Epochtalk.

In late 2015, Theymos stated, “ [I] announced a long time ago that the total cost of the project would be around $1 million. This wasn't paid in a single lump sum − it's paid monthly. If you think that $100,000 per month for 4 highly-skilled full-time developers is a completely ludicrous rate, then you don't know anything about this business. It would be fair to argue that it's a high rate, though I'm not even sure that this is true,” he wrote.

One of the four developers of this development team is Togami, who is also a Blockstream employee.

Here is the issue with the argument that is currently presented: Blockstream employees, like any other employees of other companies, have the right to work on their own projects after work hours. They’re not in any way discouraged from pursuing their own projects. In fact, most tech companies encourage this act as it increases the developer’s value.

If one of Theymos’ developers is working for Blockstream, that does not mean there exists a connection between Blockstream and Theymos.