A recent dispute has erupted within the Bitcoin community, highlighting the intricacies between various network participants that collaborate to power cryptocurrency functionality. Bitcoin-focused wallet provider Samourai Wallet leveled accusations against Ocean, a prominent mining pool, over perceived censorship of specific Bitcoin transactions.
- Bitcoin wallet provider Samourai Wallet accused mining pool Ocean of censoring certain transactions
- Specifically, Samourai claims Ocean limited the OP_RETURN function to 46 bytes instead of 80, blocking privacy-focused CoinJoin and other transactions
- Ocean founder Luke Dashjr denied an intentional censorship policy, stating it’s a bug in Samourai’s software that they should fix
- The crypto community is divided on the matter – some support Samourai while others say they should address their bug
- Samourai persists in accusing Ocean and Dashjr of deception around the transactions being blocked
On December 7th, Samourai Wallet claimed that Ocean enacted a new policy blocking certain transactions, specifically privacy-enhancing CoinJoin transactions and BIP47 notification transactions. The wallet provider suggested Ocean founder Luke Dashjr has history with transaction blacklists and censoring.
We can confirm that @ocean_mining has enacted a policy of censoring Whirlpool coinjoin transactions and BIP47 notification transactions as of Dec 6, 2023
— Samourai Wallet (@SamouraiWallet) December 7, 2023
The core technical disagreement involves the allowable size of the OP_RETURN function for embedding extra data into Bitcoin transactions. Samourai asserts that Ocean started limiting OP_RETURN to 46 bytes instead of the standard 80 bytes, which prevents the privacy-related transactions from processing. As a result, Samourai urged miners to redirect computing power away from Ocean in protest.
However, Dashjr fully denied that Ocean instituted an intentional censorship policy targeting transactions like CoinJoin that obscure links between addresses. Instead, he countered that the issue stems wholly from a bug in Samourai Wallet’s software. Dashjr claimed he examined the transactions but could not decipher their purpose or find technical specifics.
This is a bug in your software, not an intentional policy on our end. Why are you exceeding the standard 42 byte datacarrier size?
What is this data even for? I've looked at trying to workaround it, but can't find any technical details.
In any case, you should fix it on your…
— Luke Dashjr (@LukeDashjr) December 7, 2023
Reactions from the broader cryptocurrency community appear split on the matter. Some echo Samourai’s call for adherence to the 80-byte OP_RETURN standard as a point of principle. Others believe Ocean’s change was unintentional and that the wallet provider should address its bug.
A representative from another wallet provider, Nostr Wallet, asserted there is no overarching agenda to block privacy features. But Samourai remains adamant in its allegations, accusing Dashjr of deception and urging the community not to accept Ocean’s statements at face value.
While the truth remains disputed, the controversy highlights the complex ecosystem underpinning Bitcoin. Achieving a smooth user experience requires ongoing collaboration between developers, mining pools directing computational resources, and wallet interfaces for transacting. This interdependency also risks technical disagreements spiraling into distrust.
As the community processes the still-developing situation, it underscores the need for open communication and transparent troubleshooting. Maintaining Bitcoin’s functionality as permissionless money relies on entities working in tandem in good faith.