Nathaniel Popper writes in the New York Times that Mike Hearn "gave up" on Bitcoin in the wake of the decisive defeat of his proposed XTCoin fork. In the piece Popper paints the most charitable image of Hearn possible, the "guy who quit Google to devote his time to working on Bitcoin" (archived).
Only a passing mention of the post-Google salary Hearn drew from United States Government security agency linked venture capital firm Andreessen1 Horowitz was offered by Popper. The focus of Popper's piece was instead on the Blocksize distraction Hearn was involved in. Little was made by Popper of Hearn's previous Bitcoin software development. Let's go over a shorter but more comprehensive history of Mike's "contributions":
- BitcoinJ, a software library in Java created for and still featured in some Bitcoin SPV clients.
- Contributions to "Bitcoin" v0.82 where two changes pushed by Hearn were introduced:
- Blockchain handling database changed to LevelDB, leading to the Fork of March 2013.
- Bloom Filters, which lead to several means to remotely crash bitcoin nodes serving them, and presented a perennial annoyance to nodes not serving them until recently.
The Bitcoin v0.8 series clients required more point releases to handle the problems introduced by Hearn's new "features" than any other release produced by the Power Rangers since v0.3.21 introduced full precision decimal amounts. Clients descended from the v0.8 series will likely have to keep addressing bugs introduced by Hearn's changes for years.
- Numerous network changes introducing new commands for nodes in order to better serve SPV clients while greatly increasing the resources necessary to keep a Bitcoin node online. When these proposed changes were soundly rejected he made the first BitcoinXT patch set.
- He in concert with Gavin Andressen released an XT client for the Bitcoin network which under certain circumstances would fork off into an altcoin, opening the only chapter of Mike Hearn's Bitcoin involvement Popper cared to mention in anything resembling detail.
The entire corpus of Mike Hearn's body of work directed at Bitcoin aimed to transform Bitcoin from itself into something else readily centralized and controlled by the extant fiat order. Mike Hearn's work was dominated by measures which ever so slightly increase the ease3 of using SPV clients at substantial expense to the operators of the Bitcoin full nodes making the network possible. He even openly advocated a future for Bitcoin where nodes had to exist on Google's scale and in a number that could be counted with the fingers of one hand.
Mike Hearn was not the first and will definitely not be the last agent of sabotage directed towards Bitcoin projects. In Mike's place other agents continue the work he started, with their every new attempt against Bitcoin more desperate than their last.