Mastering Bitcoin Book Author Andreas Antonopoulos: Why is Bitly Service Blocking Crypto Sites?

The power of knowledge and undeniable but what constitutes knowledge is certainly up for debate. Today more than ever citations and notations are more important, be it to further expand on a point or to combat “fake news”. Thus a simple thing like a web-link shortening service, as offered by Bitly is surprisingly handy. That is unless you are Andreas M. Antonopoulos.

For those who might not be familiar, Andreas is a well-known author and early adopter of the blockchain. He has 3 books credited to him with a forth on its way. “The Internet of Money”, was a best seller and his most recent foray, “Mastering Bitcoin” got a huge response. In fact, it even managed to make its way into China’s notoriously strict media programming.

The author and a self-proclaimed “computer geek” was thus rather understandably slightly miffed with Bitly, when a twitter follower, Wagner Santana, noted “@aantonop why is complaining on your book shortened links? They don't point to any harmful location at all!”

Rather bizarrely, it appears that Bitly has decided to blacklist cryptocurrency sites from its service. Instead of fetching the site page, the reader is shown a warning and subsequently redirected to the original website.

Andreas is planning to launch his fourth book,” Mastering Ethereum” shortly. The book has many crypto-related links that he has used Bitly to shorten, and thus might be blocked. When this was pointed out to him he asked the company for an explanation immediately, threatening to take action.

With no immediate response, the celebrated author went on to ask the crypto community for a solution. He twitted asking for suggestions for a reliable, neutral, established link-shortening service that doesn’t filter links based on “a broken blacklisting service”. In response, he was suggested to avoid shortening links altogether or use an archive system at the end.

As an early bitcoin investor, Andreas shot to fame when he famously sold his holdings to pay rent and soon became a millionaire in the process. As such a tour de force in the community, one would have thought that Bitly would be more careful so as to not alienate him, and thus risk the ire and large-scale desertion from other blockchain-content publishers. To complicate matters Bitly is yet to announce its official position on crypto-related links. When emails seeking clarifications were sent they were greeted with silence.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a tread with most in the tech industry. Some will recall how, earlier in the year, behemoths such as Facebook and Google had blocked all crypto-related ads. The world wide web and, more importantly, investors decried the move. They noted that this move seemed strange in light of how advertisements to things like gambling sites were not being held to the same standard. Since most tech revenue models are substantially dependent on this key component, the bans were subsequently reversed. It will be interesting to see if Bitly follows suit or if alternates will need to be found.

A Bitly representitive reached out to us to help try and explain what happened on their site:

“Recently, we became aware that one of author Andreas M. Antonopoulos' links had been inadvertently blocked. On occasion, as in this case, our security systems generate false positives. Bitly does not categorically block cryptocurrency sites. Once we were alerted to the issue we unblocked the domain.”

As it seems, this was an automation problem, not a problem with Author Andreas Antonopoulos or his book, “Mastering Bitcoin.”

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