So yesterday I broke news that Chia Network was going after XCHScan on behalf of Chia Explorer, with the claim that the latter is their “official chia explorer”. So I had a conversation with Freddie from Chia Explorer to get his thoughts on the situation.
First of all, he had nothing to do with any of this. He is a competent programmer running a blockchain explorer he built and not really doing too much more. I am not aware of him running an aggressive business in any sense, let alone siccing Chia Network on folks. This whole situation does not change my opinion of him or Chia Explorer one bit, nor should it change yours.
Honestly, its not even that interesting talking to him about this issue because he is so disconnected from it. He wanted to clarify he isn’t the official blockchain explorer, and in fact his agreement with Chia Network explicitly states he is not to refer to himself that way – so he doesn’t. And he never has. So that whole situation was as confusing to him as it was us.
No, what is interesting to talk to Freddie about is what running Chia Explorer is like. It’s a pretty thankless job that he has put a LOT of work and money into. It consumes a ton of resources, makes a small bit of revenue and is constantly being ripped off. And he is accusing XCHScan of some of that as well, mostly some minor text and he says some has been fixed. I can’t verify those claims, but its clear to me that there are no friends in the blockchain explorer world. Even more stunning is that there have been actual competitors just querying his API for their sites and just running a front end. He says there might still be and he is curious to see how many explorers break when his next major API change goes live.
He also showed me a few blockchain explorers I wasn’t aware of, and oh man there is one is that Chia probably should go after. If you were in the camp that XCHScan is infringing go take a look at chia.tt. Yes, you read that correctly, basically the Chia Network domain except for .tt instead of .net. Also egregious usage of their logo. This is what trademark infringement looks like for those that are confused. Using a company’s name on your website is not trademark infringement, using their name AS your name is.
Look, I don’t think Chia Network can control all usage of the name of their company as they seem to think. But they can stop anyone but a pure commentary on them from using a slight variation of their actual domain, and just plain co-opting their logo. The site seems designed to look official, and even claims to have a license at the bottom – although Freddie very generously does not attribute malice to that action, just sloppy copy/pasting from his site. It looks just like sloppy work to me too.
He also showed me roughly how busy his API is. And I have to say, for a labour of love he’s putting out quite a lot of API responses. Wow. A lot of people are querying his explorer, and I think we should all take a moment to thank him for the service he’s providing. Whether you agree with Chia Network or XCHScan on the particulars of the dispute there (I think my bias is fairly obvious) I think we can all come together and acknowledge that Freddie is an innocent bystander in a drive-by here and didn’t do anything to deserve getting dragged into this.
Who am I kidding, this is the internet. Of course we can’t all come together, on this or on anything.