February 17th 2021
By Nicole Grinstead – @nrdgrl007
Married to Bitcoin: To Have & To HODL?
I’m a single woman living in a conservative state in a country founded by Puritans. Yet, as I scroll through Tinder, it seems like every other profile contains the line “ethically non-monogamous.”
What in the world is going on? Could it be that the influx of urban-dwelling, liberal-voting millennials who are relocating to the countryside and sending housing values soaring are eroding the town’s wholesome family values? Or is the practice of monogamy growing universally monotonous?
We see a similar mindset from those who adorn their lives exclusively with Bitcoin. So what’s behind this perspective and how is it shaping the world of Bitcoin maximalists?
What is Bitcoin? And Why Does It Matter?
While some see bitcoin as a road to financial freedom or an investment in sound money, others take it much further in wanting to marry the coin and forsake all others. But isn’t bitcoin a software that does not demand exclusivity?
Conversations with Adam Back
Unfortunately, since I’m a known “shitcoiner,” maximalists generally won’t interact with me in public. So I had to get creative. I remembered a conversation I once had with Adam Back
This conversation was held with Adam Back, CEO and co-founder of Blockstream. The only person mentioned by name in bitcoin’s whitepaper, he is a bitcoin maximalist.
So to sum up what Adam said:
(1) Crypto is not all that divided, which I would argue is inherently false. Speaking with industry professionals over the last four years, I can tell you that the general consensus – even among many maximalists – is that the division in cryptocurrency has caused damage both within the cryptosphere and in the general public’s perception of the crypto community. I’d venture that Adam failing to acknowledge that problem (as the leader of crypto’s most sizable cult) is part of it.
(2) The problem with alts is that there are too many of them. Each claims to innovate, but a vast majority do/will not. There are too many whitepapers to read and not enough time in the day. This statistically justifies the denunciation of alt-coins altogether. Soooooo lack of time and low probability that a new product will be innovative is reason to dismiss it?
Interesting. I wonder what the odds of bitcoin’s success were in 2009.
(3) Bitcoin maximalists do the thankless job of protecting newcomers from being bamboozled into purchasing pre-mined coins/tokens and other such scams…
The same people who he just excused from doing research for lack of time and abundance of consumables is collectively responsible for informing people about what they do with their own money? That seems like a recipe for disaster.
(4) While Bitcoiners are jaded after years of being dismissed or called “toxic,” at least “they are nice about” educating others who have differing views…
Let’s get one thing very clear, in general, bitcoin maximalists are not “nice.” If Adam believes that his community is “nice” – even to each other – he should spend an evening in The Orange Pill podcast telegram group to observe the pit of vipers in action.
Let’s play follow the leader…
Sociologically speaking, many think of Bitcoiners as anti-establishment, free-thinking liberty enthusiasts who opted into bitcoin as a rebellion against the dollar’s uncapped inflation and as a mechanism to defund the war machine. As such, Bitcoiners often tout their lack of centralized coordination as evidence for their movement’s “censorship-resistance.” i.e.
No one speaks for bitcoin, so the community (of bitcoin maximalists) is not incentivized on the basis of what anyone else says. But as we know from the video inlaid above, a movement’s early followers do model the behavior that its later participants emulate
Stated another way, sociologists explain:
“Herding is a form of convergent social behaviour that can be broadly defined as the alignment of the thoughts or behaviours of individuals in a group (herd) through local interaction and without centralized coordination. We suggest that herding has a broad application, from intellectual fashion to mob violence.”
Interestingly, a lack of centralized coordination seems to lend itself to the creation of herd behavior, not the opposite. So I thought again about my conversation with Adam Back and found another thread…..
Are bitcoin maxis virtue signaling?
What I mean is: are some of the people who claim to support “bitcoin and only bitcoin” secretly holding or trading alts? My friend, Rick Stoner – respected btc maximalist and regular contributor to Max Keiser and Stacy Herbert’s podcast – seems to think so, and bitcoin’s falling market dominance (currently around 61%, which is down over 10% from earlier this year) may be evidence that Rick is right. Furthermore, when pressed on the issue, Adam admitted:
“most people are profit maximalists”
I know I am……
Obviously the topic of bitcoin maximalism (or maximalism in general) requires a great deal of dissection, and for today, I’m nearly out of words (seriously though, my editor is probably annoyed). Numerous factors and perspectives need to be considered before we can even begin to understand this complex subject matter.
Although I disagree with his positions, I’m grateful to Adam Back for his time and thoughtfulness responding to me. I respect him and his authority as a thought leader (for real tho Adam, we need to talk again)
Is Monogamy (and maximalism) Dying?
Dating in the twenty-first century is seriously confusing. On the one hand, the puritanical roots that founded American society dominate and permeate throughout our collective consciousness. On the other, greed is part of human nature, and variety is the spice of life
So back to my initial questions: Is the shifting tide away from the practice of monogamy indicative of a broader trend in diversification? Bitcoin’s weakening dominance seems to suggest as much, but is it just a fad or will the innovation that accompanies DeFi’s assent permanently impact our collective consciousness (and bitcoin’s marketcap dominance)?
Another day, another question…