Toxic Bitcoin Maximalism can serve an important purpose to ward off newcomers from scams and altcoins, but is there a time when the toxicity is too much?
This is an opinion editorial by Boomer, a long-time and active member of the financial independence/retire early (FIRE) movement and a contributor for Bitcoin Magazine.
When I first started my journey into Bitcoin, Elon Musk was in the middle of pumping dogecoin. I remember the mainstream media’s fascination with the whole thing. Musk even hosted “Saturday Night Live!” It all seemed playful to me and it made sense. Musk is this future-centric tech CEO, and I knew that Tesla had put some bitcoin on its balance sheet. Bitcoin, ethereum, dogecoin — it was all similar to me at the time, and Musk seemed to fit in perfectly. I remember listening to Bitcoin podcasts that were very critical of Musk, and it confused me. Any publicity is good publicity, isn’t it? A lot of the Bitcoiners I was following were really upset over what this guy was doing, and I just didn’t get it. I guess this was my first taste of Bitcoin’s “toxic” culture, not that I thought much about it. I wasn’t ready. I was too busy learning.
Strolight wrote his article around the same time that Musk was hosting “Saturday Night Live.” It was before I was ready to understand it all, so I’m thankful to have stumbled upon it now. It really motivated me to do a personal exploration into how I define “maximalism.”
I’m nowhere near done in this exploration and it might be something that I ponder for a long time. I’m still way too new here to have a fully formed opinion on what “toxic Bitcoin Maximalism” really is, but I know enough now to have a grasp on how Bitcoin continues to shape me and how important it is. Bitcoin means different things for everyone, so it only makes sense that Bitcoin Maximalism is just as personal. I truly believe that in Bitcoin we’ve discovered the greatest form of money ever and with this discovery, we have the potential to realign many (if not most) of the perverse incentives that plague this world. To me, this belief is Bitcoin Maximalism. Does standing up for that make someone a toxic Maximalist? I guess it depends on your perspective.
Generally speaking, Bitcoiners are leaders: type-A personalities that aren’t exactly the most politically correct group of people. What we are is a group of sovereign individuals guided by truth, transparency and a belief in a protocol that doesn’t have time for bullshit. Of course, we can come off as toxic! Does that really surprise anyone!? There is a difference between being toxic and being an asshole, though. Some of the things I’ve read on Twitter coming from defenders of Bitcoin are flat out rude, intolerant and childish. Slinging insults in the name of Bitcoin doesn’t make you a maximalist, and it doesn’t make you a hero, either. Stop that shit. It isn’t helping. But if you’re calling a spade a spade, that isn’t toxic. And if you’re offended by someone being toxic by defending something they believe in, maybe you’re the toxic one.
I know that Nic Carter has studied Bitcoin in more depth and for longer than I have. He knows that bitcoin isn’t just an investment tool or an asset class. He knows just how important the discovery was. That being said, he should be allowed to invest in as many “blockchain” companies as he chooses to, but he’s going to be held to a higher standard than some newbie, and he should expect that. He shouldn’t be surprised (or triggered) when people call him out on it. Is this a case of the immune system attacking a healthy cell? I’m not sure.
Personally, I find myself getting more and more convinced about Bitcoin by the day. I suppose my maximalism is growing and I find myself being less and less tolerant, but you still won’t find me hurling insults on Twitter. That’s not who I am, but I reserve the right to be as toxic as I need to be. And you know what? You don’t have to like it. We all have a role to play in this Bitcoin world. If I can eventually become the “not-so-toxic” Bitcoin Maximalist, that’s a role I’d be honored to serve, but to all the toxic maximalists out there, keep up the good work. Growth only comes from discomfort, and every time your toxicity makes someone uncomfortable, it helps someone else along their journey. Keep calling out bullshit as you see it.
This is a guest post by Boomer. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.