Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

What we’ve been hearing for so many years – that blockchain is the future, not Bitcoin; that the future of the world will not consist of just one major cryptocurrency, not even a few, but many – And the winning cryptocurrency will have strong leadership under a central control that quickly adapts to the needs of users at scale; people will also say that Bitcoin is a “boomer coin‌, and Ethereum will soon be Will keep up with it, Ethereum will be the newer, more dynamic asset that will attract a new wave of mass users who don’t care about weird libertarian ideologies or “the sacrosanct of private property” being poisoned by And the anti-government mentality is shut out, they only hope that blockchain DeFi and games can be fast and effective.

But what if this narrative is all false and the Bitcoin Maximalist thoughts, habits, and practices are actually very close to being true? What if Bitcoin was far more than just an outdated prank rock tied to network effects? If Bitcoin maximalists actually deeply understand that they operate in a very hostile and uncertain world, there is something they need to strive for, and their actions, personalities, and philosophies about protocol design deeply reflect this fact? If we live in a world of honest cryptocurrencies (of which there are very few) and fraudulent cryptocurrencies (of which there are very many), and in order to prevent the former from turning to the latter, a certain degree of persistence (dose of intolerance) is actually necessary? That’s the argument I’m trying to make in this article.

We live in a dangerous world and protecting freedom is a serious business

I hope this is more evident than it was six weeks ago, when many people still seriously believed that Vladimir Putin was a misunderstood good man who just wanted to protect Russia and remove Western civilization from a “gay (NATO)” rescued from disaster. But this point is still worth repeating. We live in a dangerous world full of bad people who don’t listen to compassion and reason.

At its core, blockchain is a security technology — a technology that is fundamentally all about protecting people and helping them survive in such an unfriendly world. It is like The Lord of the Rings Phia of Galadriel‌ (a jar that Galadriel gave to Frodo), “In this little bottle, the star of Elendil shines, right in my fountain. When night falls, it will be brighter. May it be a light for you in dark places when all other lights are out.” It’s not a low-cost lamp, or a fluorescent hippie CFL, or a high-performance lamp. It’s a lamp that makes sacrifices in all of these ways to optimize for one thing, and one thing only: When you’re facing the toughest challenge of your life, there’s a damn 20-foot spider staring at you. face, it’s a light that lights the road ahead of you.

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists


Blockchain is used every day by the unbanked and underbanked, activists, sex workers, refugees, and many other groups, either people who are not interested in profit-seeking centralized financial institutions, or who have Enemies who don’t want them to be served. They are used by many as the main lifeline for paying and storing their savings.

Because of this, public chains sacrifice a lot for security:

Blockchain requires every transaction to be independently verified thousands of times before it can be accepted.

Unlike centralized systems where transactions are confirmed within a few hundred milliseconds, blockchain requires users to wait 10 seconds to 10 minutes for confirmation.

Blockchain requires users to be fully responsible for authenticating themselves: if you lose your private key, you lose your cryptocurrency.

Blockchain sacrifices privacy, and people need crazier, more expensive technology‌ to get it back.  

What are all these sacrifices for? To create a system that can survive in an unfriendly world and truly “may it be a light to you in a dark place when all other lights are out”.

For blockchain to do this task well, two key elements are needed. (i) a strong, defensible technology stack and (ii) a strong, defensible culture . The key attributes of a robust and defensible technology stack are a focus on simplicity and deep mathematical purity: a 1 MB block size, a limit of 21 million coins in total, and a simple Nakamoto consensus proof-of-work mechanism, Even a high school student can understand. The rationale of the protocol design must be easy to prove decades or even centuries later; the technology and parameter selection must be a work of art.

The second element is an uncompromising, uncompromising minimalist culture. It has to be a culture that can defend itself relentlessly against corporate and government actors trying to codify the ecosystem from the outside, as well as bad actors within the cryptocurrency space trying to exploit it for personal gain, such people have a lot of.

Now, what exactly does the culture of Bitcoin and Ethereum look like? Well, let’s ask Kevin Pham:

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

I don’t think the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities are any different.

Don’t believe this tweet is representative? Well, let’s ask Kevin Pham again:

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

The Bitcoin and Ethereum communities are exactly the same, part two.

Now you might say, it’s just ethereum people joking, finally they understand what they’re going to do, what they’re dealing with. But do they have? Let’s see who Vitalik Buterin, the founder of Ethereum, is with. 

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Vitalik mingles with tech elite CEOs in Beijing, China

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Vitalik meets Vladimir-Putin in Russia

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Vitalik meets Jerusalem Mayor Nir Bakrat

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Vitalik shakes hands with former Argentine President Mauricio Macri

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Vitalik greets Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and adviser to the U.S. Department of Defense

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Vitalik holds first of many meetings with Taiwan’s digital minister Audrey Tang

And that’s just a small part of it. The immediate question anyone seeing this should be asking is: What’s the point of meeting all these people in public? Some of these people are very decent entrepreneurs and politicians, but others are actively involved in gross human rights abuses, which Vitalik certainly does not support. Doesn’t Vitalik realize how geopolitically kill each other some of these people are?

Now, maybe he’s just an idealist who believes that talking to people helps bring peace to the world, and is the motto of Frederick Douglass’ “Join anyone to do what’s right, not what’s wrong” followers. But there’s also a simpler assumption: Vitalik is a hippie globetrotter and status seeker who really enjoys meeting those who matter and feels respected. And it’s not just Vitalik; companies like Consensys are totally happy to work with the Saudis, too, and the entire ecosystem is constantly trying to find validation from the mainstream.

Now ask yourself a question: When the time comes, and when something important actually happens on the blockchain—actually something important that offends powerful people—which ecosystem will be more willing to let go and refuse to censor them, No matter how much pressure to put on them? Is it the ecosystem of global nomads who really care about being friends with everyone, or the ecosystem of people who take pictures of their AR15s and axes as a side business?

Currency isn’t “just the first app”, it’s the most successful one to date

Many people who hold the “blockchain, not bitcoin” view believe that cryptocurrencies are the first application of blockchain, but this is a very boring application, the real potential of blockchain is bigger and more exciting exciting thing. Let’s take a look at the list of applications in the Ethereum white paper:

1. Issue Token

2. Financial derivatives


4. Identity and reputation systems

5. Decentralized file storage

6. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)

7. Peer-to-peer betting

8. Prediction Markets

Many of these categories have already launched apps and at least some users. And what the cryptocurrency people really value is empowering the bankers in the “Global South”. Of these applications, which ones actually have the largest number of users in third world countries?

As it turns out, by far the most successful applications of blockchain are in storing wealth and payments. 3% of Argentines‌ own cryptocurrencies, as do 6% of Nigerians‌ and 12% of Ukrainians.

What other application today comes close to this actual, true level of adoption? Perhaps the closest is ENS‌. DAOs are real and growing, but there are too many DAOs today appealing to people in wealthy developed countries whose main interest is having fun and using cartoon characters for their first world self-expression needs, while Not building schools and hospitals and solving other real-world problems.

Thus, we can clearly see two factions: the “blockchain” faction, privileged people in rich countries who like to send virtue signals about “beyond money and capitalism” and who can’t resist the “decentralized governance experiment” “Excited as a hobby; the “Bitcoin” faction, a highly diverse group of rich and poor in many countries of the world, including third world countries, are actually using a free sovereign currency. A capitalist tool that provides real value to humanity today.

Focusing on being money makes money better

A common misconception about why Bitcoin does not support “richly stateful” smart contracts is this: Bitcoin really values ​​simplicity, especially low technical complexity, in order to reduce the chance of error. Therefore, it does not want to add more complex functions and opcodes that are necessary to be able to support more complex smart contracts in Ethereum.

Of course, this misunderstanding is wrong. In fact, there are many ways to add rich statefulness to Bitcoin; searching the Bitcoin chat archives for the term “covenants” reveals many proposals being discussed, many of which are Unexpectedly simple. The reason these contracts were not added is not because Bitcoin developers saw the value in rich statefulness and found that even a little more protocol complexity was intolerable. Rather, this is because Bitcoin developers are concerned about the risk of system complexity that rich state could bring to the ecosystem!

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Ethereum’s struggle with miner extractable value (MEV)‌ is a good example of this problem emerging in practice. In Ethereum, it is easy for developers to build applications that allow the next person to interact with certain contracts to be rewarded handsomely, causing traders and miners to fight over it, which greatly increases the risk of network centralization and requires complex solutions‌. Building such systemically risky applications is difficult in Bitcoin, in large part because Bitcoin lacks rich state and focuses on simple (no MEV) use cases, i.e. just money.

Systemic risk can also occur in non-technical ways. Bitcoin is just money, which means that Bitcoin requires relatively few developers, which helps reduce the risk of developers starting to ask themselves to print money for free‌ to build new protocol features. Bitcoin as a currency reduces the pressure on core developers to keep adding features to “keep up with the competition” and “meet developers’ needs.”

In many ways, the systemic impact is real, and it is impossible for a currency to “enable” a highly complex and risky DApp ecosystem without being ripped off by that complexity in some way. Bitcoin is a safe bet. If Ethereum continues its layer 2-centric approach, ETH as a currency may gain some distance from the ecosystem of applications it enables to gain some level of protection. On the other hand, so-called high-performance Tier 1 platforms have no chance.

Generally speaking, the earliest projects in an industry are the most “real”

Many industries and fields follow a similar pattern. First, some new and exciting technology has either been invented or improved so dramatically that it can actually be used for something. In the beginning, the technology was still clunky, it was too risky, hardly anyone would touch it as an investment, and there was no “social proof” that people could use it to succeed. So the first people to get involved will be idealists, tech geeks, and others who are genuinely excited about technology and its potential to improve society.

Once the technology has fully proven itself, however, ordinary people will follow — an event often referred to in Internet culture as Eternal September. These are not just ordinary good folks who want to feel part of something exciting, but business people in suits who start scouring the ecosystem like hungry wolves for ways to make money — and risk The army of investors is equally eager to make their own money by backing them. In extreme cases, outright scammers also come in, and they create blockchains that have no redeeming social or technical value and are basically scams. But the reality is that the lines from “altruistic idealist” to “liar” actually coexist. The longer an ecosystem lasts, the harder it will be to launch any new projects on the altruistic side of the system.

The philosophical and idealistic values ​​of the blockchain industry are slowly being replaced by short-term profit-seeking values, and a noisy representation is the ever-larger preset size: the developers of a cryptocurrency allocate funds to themselves.

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Image credit: Messari

Which blockchain communities value self-sovereignty, privacy, and decentralization deeply and make big sacrifices to get it? And which blockchain communities just want to drive up their market cap and make money for founders and investors? The chart above should make it pretty clear.

Intolerance is a good thing

I’ve made it clear from what I’ve said above why Bitcoin’s status as the first cryptocurrency gives it a unique advantage that is extremely difficult to replicate for any cryptocurrency created in the past five years. But now we’re going to talk about the biggest objection to the Bitcoin belief culture: why is it so toxic?

The case for saying belief in Bitcoin is toxic stems from Conquest’s Second Law. In Robert Conquest’s original formulation, the law said, “any right-wing organization that does not have a clear and constitutional mandate will sooner or later become left-wing”. But in reality, it’s just a special case of a more general pattern that makes more sense than ever in the modern age of relentlessly homogenous and submissive social media.

If you want to retain an identity that is different from the mainstream, then you need a really strong culture that actively resists and resists being assimilated into the mainstream whenever it tries to claim its hegemony.  

As I mentioned above, blockchain is fundamentally a very clear counter-cultural movement that is trying to create and maintain something different from the mainstream. Blockchain is one of the very few things that can remain global when the world is splitting into blocs of great powers that actively suppress social and economic interactions between them. At a time when more and more people are reaching out to censorship to defeat their short-term foes, blockchain steadfastly continues to censorship.

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

Dealing with “sane adults” trying to tell you that in order to “be mainstream” you have to compromise your “extreme” values ​​the only right way. Because once you compromise once, you can’t stop.  

The blockchain community must also fight internal bad actors, some of which include:

Scammers who make and sell projects that are ultimately worthless (or worse, very harmful) but insist on the legitimacy of “cryptocurrency” and “decentralized” brands (and highly abstract ideas of humanism and friendship) sex.

Collaborationists , who openly and loudly signal the virtue of cooperating with the government and actively try to persuade the government to use coercion against its competitors.

Entrepreneurs who try to use their resources to take over the development of the blockchain and often push the protocol towards centralization.

People can smile against all these actors and politely tell the world why they “do not agree with their priorities”. But that’s not realistic: bad actors will try to infiltrate themselves into your community, at which point it’s psychologically hard to criticize them with enough contempt they really need: the person you’re criticizing is your friend friend. As a result, any culture that values ​​identity will succumb to the challenge, leaving the liar’s hands free to reach into the wallets of innocent newbies.

What kind of culture will not be knocked down? A culture that is willing and eager to tell crooks inside and powerful adversaries outside to go the way of Russian warships.

Bitcoin Community’s Wacky Crusade Over Seed Oil Is Right  

To help a community maintain internal cohesion around its unique values ​​and avoid falling into the quagmire of the mainstream, a powerful bonding tool is strange beliefs and crusades that share a similar spirit to the core mission, even if they are not directly related. Ideally, these crusades should be at least partially correct, pinpointing real blind spots or inconsistencies in mainstream values.

The Bitcoin community is good at this. Their most recent crusade is a war on seed oils, which are high levels of omega-6 fatty acids from plant seeds that are harmful to human health.

Vitalik Buterin: In defense of Bitcoin maximalists

When the media comment on this bitcoin crusade, they will be suspicious of the bitcoin community, but when “respectable” tech companies deal with the issue, the media is far better on the topic. This crusade helps remind Bitcoiners that the mainstream media is fundamentally tribal and hypocritical, so the media’s pointed attempts to slander cryptocurrencies primarily for money laundering and terrorism should be treated with the same level of sarcasm .  

Be a Bitcoin Maximalist

Bitcoin maximalists are often ridiculed by the media as both a dangerous toxic right-wing cult and a paper tiger that disappears once other cryptocurrencies come in and take over Bitcoin’s top network effect. But the reality is that the argument for believing in Bitcoin that I described above does not depend on network effects at all. Network effects are really logarithmic, not quadratic: once a cryptocurrency is “big enough” and it has enough liquidity to operate, multi-cryptocurrency payment processors will easily add it to their collection. But the claim that Bitcoin is an out-of-date literary stone whose value is entirely derived from the effect of a walking botnet that collapses with just a little nudge is just as completely false.

Cryptoassets like Bitcoin have real cultural and structural advantages that make them powerful assets worth holding and using. Bitcoin is a good example of this type of asset, although it is certainly not the only example; other respectable cryptocurrencies do exist, and Bitcoin maximalists are willing to support and use them. Belief in bitcoin is not just bitcoin for bitcoin’s sake; rather, it’s a very real realization that most other crypto assets are scams, to protect newbies and ensure that at least one corner of the field continues to be worthwhile Inhabited corners, a culture of intolerance is inevitable and necessary.

It’s better to mislead

It’s better to make your protocol too simple to serve ten low-value, short attention span gambling applications than to make it too complex to serve the core sound money use case that underpins everything else.

It’s better to offend millions by actively supporting what you believe than trying to please everyone and end up with nothing.

Be brave, fight for your values ​​and be a Bitcoin maximalist.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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