A decade later, Bitcoin has become a globally recognized name in the tech and finance world, along with it’s mysterious creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. His lesser known creation is the forum he built that has grown into the epicenter of all things related to bitcoin and its altcoin offspring.
From his first message on November 22nd 2009, BitcoinTalk quickly became the public communication tool for cypherpunks working on virtual currencies and the investors that saw it’s potential early on. Hal Finney, Gregory Maxwell, and Erik Voorhees were amongst the many influential active users in these early days that laid the groundwork for today’s crypto projects. Like a perfectly preserved time capsule, you can still see all of Satoshi’s conversations today.
With over 2.4 million users and close to 1.5 million page views a day, Bitcointalk is more than just a forum; it’s a universe of crypto “buidlers”, “hodlers”, and “bounty hunters”.
At first glance, it is an ugly website that reminds you of early Yahoo days. The barebones UI leaves new users (labeled “newbies” in the ranking system) to fend for themselves. When you first venture in, you quickly find out it’s the people, not the site, that makes this piece of the internet extremely unique.
Like Reddit and its Karma system, users achieve levels through activity and something called merit, recognition points given out as a reward for great content contribution (or under the table black market exchanges). The ranking system might be one of the only forums in the world where your level has monetary value. Legendary members, the sites highest rank, can offer postings for a fee and earn bounty rewards of a higher magnitude than other levels. Want to be a legendary member on day 1? You can pay a whopping 50 BTC as a donation.
Even signing up is a challenge for some, with anti-bot and anti-spam features built in. Some users might even have to pay a nominal BTC fee to “atone for the units of evil” that have been created by their IP address.
The members have created a tight-knit community focused on promoting cryptocurrency and preserving trust in the ecosystem. Bad actors cannot hide for long. The trust system serves as a “Scarlet Letter” of criminal intent; if you have negative red trust, few people will work with you. In a world where most freelancers work together purely from online messaging and payments to anonymous wallet addresses, this is one of the only tools for keeping track of scammers.
From the start of the famous “hodl” slogan to the infamous pizza order (yes the pizza that went for 10,000 bitcoins and is now valued at $65million was ordered through here), milestone after milestone has taken place on BitcoinTalk. NEM’s initial distribution to 4000 people happened on the forum and today virtually every ICO issues an announcement thread (referred to as an ANN) as its first move towards generating awareness.
The forum is segmented into different boards that focus on things ranging from mining and development, ICO announcements, bounties, services, and even real world politics (like Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh).
In the mining threads, users can share advice on new mining rigs and the profitability of mining different coins. New ideas like consensus mechanisms are debated in the development forums. Discussions in the Economy thread will impress even the most academic of economists — with topics like Inflation and Deflation of Price and Money Supply and Fractional Reserve Lending IS NOT bad — its unavoidable.
Services are growing faster everyday. Want help building that coin idea you’ve had but have no idea how to start? You can find hundreds of developers and platforms available at every level of talent and price. Gifted designers offer their services for logo and website creation, community operators pitch their Telegram management abilities, and even accountants share their details for helping solve the most complex of crypto tax situations.
Bounties are a popular tool for generating awareness around a new project and distributing tokens/coins to a wide audience without relying on mining or an ICO. A quick glance at just the first page of the bounties thread shows over $16 million potential dollars up for grabs. The tasks for each of these range from referrals and content production, all the way up to attending events and finding bugs in the code.
A five minute read on BitcoinTalk doesn’t do it enough justice. Each thread in its own right has enough material to support a long story, and the economy of services and bounties that the forum has created might resemble the GDP of a small nation. It’s been one of crypto’s best kept secrets; protected by its user-unfriendly look and its secure anti-bot processes.
I’m going to explore the following topics in more detail in subsequent articles:
-How to use BitcoinTalk for the first time: A guide for “newbies”
-Using BitcoinTalk for Evaluating ICOs
-BitcoinTalk: A Crypto Marketer’s most essential tool
-Services: What’s available and how to choose them
-Bounties: How to make crypto millions without investing
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article
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