The Simple Guide to Crypto Culture for Nocoiners Pt. IIby@abhijoysarkar
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The Simple Guide to Crypto Culture for Nocoiners Pt. II

by Abhijoy SarkarMay 10th, 2023
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The people who impact crypto culture come from multivariate backgrounds. They span geographies. Generations. Political ideologies. And social hierarchies. They are developers, entrepreneurs, investors, artists, legal eagles, writers, traders, art collectors, analysts, journalists, social activists and more.

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Continued from Part I – Bitcoin v/s Ethereum (and Other Crypto) Culture

Part II – Key Opinion Makers and Cultural Influencers

The people who impact crypto culture come from multivariate backgrounds. They span geographies. Genders. Generations. Political ideologies. And social hierarchies.

They are developers, entrepreneurs, investors, artists, legal eagles, writers, traders, heads of state, art collectors, aristocrats, analysts, journalists, social activistseconomistsarmed force personnelMMA fighters, media personalities and more. Crypto has also given rise to new kinds of professionals like onchain sleuthsminersvalidatorssmart contract auditorsNFT historianschain archaeologists etc. who influence its culture as well.

Some of them are anonymous/pseudonymous. Some are doxed. Irrespective, their impact is based more on the merit of their work than on their identities. A few of the culturally significant people in crypto are:

Satoshi Nakamoto: The single most impactful figure in crypto. Even after 12 years since his/her/their last ever message sent to anyone. Satoshi’s work and writings continue to effect crypto culture till this day. The aura of this mythical incorruptible persona has only built up over the years. More so because the Bitcoins believed to be mined by Satoshi have never moved from their wallets. At today’s prices, they are worth close to $30 Bn. The smallest unit of a Bitcoin is called a satoshi. 1 satoshi (or, sat) = 1/100,000,000 of a BTC.

Satoshi’s level-headed guidance allowed the early Bitcoin community stay the course

(Image Source)

Vitalik Buterin: After Satoshi, if anyone influences crypto as much now, it is Vitalik. His impact on Ethereum and thus on the larger crypto culture is undeniable. His thoughts and papers on a variety of topics, within and outside of crypto, often signal eventual crypto trends. They go on to generate further discussions, debates and developments. In March 2022, TIME Magazine featured Vitalik in a cover story calling him “the most influential person in crypto”.

The TIME feature was the first ever NFT Issue

(Image Source)

CZ (Changpeng Zhao): Founder of Binance, the largest centralised crypto exchange (Cex) by daily trading volume. Binance Chain is a blockchain that operates independent of the Cex but is part of the same brand. Before Dex’es (Decentralised Exchanges) were a thing, a Binance listing used to be on the bucket list of many projects. It was like a seal of approval for their credibility. As a result, listing announcements used to cause price jumps for their crypto tokens. Hence the phrase “WenBinance”; which follows from “WenMoon” (see Wen + word in Part III).

CZ is considered as a pioneer and a titan in crypto. The widespread use of Cex’es so far can be attributed largely to him, and to Brian Armstrong of Coinbase. While seen more as a positive influence, CZ sometimes faces critique. For things like enabling a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) development in Kazakhstan. Or for Binance’s delayed integration of Lightning Network. With US regulators going after crypto firms this year, Binance has been no exception. The CFTC filed a lawsuit in late March alleging malpractice. CZ’s usual response (apart from his official response) was “4”. This is a common memetic reference to his pinned message on Twitter (see FUD in Part III).

Cobie (Jordan Fish): A popular social media personality previously known as Crypto Cobain. Cobie is the founder of Lido Finance, a DeFi platform focused on staking crypto assets. His podcast hosts both famous and infamous guests that many times lead to hilarity. His online persona is a reflection of CT (Crypto Twitter) as a whole. Humorous commentary on current issues. Light-hearted banter. Nuanced takes on contentious topics. Irreverence for authority figures. Engaging with individuals outside of crypto to an entertaining effect.

In February of last year, Cobie had a tussle with Upwork over logo design. Soon after, he decided to assist a young crypto-skeptic artist who had been kicked off Upwork. Cobie convinced the artist to mint NFTs of their work and auction them. The ten pieces sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars as amused observers cheered on.

Cobie has serious social media heft. Almost ratio’ed the POTUS at one point

(Image Source)

Inversebrah: Stardust was a crypto trader popular for his social commentary. After a brawl with economist Nouriel Roubini in 2018, his account was suspended for a while. Stardust returned as “inversebrah” donning the role of CT’s resident historian. Inversebrah is now a  wassie; a fictitious frog-like creature that lives in the fridge. A wassie dies every two weeks to be reborn again.  Also referred to as “smolting” (i.e. small thing) or “lil shid” (i.e. little sh*t). The name “inversebrah” supposedly came from a comment that a chart (posted as a joke) was “Brah that’s inverse”.

That is stardust on bottom right

(Image Source)

If you have ever been on CT, you will have noticed replies tagging @inversebrah. Or saying something to the effect of “get me in lil shid” asking to be part of some screenshot. People tag him to capture cringe/funny/important moments that could go down in crypto history books. His followers are fluent in wassie-speak. For years, the wassie phenomenon has even had many crypto veterans stumped. Like Vitalik Buterin and Brian Armstrong.

The “process” for invocation of inversebrah could involve a bat signal for emergencies.

Balaji Srinivasan: Founder of Counsyl, a genetic testing company. And, a paid-email and learning platform transacting in Bitcoin. He is also a former CTO of Coinbase, one of the earliest and largest Cex’es in the world by trading volume. Balaji writes extensively on crypto. His book, The Network State, talks about the next stage of nation states. As a tech thought leader and futurist, his predictions are regarded as prescient. Especially after he accurately foresaw how the COVID-19 pandemic would play out. As a result, “Balaji was right” is a common saying in tech and VC circles (123456).

In March’23, Balaji made his most astounding prediction yet. He said in 90 days the US could go into hyperinflation as a fallout of the current banking crisis (see crypto’s banking problem in Part V). Thus creating a scenario for hyperbitcoinization (see 1 BTC = 1BTC in Part III). He even opened a million dollar wager at 40:1 odds for settling this “ideological matter”. However, he settled the bet early and thus marking a rare setback to the “Balaji was right” streak.

6529: Prolific NFT collector, art patron and curator. 6529 is also the founder of OM (Open Metaverse), a virtual world initiative on crypto-rails. The name “6529” comes from an NFT (CryptoPunk #6529) which he owns and uses for his public image. 6529 maintains an anonymous presence and is known for writing viral threads. Eg. on lifefreedomssecurity practicesbear marketsregulationsNFT and metaverse explainers, centralisationpredictionsonchain courses and more. Sometimes it’s his art purchases or memes that capture CT’s imagination.

Andreas Antonopoulos: Author and speaker. One of the OG teachers. Apart from Satoshi, it is rare for someone to have a near unanimous approval from most quarters in crypto. Antonopoulos has that rare distinction (except for maybe a few purists. See Infighting Among Crypto in Part VII). A lot of today’s crypto culture is a direct result of Antonopoulos’ speeches, books, presentations and courses red pilling people. His contributions are time and again acknowledged by today’s influencers with high regard. While he is not as active on socials now, his interviews and videos are still shared as ELI5 explainers. Besides A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto by Eric Hughes and The Bitcoin Standard by Saifedean Ammous, Antonopoulos’ Mastering Bitcoin is also viewed as essential reading for crypto.

Back when Bitcoin wasn’t as big, Antonopoulos dedicated himself full-time into it. Speaking at events, consulting on Bitcoin and writing articles for free. As a result of this volunteerism, his expenses piled up and he went into debt. When he was poor shamed for this by the founder of Bitcoin Cash (a forked version of Bitcoin), Bitcoiners took the insult personally. Within days, donations worth millions of dollars had poured into Antonopoulos’ Bitcoin wallet.

May 2013: Antonopoulos speaking to a sparse audience at the San Jose Bitcoin Conference

(Image Source)

Looking for some more people to follow? Here are a 100 culturally relevant crypto personalities in no particular order:

Buidlers: The Late Hal FinneyAdam BackJack DorseyBrian ArmstrongHayden AdamsElizabeth StarkStani KulechovJameson LoppErik VoorheesHudson JamesonKevin OwockibantegSergey NazarovEmin Gün SirerSandeep NailwalSamson MowTaylor MonahanAlex SvanevikEli Ben-SassonKathleen BreitmanPéter SzilágyiJesse PowellZooko Wilcox-O'HearnObi NwosuSreeram KannanPieter WuilleDevin FinzerDom HofmannRoham GharegozlouSnowfro/Erick Calderon, statelayer

Teachers: Lyn Alden SchwartzerAnthony SassanoPeter McCormackhodlonautRyan Sean AdamsNic CarterAnita PoschLaura ShinTroy CrossMaya ZehaviMatthew GreenHasuAri David PaulAngie JonesNader Dabittier10kPreethi KasireddydystopiabreakerAdam CochranRyan SelkisDylan LeClairEric WallLaurence Day0xfoobar

Artists: beeple/Mike Winkelmann, pplpleasr/Emily Yang, SHL0MS3LAU/Justin David Blau, Cath SimardJen StarkFEWOCiOUS/Victor Langlois, XCOPYSeerLight/Ronald Kuang, Tyler HobbsDeeKay KwonJohn KnopfPussy RiotSenecaRefik AnadolMicah JohnsonDrifter Shoots/Isaac Wright, Murat Pak

Investors: Naval RavikantMichael SaylorMeltem DemirorsCathie WoodMarc AndreessenAlexis OhanianGary VaynerchukLinda XieChris DixonSriram KrishnanFred EhrsamAvichal GargMike Dudas

Art Collectors: Cozomo de' Medici/Snoop Dogg(?), Vincent Van DoughBharat Krymo

Policy Experts: Caitlin LongNeeraj AgrawalHester PeirceJake Chervinsky

Entertainers: kmoneySheikh RobertoGabriel Haines

Security Specialists: ZachXBTSamczsunCIA Officer

Traders: Arthur Hayes

Neither is the list and nor are the categories exhaustive. And many of those mentioned above can qualify for multiple categories.

PS. If you choose to follow them on Twitter, please watch out for spambots and scammers. Crypto accounts are some of the most common subjects of impersonation. With Vitalik and CZ being top choices (apart from Elon Musk).

Up Next  Part III: Lexicon and Memes

NOTE: Also published here.

Disclaimer: None of the information mentioned above should be construed as financial advice.