Knut Svanholm

@knut.svanholm

Why “Bitcoin Maximalism” is a non sequitur

The notion of “Bitcoin Maximalism” is wrong. It is counterproductive and misses the whole point of this century’s greatest invention. First of all, it implies that there are viable alternatives to Bitcoin, that we can somehow keep the promise of sound money without pulling the rope in the same direction. To really understand why this is impossible we have to rewind the tape of recent history to the point where the idea of decentralized money was born in the first place, the financial crisis of 2008. Not too long after this an idea was born. An idea of peer-to-peer, sound money that could be sent from and to anyone, anywhere and received by anyone, anywhere in the world. Most people in crypto get the idea of peer-to-peer money but not the idea of sound money, which is the aspect of Bitcoin that truly makes it unique. Bitcoin was invented not only with a double spend prevention mechanism onboard, but as an antidote to double spending on the whole. Double spending which includes counterfeiting and therefore inflation.

Is it possible to agree about the basic principles of a value-assigning network so that no participant of this network will be incentivized to act against these principles? This is the basic question that Bitcoin tries to answer and so far, the answer is yes. Despite what some people say, Bitcoin works. In regard to the aforementioned question, it works remarkably well. Ever since Satoshi Nakamoto withdrew from the scene in the early days of the network there has been no authority to ask for guidelines, noone to ask for permission and no single actor with enough influence to alter the protocol in any significant way. The now infamous block-size debate ended in a sort of stalemate after which a 95% unanimous decision to lower the 95% consensus threshold to 80% for the specific question of whether to implement Segregated Witness or not. The results were clear and SegWit was implemented two weeks later. The SegWit 2x debacle that soon followed did not lead to a change of the protocol despite a coordinated effort by the most influential Bitcoin companies on the planet. This remarkable resistance is what makes Bitcoin so special. None of the so called altcoins has shown such resilience, especially not considering the sheer scale of the Bitcoin network. On the contrary, a lot of them has shown themselves to be quite easily manipulated. The obvious example is the DAO incident which split the Ethereum network in two.

Most altcoins can only be bought with Bitcoin. All of the people behind the altcoin knows this. They all have an incentive to sell you their altcoin for Bitcoin. This phenomenon funnels clever money into Bitcoin and stupid money into the altcoins. Stay vigilant and don’t fall for it! What Bitcoin has done by not giving in to the pressure or caring at all about the squabbles of mere humans is unprecedented. No technology has ever done this before. Doomsday prophets and various public thinkers nowadays worry about general artificial intelligence or even social media attention-grabbing algorithms, missing the crude new life form of decentralized integrity that just popped into being under their noses, growing like fungi on human behavior. This is not an emerging technology, this is a new type of citizen emerging from a new technology. A citizen of the internet rather than one of a country. A citizen not bound by the shackles of banks or taxes but an emancipated citizen with new or revitalized dreams and hopes of a brighter, more independent future. A future in which we can truly reap what our forefathers sowed instead of just giving it away to various institutions. A future in which we can afford to buy our own houses instead of just renting them. A life in debt is a puppets life and, for the first time in ages for the common man, the light at the end of the tunnel might not be an oncoming train.

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