Please click the link below to listen to the 78th episode of my weekly crypto podcast ‘Five Minute Crypto.’ These are intended to be short, single-topic ramblings on some aspect of the cryptosphere. Comments and critiques welcome.
External Podcast Link
Five Minute Crypto – The Bitcoiner Menagerie
Welcome to Five Minute Crypto, this episode delves into the diverse and sometimes confusing world of Bitcoiners. The following categorisations are, of course broad, and loosely applied but nonetheless, may serve as a useful orientation to those seeking to make sense of it all.
The focus here is on Twitter and to a lesser extent Reddit which are overwhelmingly the haunt of Bitcoiners and by far and away the best places to observe BTC fault lines of all ilk’s from toxic maximalists to gateway charlatans.
These are the old hands. Those who through vision, tech know-how, luck or a combination of all three came to BTC early and somehow managed to navigate the many trials and tribulations of Bitcoin’s early years. They understand BTC through and through and can articulate its qualities, development arc, financial importance and future potential. Many are or were prolific content creators, their work forming the backbone of BTC’s growing intellectual library.
These OGs hold altcoins in very low esteem and have earned the right to do so. They have already seen multiple waves of the ‘new and shiny’ full of promises that ultimately come to naught. Their toxicity is worthy of respect and reflection. You may not entirely agree with them but their perspectives are battle-tested and years in the making.
While the original BTC cast has changed, figures such as Nick Szabo, Gavin Andresen, Jack Dorsey, and Simon Dixon remain active
Those that came to BTC later than the OGs – comprising a second wave of informed adherents. These folks continue to greatly expand the body of work on BTC and tend to be deeply knowledgeable about it. Figures such Saifedean Ammous, Gigi and ParabolicTrav spring to mind.
At first glance similar to the old hands of Bitcoin but only on the most surface level. These are the inelegant all caps Bitcoiners who likely haven’t read the white paper and whose strident rejection of all other cryptos is based on a simple aping of the more informed perspectives of others. Aside from the occasional viral meme, they bring nothing to the table and have no knowledge underpinning their oft-repeated positions. Debating these folks is entirely pointless – following them a cardinal sin.
The most conflicted of Bitcoin’s adherents. They see it as hard money, acknowledge its functional supremacy but nonetheless, can’t quite dismiss the value proposition of other applications of crypto. They walk a fine line. I place myself here – the vast majority of my energy, focus and investment lies with Bitcoin but I still reserve the right to explore and invest in other iterations of blockchain. Sure, if I had to pick only one -it would be BTC but that choice isn’t necessary and nor does Bitcoin require me to do so.
A BTC majoritarian remains intrigued by smart contracts, oracles, DeFi, and so on but also retains an understanding of the key difference between the established properties of Bitcoin and the speculative claims of every other crypto.
Andreas Antonopoulos is perhaps the most high-profile example of a long time BTC adherent with a view to the wider possible applications of blockchain. Nic Carter is another notable crypto commenter with a foot in more than one camp.
Those who know enough to know they don’t know much and who therefore content themselves with delving deeper into the Bitcoin rabbit-hole. Full of questions, seeking nuanced answers and unlikely to be roused to passion by the mere mention of another blockchain.
The Gateway Charlatans and Fallen Idols
The pretenders. Perhaps sporting a Bitcoin handle or some other token of support but, at heart, there to mislead and redirect crypto newcomers. They declare Bitcoin is great but have heard of the even better XYZ project for which they have a link, discount or whatever. When not outright scammers, they are attempting to lure you into following affiliate links, leveraged trading and a whole host of other disingenuous nonsense. Once identified, block immediately!
Honorary mention should go to the fallen idols of which Bitcoin has more than a few. Roger Ver, Richard Heart, Craig Wright, and Trace Meyer being just a few high-profile examples. These are the OGs who have abandoned Bitcoin either to establish competing networks ala Bitcoin Cash, or outright scams such as HEX and Mimblewimble Coin.
Hopefully, this very brief tour around the Bitcoin menagerie will prove of service as you attempt to make sense of it all.
Thanks for listening.