Please click the link below to listen to the 70th episode of my weekly crypto podcast ‘Two Minute Crypto.’ These are intended to be short, single-topic ramblings on some aspect of the cryptosphere. Consider dropping a like and or a review on iTunes or Podbean if you enjoy the podcast. Comments and critiques welcome.
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Two Minute Crypto – Putting Bitcoiner Toxicity Towards Altcoins in Context
Welcome to Two Minute Crypto. If you have spent any time at all engaged with the crypto space you will have noticed that many long-time Bitcoin adherents display a marked degree of antipathy towards other blockchains. This strong and oft-stated dislike for Altcoins can appear irrational, even cult-like. However, there’s more to it than simple tribalism.
At its most fundamental level, the reason that the majority of OG Bitcoiners reject Alt-coins out of hand is their belief that these Altcoins are merely pretenders stemming from a long line of pretenders. Most crypto enthusiasts were drawn in by the BTC run up and ICO craze of late 2017. At that time the rejection of all other chains by BTC maximalists seemed entirely overblown as Altcoins ran to incredible heights, rewarding investors many times over. It seemed, in some sense a case of sour grapes, with BTC supporters upset at the competition they suddenly faced. Add to this the publicity disaster that was Bitcoin Cash and it’s easy to see why many folks new to the space dismissed the offhand air of superiority emanating from the Bitcoin camp. Entering the space in 2016, I struggled to understand this myself and it is only in recent months that I feel I have come to see where BTC maximalists are coming from even if I still don’t fully count myself among them.
In fact, Altcoins have already enjoyed multiple waves of popularity. If you peruse a historical snapshot dating back to May 2013 you will see a range of Altcoins such as Namecoin, Peercoin, Terracoin and so on. Each and every one a clone of BTC but promising more. Jump to 2015 and Dash, Nxt and Banx make an appearance. While Dash remains, all the others have either failed completely or faded into obscurity. Now add in the mania attached to late 2017 early 2018 with gems such as Tron attaining valuations of over 13 billion and you begin to see an oft-repeated pattern. A pattern of promises, of great new things, followed by a spike in value then a long slow failure to deliver, accompanied by a steady loss of market share and relevance.
Bitcoin OGs have seen this all before, again and again, and again. From their well-earned perspective – the next great thing is simply a reskin of the last great but failed great thing. While I personally see the value of a broad and development-rich blockchain eco-system; I also accept that only Bitcoin has proven its place to the market. Each and every other Altcoin is still stating their case. Ethereum once so promising seems to have entered a state of perpetual upgrades which never quite address the problem of scalability. EOS for all its resources has yet to convincingly launch anything of worth and on and on the poor comparisons with Bitcoin go.
Bitcoiner antipathy towards Alts is not simply an act of tribalism but a reasoned perspective earned through many years of market engagement – dismiss it at your own risk! My own market position has shifted to that of profound skepticism – a shiny new protocol or marketing campaign will in no way entice me to invest. BTC however, has time and again weathered the storms of development and market calamity and as a result, I dollar cost average in every week. There are a range of Alts that I still hold and track but the balance of proof most certainly lies with them not Bitcoin.
Thanks for listening.