Bitcoiners enjoy celebrating their so-called Bitcoin community. But, in the years since Bitcoin increased in price from $60 to $1,300, a lot has changed. Although still called the Bitcoin community by many today, the current state of Bitcoin resembles more closely an industry.
Often times Bitcoiners will make a joke that most Venture Capital money is going to self-proclaimed Bitcoin lawyer Marco Santori, who charges approximately $1,000 an hour for his services.That is symbolic of that fact that, indeed, the lawyers have moved into the experimental Bitcoin technology recognizing that innovation leads regulation. Thus, much of the paperwork and efforting in this sector of fintech is much like any other technology or finance space – not a community.
When high profile Bitcoiners become wrapped up in trials, oftentimes Bitcoiners – who often paint themselves as anti-government – side with the authorities. Even when the cases in questions have implications about the legal interpretations of Bitcoin, Bitcoiners do not devote energy and resources to the issue, setting the ground for future prosecutions of bitcoiners, as in the case of Trendon Shavers, a trial in which Bitcoin was determined money.
In the case of Mark Karpeles, who undoubtedly was in over his head with his exchange Mt. Gox, the community quickly turned on the early Bitcoin proponent. Mt. Gox was the Bitcoin infrastructure for some time. Many millions of dollars were held by the website, and authorities confiscated nearly $10 million dollars from the exchange for operating without a money service business license before its demise. Instead of shouldering self-responsibility for storing bitcoins with the site, many Bitcoiners celebrating the prosecution of Karpeles.
There is no such thing as the “Bitcoin Community.” Instead, it’s an industry, like any other. It’s what the Bitcoin Community always wanted for itself – to grow. To keep the moniker, “Community,” is misleading for new participants, who should know they are entering an industry. The Bitcoin industry has trade events, a steep hierarchy with corporate interests among the most influential, self-interest and low pay in many cases.
Just because there are forums and a Reddit community dedicated to it doesn’t make an industry a Community. Music, too, has an r/Reddit. It’s mostly comprised of passive participants who don’t profit much from music itself. Much like those on the forums dedicated to Bitcoin. The real influence takes place in the Bitcoin industry, where the chosen elite meet in secret on islands owned by billionaires to discuss the future of the digital currency.
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