It’s hard to argue too passionately for anything related to cryptocurrency beyond that it is good for humanity, it is liberating, and it is a huge part of the future, financial and otherwise, of humanity. There are some who have made a great deal of money from Bitcoin, who argue passionately for Bitcoin exclusivity. Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum, calls these people “Bitcoin maximalists.”
There is another class of argument, one which may perhaps be called a network effect but not completely, for why a service that uses Bitcoin as a currency will perform better: the incentivized marketing of the Bitcoin community. […] It’s well-known that people tend to change their moral values to align with their personal interests, so the channel here is more complex: people who hold BTC start to see it as being in the common interest for Bitcoin to succeed… […] [T]he creation of an ecosystem that uses Bitcoin exclusively is a highly suspect endeavor, and one that will lead to a total reduction and increased centralization of funding (as only the ultra-rich have sufficient concentrated incentive to be speculative philanthropists), closed doors in security (no more proof of stake), and is not even necessarily guaranteed to end with Bitcoin willing.
“Most Altcoins are Scams and Bullshit”
In episode 104 of his podcast, the egotistical Brian Sovryn, after briefly speculating that possibly Google is behind the attack on Sony (which he quickly backs away from), goes on to soliloquize about his limited experience with altcoins, denigrates Ethereum, and fails totally to mention Dogecoin or Litecoin or any other coin that has seen mass adoption alongside Bitcoin.
I think I’ve got the perception of the altcoin space now. […] I’m speaking in generalities here. […] I thought there was a community that was genuinely wanting to create innovation in the space of the market, in economics, in commerce, like that they were really wanting to change things up. Everything I’m about to say certainly applies to the world outside of cryptocurrency as well. […] How many failures and scams are there outside of the crypto space? […] If you don’t trust at least Bitcoin […] your perceptions are really fucking skewed. […] I thought that the best product would win [paraphrase]. And I don’t think that’s true anymore. […] I’m going to make the statement to you that […] most altcoins are scams and bullshit, and that no one is interested at all in making a better system, and replacing the system, or even helping the one system that we do want, which is System D. […] Honestly, they’re making a lot of these coins with bullshit innovations, like there’s TileCoin that connects to the Internet of Things and all this stuff. […] I had to think about this for awhile. […] It looks like [Blackcoin] by and large is bullshit now too. […] A lot of them don’t even have any stated purpose. […] I think it’s for money laundering. I don’t have a problem with money laundering. Please don’t misunderstand me. But my point being, this is a way to move sums of money completely under the radar.
While his reasoning – that too many altcoins fail to innovate and rather seem to be solely for the purpose of making money – resonates with this journalist and perhaps with many other cryptocurrency enthusiasts, his assertion that altcoins are primarily for money laundering is absolutely ridiculous, ignorant, and beyond the realm of acceptability.
Why do I say so? First, he gives no evidence of a coin where this has taken place. Silk Road didn’t accept Dogecoin, and Charlie Shrem didn’t go down for laundering in them. In fact, while Bitcoin’s biggest notoriety so far was in relation to an illegal drug market, Dogecoin’s has been the sponsorship of a moon rover robot and a NASCAR team.
He wants to make it clear that he is not a “Bitcoin monogamist,” and he touts one coin, of all the hundreds of possibilities, as being the most viable, NXT. Why NXT? He feels that they are the most innovative. He fails to recognize, it seems, that the nature of OpenSource is that oftentimes the best innovations will happen with a failed project. There are failed coins and doomed-to-fail coins which have implemented features that later find themselves in more successful coins.
He charges that Ethereum employees have been dismissed without pay but provides no reference, and this is why he has no faith in the project. It seems irresponsible to levy a charge like that without spending at least as much time as it took to make the charge to justify it.
It wouldn’t be as bad if he weren’t shilling for NXT, pretending that NXT has even achieved the same acceptance rate of Litecoin, which would be a start. By and large (to borrow one of his favored expressions) he seems to be under-researched and uninformed in his altcoin tirade. We can all agree that there are coins released with specifically, objectively evil intentions and that there are other coins that have been made into tools purely for speculative purposes. We can all further probably agree that it would be nice if developers would consider some true, definitive innovations before launching another new coin. But saying that only Bitcoin and NXT stand up is, frankly, ridiculous.
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