There’s been discussion in the Bitcoin space about the necessary traits for a Bitcoin leader. The idea goes that, with Bitcoin having so many scandals of incompetent/criminal Bitcoin business leaders, there should be a discussion about what it takes to be a Bitcoin leader.
As one recent conference phrased the question, “What does a leader in the Bitcoin space look like, and what traits should today’s budding startups adopt? More than any of the technical aspects of Bitcoin, the development of true leaders in our community will determine whether we evolve independently, or are simply swallowed up as an accessory to the Finance industry.”
It all comes down to personal ethics. If you don’t have a strong ethical code, you don’t have the ability to make truly effective decisions for a community of people, and that includes the Bitcoin community. If Mark Karpeles was not a criminal, then his lack of an ethical compass put him into the situation where he continued to operate though it meant using other people’s money to the point of no return. There was some point in which Karpeles could have taken a step away from the operation and admitted he was in trouble and needed help. This would have been up to his personal ethics to inform him to do this.
So, this question, of what it takes to be a true Bitcoin leader, is mostly demonstrative of the world in which we live and how far gone it is in terms of what’s right and wrong and how individuals should interact with communities. This cultural handicap seems to have major implications for Bitcoin.
The real answer to this question is simple: Ethical leadership, directed by the respect for ethical beliefs and values and for the dignity and rights of others, is what Bitcoin needs if the community is to itself grow. That means Bitcoiners will have to establish themselves as trustworthy, honest, considerate, engaged and fair.
A true Bitcoin leader will value ethical behavior. The ego will not play a driving role in his or her day-to-day. What’s nice is these traits are easy to detect since one must believe them in order to truly live them. A lack of trust is a problem in Bitcoin as past leaders in the Bitcoin space have shown a disregard for the true value of ethics. They often say (or imply) one thing, and do another. These problems aren’t native to the Bitcoin space, but they do exist and since the community is actively discussing this question it’s perceived as an issue.
It is important for the Bitcoin cultural leaders to identify ethics as a Bitcoin virtue so that the code of conduct that naturally develops around Bitcoin dictates ethical expectations. This might not be in the interest of some perceived Bitcoin leaders, however, as this would hold them to the same standard, and if they fail to live up to their advertised ethical code, they will lose their position of prominence.
Without the virtuousness of individuals, in their beliefs, motives and actions, any group of people will become corrupt and ultimately wither on the vine as it loses credibility. The same goes for Bitcoin.
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