Bad Bcore arguments that the BCH community should never adopt itself:
1/ False appeals to altruism. If your technology and movement rely on people behaving against their self interest, you will lose. Profit and principle are two sides of the same coin.
— Derek Magill (@derekmagill) May 1, 2018
I’d like to expand in this essay on a “tweet storm” I wrote up today after a few weeks of studying what I consider to be some concerning dynamics in the Bitcoin Cash space. I’ve written before about how to promote Bitcoin Cash. Consider this a guide on how to not make your arguments about Bitcoin Cash in the community. To begin however, let’s remind ourselves of a little history…
What we’ve witnessed in the last few years of Bitcoin is no less than a complete evolution in how we think about the technology. Gone are the illusions that Bitcoin is immune to bad actors or that it is on some inevitable course towards changing history. BTC was co-opted from within by a small cartel of economically illiterate techno-fascists and a large group of useful idiots. We are in the middle of a great experiment with Bitcoin Cash to see if we can prevent it from happening again.
Though I’m very optimistic, I’ve seen a small but growing number of arguments on Twitter that are worth considering, especially after Mike Hearn curiously pointed out in his recent AMA that he was concerned that the Bitcoin Cash community looks very much like the Bitcoin community did years ago. He may or may not be right, but I think it’s important to understand that the kind of community we now see on the Core side did not happen overnight. It was a long, slow grind that seems predictable in hindsight but which ultimately succeeded in destroying the BTC chain.
While I don’t have all the answers for how we can guard against this and I think only time will tell if this experiment can succeed, I do think one thing to watch out for is the gradual infiltration of Bitcoin Core arguments in the Bitcoin Cash community. Over time this will create a toxic intellectual culture ripe for takeover. I won’t point out names and I have no hard feelings towards anyone who has made these arguments recently at all, but let’s look at some of these that I’ve seen recently and why we should not use them:
1/ False appeals to altruism. You see this from Core all the time. Roger Ver is evil because he allegedly wants to “make money.” Bitcoin Cash users have “no principles, only profit.” I’d go even further and say that a substantial part of their case against BCH rests entirely on the claim that Bitcoin Cash users were not selfless enough to give up on their vision for what Bitcoin should be. Since I’ve seen it recently in some community threads about Bitcoin Cash, let me state again that if your technology and movement rely on people behaving against their self interest, you will lose. Profit and principle are two sides of the same coin.
2/ Theoretical bitcoiners or confused noobs (Segwit Justice Warriors). Just because you can conjure up some imaginary confused person does not mean they actually exist. The recent lawsuits from the Core gestapo against Bitcoin.com based entirely on fake victims are one example, but I’ve seen it quite a few times recently as well in debating issues amongst ourselves. As a general rule, if you don’t know a “confused noob” personally or haven’t experienced it yourself, don’t bring it up as an argument for your position on Bitcoin Cash. Core treats it as a blank check on any argument and you can see all the damage it has done.
3/ The character of individual actors. We’re in the middle of an experiment: can Bitcoin survive bad actors or not? If it can, we don’t need to care about their character. If it can’t and we think we need to care, we should find another coin now before history repeats itself. We need a system that is truly trustless and immune to frauds, real or imaginary. Bitcoin Cash will not succeed if you feel the need to ostracize everyone in the community you don’t like on Twitter.
4/ Dogmatic maximalism. I would like to see Bitcoin Cash be the one coin to rule them all and I think monetary theory suggests we only need one. But don’t go on moral witch hunts against BCHers who accept other coins. That behavior is for Core. This relates to point 1. Allow people to act in what they consider to be their personal interest and allow yourself to act in kind. A culture of shaming people into owning only one particular coin is a culture ready for takeover.
5/ “Bitcoin Cash needs better spokespeople than X people.” I’ve seen this a few times recently (stupid). If you want to see that, identify a specific person or become that person yourself. I’m sure they would love the help (great work by the way). Criticize by creating should our motto. Core wants us to turn on each other. They operate by FUD, subversion and character assassination. Don’t like someone? Do their job better than them.
6/ “You’re not a developer.” Bitcoin Cash needs more non-techies to succeed than techies. And remember it takes way less tech knowledge to demonstrate why something doesn’t work than to make it work. The cult of developer is a dead end and we’ve seen it’s disastrous consequences unfold in high fees and slow transactions from Core. Allow voices from all industries and walks of life. Do not default on the responsibility of independent thought because a group of developers say they know best.
7/ “That’s a stupid use a block space.” It is not the job of anyone to say what the blocks can or can’t be used for. Any use should be welcomed openly and with excitement. Core wants to centrally plan block usage. Let’s not repeat the same mistake.
There are others and I’ll write about them as I see them, but as a general operating principle, Bitcoin Core has offered us a wonderful lesson in what not to do. Let’s not forget it.
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