This is an opinion editorial by Nozomi HayaseBitcoin Magazine contributor.
Recently, a prominent venture capitalist, Nic Carter of Castle Island Ventures, came under scrutiny on Bitcoin Twitter. It was stacked by Bitcoiners on controversial involving his company’s investment in a company called Dynamic which uses a Web3 wallet platform.
In response to their outrage, Carter wrote an article titled “Setting the Clocks on Time”. Or: a eulogy for Bitcoin maximalism. There, he criticized Bitcoin Maximalism as an ideology and claimed that a small group of people who got wrapped up in it, imbued the Bitcoin space with a terrible disease. But is it true? What is Bitcoin Maximalism?
Pete Rizzo, editor of Bitcoin Magazine, wrote an excellent article address this issue. He analyzed how the evolving narrative around Bitcoin maximalists is a culture war. This narrative is the legacy system’s attempt to co-opt Bitcoin’s new monetary system that diverges from the speculative casino economy of Wall Street.
Rizzo roughly defined Bitcoin Maximalists as a group that believes bitcoin is a computer invention and is the only decentralized cryptocurrency. It is the critical value proposition that makes Bitcoin the world’s first non-state monetary system, and it is what differentiates it from all other cryptocurrencies.
Those who recognize Bitcoin’s special property known as proof of work have become a strong proponent of this technology. They regularly speak enthusiastically about its importance. The statements made often have the following themes:
“Bitcoin is the hardest money ever created.”
“Bitcoin could shut down the Federal Reserve and stop their insidious money printing that steals our hard-earned value through taxation and inflation.”
“He will deliver mankind from the evil of central banks.”
With a passion that accompanies religious zest and fervor, the Bitcoin Maximalists spread their message in hopes of orangening their coin-operated families and friends. Much like the apostles of Jesus Christ who were challenged by those unwilling to worship Jesus, Bitcoin evangelism is also met with indifference and opposition.
From the very beginning of its development, Bitcoin attracted detractors and hatred. From economists and bankers to policy makers, those entrenched in the inherited system saw it as a threat to their existence. They blasted Bitcoin with sensational media headlines describing it as a Ponzi scheme and “too volatile to be a store of value.”
Bitcoin die-hards have taken their missionary work to another level. They began to actively defend the fundamental values of the protocol. Slowly Bitcoin maximalism emerged with sets of moral principles, like the path of the peaceful warrior.
In exploring this moral code, I will turn to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the formula he put forward to engage people in the fight for civil rights. King didn’t live long enough to see the arrival of Bitcoin, but if he were alive today I think he would be a natural ally with Bitcoiners as he fought against the inherent injustice and oppression to the imperialist US petrodollar system. It would recognize and embrace the revolutionary power of technology that could abolish debt slavery and financial apartheid, eradicating poverty and war.
In his fight for freedom, King drew inspiration from the gospel and used its guidance to overcome the adversaries he faced. King examined the teachings of Jesus that he gave to his followers. It can be summed up in one sentence as follows:
“So be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” — Matthew 10:16
In one of his sermons, King decoded that wisdom which combines seemingly opposite characteristics. By mixing the hardness of the snake and the softness of the dove, he created a formula of action, which he called “A hard spirit and a tender heart”.
Let’s first look at the characteristics of a hard mind. King described it as “incisive thought, realistic assessment and decisive judgment”. He said:
“The hard-minded individual is sharp and penetrating, breaking through the crust of legends and myths and separating the true from the false. The hard-minded individual is shrewd and shrewd. He [or she] has a strong, austere quality that ensures firmness of purpose and solidity of commitment.
He pointed out how rare individuals with a tough mind are and that most people are willing to settle for half-truths. He noted how soft-minded people are gullible and easily influenced by advertisements and the media.
Developing and exercising this tough spirit is one of the essential codes of conduct for Bitcoin Maximalism. Many who claim to be maximalists engage in rigorous intellectual endeavour. They dedicate time and energy to understanding the real innovation behind Bitcoin and how proof-of-work mining offers unique utility that other chains don’t. We see this display of a tough mind in the Bitcoin space.
When Nic Carter made a comment On proof of stake, applied cryptography consultant Peter Todd quickly appealed to his lack of technical knowledge:
Bitcoin consultant and educator Giacomo Zucco also chimed in to provide some clarification:
While influencers and scammers try to exploit newbies, hard-minded individuals bring discernment. Adam Back, cryptographer and inventor of hashcash, who has warned on speculative altcoins, explained the basic difference between bitcoin and other coins:
Call It’s a “swarm of cyber hornets”, Michael Saylor acknowledged the maximalists’ display of a tough mind generating a kind of intelligence. While some see its value, others see it negatively. Those who have been challenged by the sharp wits of the maximalists claim they are mean and aggressive. They even created the “toxic maximalist” label.
But this tough spirit is only one aspect of Bitcoin maximalism. In itself, it is not complete. The path of the peaceful warrior demands creative synthesis with its opposite.
After stressing the importance of a tough mind, King urged us not to stop his development. He said“A hard mind without a soft heart is cold and detached. It leaves life like a perpetual winter devoid of the warmth of spring and the sweet warmth of summer.
Describing a hard-hearted person lacking true compassion and concern for the pains and sufferings of other human beings, he reminded us to cultivate a soft heart.
The founder of Bull Bitcoin, Francis Pouliot, articulates qualities of Bitcoin Maximalists that are often overlooked:
It is a sense of moral responsibility and obligation to the public that motivates many actions of maximalists:
With their soft hearts, Bitcoin Maximalists can help people identify scams and stay safe from fraud:
Der Gigi points out that what qualifies as toxicity is an expression of love:
This “Satoshi love” transcends borders through people’s creative efforts. Artists demonstrate great mastery of the power of the heart. Using their creativity, musicians, painters and meme creators gently invite people to open their minds and look at things in new ways, helping them to challenge their preconceived idea of what money is. :
The kindness and generosity of individuals drives adoption by nation states:
Bitcoin “High Priest” Max Keizer and “Fairy Godmother” Stacy Herbert, who have been strong supporters of Bitcoin since its early years, are now expanding their mission to help the people of El Salvador, the country that has adopted a bitcoin standard. The pair distributed a generous amount of bitcoin and meet with residents who had been injured by gangs.
The road to decentralization
I hear a lot of people in the bitcoin community say that bitcoin is like a teacher and it helps them become a better person.
I see Bitcoin Maximalists as those who are inspired by Bitcoin and aim to maximize the values it represents. In this sense, I say that Bitcoin Maximalism is not an ideology and a fixed thing. Rather, it is a process and an effort to become in which individuals enter and engage of their own volition.
Bitcoin itself embodies the creative synthesis of opposites: tough-minded and soft-hearted. At the heart of the protocol is resistance to censorship. It is the heart that accepts our radical differences.
Bitcoin is an open and inclusive network that does not discriminate against anyone. With the principle of consensus, it does not force anyone to act against their own will. This “magic currency of the internet” thrives on diversity, while enforcing the rules and maintaining the unity of a network. With a tough mind, computer knowledge and strong cryptography, Bitcoin defends everyone’s freedom and secures the network.
The era of modern central banking has brought a lot of pain and suffering to our society. Now Bitcoin is creating the separation of money and state for the first time in history. It gives humanity the opportunity to break with the oppressive past.
As inflation accelerates, combined with growing geopolitical conflicts, decimating our economy, the world is rapidly heading towards an abyss of chaos. In this sea of darkness, Bitcoin offers a lifeboat.
The need for Bitcoin adoption is increasing day by day. In the coming years, as Bitcoin increases in value, attacks on the network will intensify. Bitcoiners must remain vigilant and alert. At the same time, we must develop the capacity for empathy and understanding for those who have not yet seen the light on the other side.
Bitcoin is for everyone. The path to decentralization is paved through each of us who engages in the practice of Bitcoin maximalism. We must become the peaceful warrior to build a road to hyperbitcoinization, delivering freedom, justice, and prosperity for all.
This is a guest post by Nozomi Hayase. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.