If you’ve been in bitcoin for a cycle, engaged with people about it, or decided to give your opinion on bitcoin to the wider world on social media, you’ve probably caught some heat for it, right? I know I have; I am the greater fool boomer coin Ponzi bag holder boiling the oceans with something that has no intrinsic value apart from being rat poison squared.
Does that sound like an apt description of bitcoin?
If bitcoin is a parallel system of exchanging record-keeping of figures that can be exchanged for goods and services in different markets, why is it so controversial?
Why do people have so much hate for a database that is completely opt-in?
Why do they have a problem with people who want to purchase, hold figures on this database and promote the use of this database to others? Is an open method of accounting where anyone can see what is going on at any one time such a sinister invention, or is there more at play?
Have you ever wondered why people wake up daily to find ways to hate and discredit something that no one is forcing anyone to use?
Bitcoin has no founders; it has no marketing department or portfolio manager; it’s a grass routes network that expanded over time as people learned about it and started to use it. Anyone who got into bitcoin did so of their own free will, as did those who left bitcoin.
So why all the tears from those who hate it? Let’s find out
Lack of understanding
We live in a world of instant gratification; if something can’t be explained in a tweet or a TikTok, it’s probably not worth caring about, so I’ll outsource my opinion to someone I trust and assume did the work on learning about it. Yes, instead of running a bitcoin node, reading the guides and mountains of content about it, you trust some publication, influencer, or advisor who also didn’t do any of that.
It’s a case of trusting over verifying that perpetuates the lack of understanding of bitcoin. I would always encourage a person first to buy a small amount of bitcoin and send it to someone, try it out; if you still think it’s stupid, then at least it’s based on your experience.
Yet most people who shun bitcoin have no idea how their browser works to access their email, yet use it every day and love it. Yet, at the same time will discount the fact that they don’t know anything about cryptography, distributed systems, and mining or how this compares to legacy finance. No, they’ll dismiss all of that and leapfrog it because I don’t understand it; it must be based on nothing and therefore has no value.
This is tribalism 101 and is where 90% of the population lives, in the bubble of group think.
Ego and participation trophy kids
If something seems complex or hard to grasp without hours of research, usage or practice, it doesn’t sit well with the generation of humans we have today; we’re all about discounting the future, and it’s all about instant gratification. You’ve been told you’re smart and special all your life; it’s a given; look how far you’ve come without knowing anything about bitcoin.
Now, this thing comes along that you don’t understand, and your ego won’t allow you to humble yourself and say, hey, here is something I know nothing about; perhaps I should commit hours to it before formulating an option.
No, you’re a special snowflake, and your gut instinct says bitcoin is stupid, and that’s that; I don’t want to read, I don’t want to learn, I want to throw a tantrum.
Whenever something new comes along, people will shun it; it seems strange because you’ve never seen anything like it before; you don’t want to be the first one through the door, as you might get a bloody nose. Despite over a decade track record, where people have been rewarded for their use of the network, it’s still not enough to overcome your fear.
What people don’t understand is fear doesn’t go away; the only thing you can do is build your conviction, and that comes through work. Learning how bitcoin works, why it works and how to get this tool to work for you.
To learn, you also need to get your hands dirty, or you won’t have lessons seared into your brain, and that comes at the cost of time and money. Ask any bitcoin today if they had a perfect run, and they will share a story on how they lost money and learned from it. Sometimes you need to take a bullet for your beliefs, or they’re not your beliefs, to begin with.
High-time preference habits
There are plenty of people who got into bitcoin without doing their research and with the aim of short-term profits. As is the case with bitcoin, if you come into it with a high-time preference, you will lose money and feel scammed. Greed is their driver, not patience, and it’s a lesson that many will experience, but few will take the time to learn from it and grow.
Time in the market is more important than timing the market, but when you’re keen on getting rich quick, you don’t want to hear that and will listen to those who will tell you what you want to hear, not what you need to hear. Once you lose money, you’ll blame it on someone else or on bitcoin, but never on yourself.
Bitcoin doesn’t know it’s volatile, it’s merely pushing out coins and moving them around every 10 minutes, what people pay to get a hold of one is a secondary market. However, when the fiat world and bitcoin world meet, we find price discovery and since there is no market actor to regulate it, it regulates itself through volatility.
Volatility shakes weak hands loose but strengthens the veterans and as weak hands lose conviction due to media articles, social pressure, lack of understanding, price sensitivity and more, they sell off and pocket losses. When you pocket a loss, you have two choices, learn where you made a mistake and be humble enough to accept your fault or blame bitcoin.
Blaming bitcoin is a lot easier, so what do you expect?
Also known as shitcoiners think their altcoin is better, less energy-consuming, more decentralised, faster, more user-friendly or has partnerships or is bank-friendly (oxymoron). Altcoins are the primary greed and idiot tax in the digital asset space, if you don’t plan to do the work or you think bitcoin is not enough for you, you’ll fall for one of these scams. Once they take all your money, you may come back to bitcoin a little poorer but a lot wiser.
Altcoins are created purposefully to divert capital that would have gone to bitcoin, to half-baked tech companies that have no intention of delivering a workable product. Can you name any altcoin people would be distraught over if it disappeared tomorrow?
Altcoin proponents will try to attack bitcoin in the hope that users will also follow them to make the same mistake, allowing them to get out in the greater fool theory. While Altcoin founders are looking to generate high returns by selling you vaporware, they minted out of thin air and will craft any narrative to make that a reality.
There are over 20,000 altcoins now, and all altcoins have a leader, a CEO or a cult figure promoting them to try and solicit funds that would have gone to bitcoin to come to their ecosystem. They are not looking to compete with bitcoin, only to leverage the idea that buying more than one asset in a certain category is a smart investment play.
They rely on the idea of “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” and use that as a vehicle to get people to divert some of their funds into a system they control or have a stake in, selling it to unsuspecting new users so these insiders or traders can get more fiat or more bitcoin.
The idea of diversification into altcoins makes no sense since they are all leveraged bets on bitcoin and track with its movements.
Some people who come into the space with bad takes and more ego will be met with confrontation and if you don’t have a thick skin, you’ll end up in tears. These people find bitcoin maximalists too unforgiving, self-righteous and zealous, and would rather side with other altcoiners or no coiners than a bitcoiner, simply because they don’t need to earn their status; they are openly welcomed.
Sure the maxi’s are an unforgiving crowd, and they can be a bit harsh at times, but the truth is the truth, and if you think you’re too smart and have a hot take, you best not miss when you fire that shot or you will get carted off the field in a stretcher.
No one likes to be told they’ve made a mistake, especially in public discourse and especially when it comes with a healthy dose of humiliation, so instead of learning from it, you double down and become a little bitcoin basher.
The ESG crowd
Proof of work (BTC) vs Proof of Stake (Altcoins) is a hot topic of late, as energy markets continue to falter, and with so much hate how bitcoin’s open nature shows how much energy it burns, its an easy target to point to as a bad actor.
Since we don’t have direct calculations of how Christmas lights, hairdryers and kettles use, nor how banks waste energy or your tweets, no one is willing to admit there is no fair comparison here. These people take absolute energy numbers and throw them around as if it’s the gospel to end all bitcoin mining, and there is nothing you can do about it.
The ESG crowd see no value in bitcoin and all the value in reducing our energy use at all costs. If studies proved that all of us running into the ocean and drowning would reduce carbon, you bet they’d be backing it.
It doesn’t matter that bitcoin is more efficient in energy use than traditional banking by magnitudes more, it doesn’t matter if renewables are part of the mining process, it doesn’t matter that mining is an opt-in market that people choose to do with the time and energy they earned and paid for no, bitcoin uses energy.
Therefore, it is bad.
Bitcoin only has 21 Million coins, or rather three satoshis shy of that, if you want to be technical, 19 million have been mined, and a few million have already been lost. When something is that scarce and continues to gain scarcity, your fear of missing out kicks in. You fall for unit bias; since you can’t have 1 or 10, or 100, you want none and shun it all.
You don’t want to face the idea that your holdings may only be a fraction of bitcoin, known as satoshis and would rather have “a lot of fiat” than a fraction of a bitcoin.
As your unit bias continues to see you lose out in purchasing power terms, the scarcity aspect only drives these people to hold on to their ideas of fiat unit wealth which harm themselves and then redirect that anger onto bitcoin.
It’s because of bitcoin that my fiat is worth less.
All of us alive today have lived under one or more fiat regimes, and very few have an appreciation for monetary history. We base our lives and decisions on the last few decades, never mind a century of monetary history, which even then excludes a lot of valuable lessons. Under this fractional reserve fiat system of ever-expanding credit, you need to go out and get a yield, you need to earn interest, or you’ll fall behind.
Now bitcoin comes along and throws that idea of holding value out the window, it simply says store a figure you can claim in a database, and no one can dilute you because the maximum amount is 21 million.
Now when you’ve been so focused on winning the fiat game, when you’ve put so much energy and time into understanding how it works and to get the most out of it, when a new game comes along where those tactics no longer work, you’re not going to be keen to play it.
In fact, you’ll want to get people to avoid moving to the new game, to keep them in your game, as the more players in the fiat game, the better it is for you. As people move to the bitcoin game and begin to benefit while you avoid it because of fiat inertia, you’ll tend to grow cold and bitter towards bitcoin.
Bitcoiners are the best bitcoin critics
To the bitcoin tourist or critic who tries to engage with bitcoin advocates online, you mistake the cheerleading for blind enthusiasm, and to a true degree. There is a cohort of people in bitcoin who have no clue what they’re talking about, rehashing talking points of others as their own, and it’s easy to think that’s all bitcoiners do.
However, if you take the time to drill down into discussions, away from the podcasters and the money managers, and speak to the researchers, founders, builders and plebs, you’ll find a host of debates on how bitcoin and bitcoin leveraging technology has issues.
What are the possible trade-offs to overcome it and several unknowns that have yet to even be tackled.
Bitcoin is not a silver bullet as it is today, but it is an option and completely opt-in system; you can choose to ignore it or use it.
No one is forcing you to learn about bitcoin, to buy bitcoin or to hold bitcoin, so why are you forcing bitcoiners to listen to debunked critiques that were settled in 2009 – 2018? If you are going to FUD it, at least bring out some new talking points for us to discuss. Surely you can do better if you want to attack this thing that you’ve failed to kill for 13 years now.
Bitcoin can take the hate, can you?
Bitcoin doesn’t have feelings; it doesn’t know what people are pricing it at, how it is seen, through what framework or lens; it doesn’t understand the macro; it’s a self-contained, self-referential system. All it is, is a ledger for moving figures around; how people use those figures and trade with one another is a secondary market.
Anything you place on it in terms of narrative is your own interpretation, so you can call it a Ponzi, call it a greater fool theory, rat poison, or an environmental crisis; bitcoin honey badger doesn’t care.
The software will continue to work as long as participants feel it is worth supporting and until every node runner and every miner in the world calls it quits, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
So best you get used to bitcoin and learn more about it. Tick-tock, next block!