The crypto sphere is becoming a little like a football league table. Owners decide to give their allegiance to a particular ‘team’: let’s say Bitcoin is Real Madrid, and that’s your main team, and your friend likes ETH, let’s call it Arsenal. However, is being part of the Bitcoin fan club, and therefore competing with ETH supporters a healthy way to develop the potential of cryptocurrency?
People have a tendency to take a ‘tribal’ approach to pretty much everything, from dietary choices, to coffee brands, to football teams. But, it isn’t very helpful for crypto. Here’s why.
The cypherpunks had a beautiful idea
Privacy, free speech, and the ability to act as an autonomous individual are increasingly under attack, but decentralisation can protect these. Let us not forget that blockchain technology arose out of a community of cypherpunks who wanted more freedoms. Yet, it looks as though the crypto community now is just going to bow its head to the centralised institutions and retreat into the same old narrow-minded worldview.
As Kent Barton describes it in Medium: “The prevailing question has insidiously morphed from “how can we make the world a better place?” to “how can we defeat other blockchain platforms?”
He also argues that tribalism in the crypto sphere, “distracts the community from the crucial work of building scalable technologies that people will want to use.” And he adds, “Personal attacks and outright trolling make the environment uncomfortable or even untenable for newcomers.”
Social media channels have developed an “Us vs Them” discourse and influencers, like rocks stars, with their adoring fans fight it out with other influencers for the Top Dog spot.
Let’s show some respect
Measured and respectful discussion about the merits of various cryptocurrencies have been replaced with increasingly emotions attacks form the ‘opposition.’
Bartons says: “To an outsider, it must seem ludicrous to watch countless smart minds working on blockchain technology — developers, entrepreneurs, and other enthusiasts gifted with an ability to think outside the box and see a vision for a better future — descend into internecine bickering.”
And all the while the team battles are at the forefront of activity, the less time is being devoted to advancing the blockchain, and it is probably fair to say that this boils down to it being all about the money; not about cryptocurrency itself, but making millions and billions of fiat currency out of cryptocurrency. And that takes everyone back to the status quo before the blockchain emerged as tool for a real revolution that could make the world a better place and take power away from those who have had control of it for too long.
Say goodbye to the zero-sum game
Tribalism in crypto, particularly the desire to see one platform emerge as the winner at the expense of another will mean that we continue to be the slaves of power-holders, rather than channelling the power of the blockchain so that the people can reclaim power for themselves – at least some of it.
We will miss this opportunity by only supporting one team – it’s time to be an O.G. crypto fan and support the whole blockchain ecosystem rather than continue this zero-sum game.