This is an opinion editorial by Niko Jilch, a financial journalist based in Vienna, Austria who runs the Fixthemoney Substack and a German podcast called “Was Bitcoin bringt.”
Alright. It seems like we have decided to spend the “cryptowinter” arguing about who is the coolest kid on the block: Bitcoin Maximalists or altcoiners.
This isn’t a new debate but the recent defection of Nic “rising star” Carter and some others from the camp of “toxic maxis” has restarted it. Then there was this thread by Bitcoin core dev Matt Corallo.
Now I’ll gladly start here. Obviously Matt knows what he is talking about regarding Bitcoin. He knows way, way, way more than I do when it comes to the technical side of things. Compared to him I’m nobody.
But still, I’d call myself a Bitcoin Maximalist.
And I disagree that they are a “dying breed.” In fact, if anything, our camp is growing.
Have people forgotten about Luna already? A whole new class of maxis was born the day it collapsed.
We all have our reasons for focusing on Bitcoin. Mine is deeply personal: I want to fix the money. Maybe that’s cheesy or arrogant. But ever since I realized that our monetary system is broken, this has been my obsession.
I didn’t get Bitcoin for years! I was a goldbug, a nocoiner, an altcoiner first.
It took me about seven years to end up as a Bitcoin Maximalist and the pivotal moment was when I decided for myself that it’s now probably too late to “get rich” with Bitcoin.
That little thought opened up a whole new world to me.
So Where Do All The Non-Maxis Come From?
Since then I’ve met all kinds of people. And one thing is for sure. The real Bitcoin Maximalists are a completely different group than the rest of the crypto people. They think and act differently. They are building a social network on top of the monetary network.
So what about the non-maxis?
My experience has been that many people who came to Bitcoin with a purely technical perspective like to look at newer projects (altcoins) and what these projects aim to achieve. After all, wasn’t it the intellectual curiosity that brought them to Bitcoin in the first place?
Many of these “nerds” (I mean this in the nicest way possible, I love you all!) also came to Bitcoin early and are now rich beyond their imaginations — they might even be a little bit bored with Bitcoin by now.
For them, being “Bitcoin only” doesn’t make much sense. Matt has contributed more to Bitcoin than I ever will. Why shouldn’t he be curious about other things? Good for him!
Number Go Up — That’s How Bitcoin Lures You In
Nic Carter comes from the investing side of things. This is where many altcoiners come from, the small and the big ones.
That’s a different group.
Some were early and already got rich with Bitcoin. They now look for their next big payday. Others feel they “missed” Bitcoin and look for their opportunity to grow. I can understand them better because I was one of them. In fact, I imagine that almost all newcomers fall into this group.
Number go up.
That’s how Bitcoin (and crypto) lures you in. And that’s ok. It’s like a Trojan horse. Someone once said: “Bitcoin is a revolution that protects itself by making the revolutionaries rich and incorruptible.”
Well, it turns out the lust for ever more wealth and status is part of human nature today and even rich Bitcoiners can be enticed by even more money. This should come as no surprise after decades of inflation, fiat money, consumerism and high time-preference.
That’s also the crux of my argument here.
We Need To Separate Money And State
Carl von Clausewitz said that, “War is the continuation of politics by other means.”
Altcoins, DeFi, NFTs and proof-of-stake are the continuation of fiat money by other means.
I get way more out of fighting to fix the money than chasing the next fiat high.
I want to play my part in making sure that the Bitcoin network survives and thrives. I don’t know much about computers or trading but I know how to write, talk, make podcasts and videos — so that’s what I’m doing.
I want to see the fiat experiment end. I want to know what that will do to our precious investment theories. And to be honest, I don’t see this as limiting either. Scarcity is so important to us as human beings, it literally is what helps us start our lives. Ask any trust fund baby. I think money is a good like any other. I think the market for money has been distorted by the state for so long, it hardly existed before Bitcoin arrived.
We need to separate money and state. I think Bitcoin is our best (and maybe only) shot to do this.
That’s why I’m Bitcoin only. That’s why I’m a Maximalist. We need to fix the money first.
Then we can talk about the value of your JPG of an ape.
This is a guest post by Nikolaus Jilch. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC, Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.