Ask Doctor Bitcoin: What is Bitcoin Maximalism? [Free, #7]

An examination into the culture and tribe that spawned blockchain and gatekeep the technology to this day.

Well, hello there!

It’s been an interesting last few days in Bitcoin and crypto, but the news cycle hasn’t been dominated by any one topic, so I figured I’d take this gap issue to talk a bit about crypto and blockchain culture.

This is by no means an exhaustive exploration of all thinks crypto culture, but more of a dip of the toe into perhaps one of the most vocal parts of it: Bitcoin Maximalism.

I strongly identify with the tribe that calls themselves “Bitcoin Maximalists,” because many of their traditions and viewpoints are rooted in a form of purism meant to prevent bad actors and unsustainable schemes from infiltrating the wallets of newbies.

As someone who’s been a student of not just Bitcoin and blockchain but the cypherpunk culture that has preceded it, though, I’ve got a slightly wider perspective than most on the topic. Read on to learn more about it!

I want to expound more on cypherpunk culture and figures in future issues, so let me know what you think of the bits of it we examined this week.

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Blockchain Bulletin

  • Bitcoin and Ethereum markets tumble after hitting all-time highs. The Bitcoin and Ethereum markets dropped from all-time highs in mid-April -- bitcoin dipped below $50,000 and ether fell below $2,320.

  • TIME Magazine now accepts cryptocurrency for 18-month digital subscriptions. In partnership with Crypto.com, TIME Magazine will now accept cryptocurrency for digital magazine subscriptions.

  • It is now possible to buy and sell crypto on Venmo. Venmo, the mobile payment service owned by PayPal, has made it possible to invest in crypto in the app.

  • DeFi Protocol Offering $1 Million in Ecosystem Grants.The flash loan protocol is looking for new use cases from developers, experts, and finance gurus.

Blockchain Behind the Scenes

  • Why is venture capital flowing into NFT marketplaces? With the recent massive public interest focused on non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, venture capital investment firms are putting more money into NFT marketplaces.

  • Blockchain.com considering a public listing. Following suit behind the Coinbase IPO, Blockchain.com has signaled that depending on market conditions, the cryptocurrency exchange may consider a public listing.

Blockchain Deep Dive: What is Bitcoin Maximalism?

  • Bitcoin maximalism as a practice emerged as a response to trolls (r/bitcoin v. r/buttcoin).

  • Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin coined the term derisively.

  • It was almost immediately adopted as a cloak of pride.

  • It’s been defined many ways, but never more succinctly summarized than when Ohio Congressman Warren Davis quipped during a hearing: “If it’s not Bitcoin, it’s a shitcoin.”

  • I strongly identify with the tribe of Bitcoin maximalists, but am more in favor of what I term “cypherpunk maximalism,” which is the culture from which bitcoin emerged.

  • Cypherpunk maximalism has the ability to provide the shitcoin defensiveness inherent to bitcoin maximalism while still allowing for other world-changing decentralized and federated technologies to be examined.

I spent a lot more words talking about this topic (like a lot! I hit the substack limit!) as well as projects I feel like fit the bill of “cypherpunk maximalism,” all available in the long form post.

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