“The lower the stakes, the more intense the dispute.”
The Narcissism Of Small Differences
Bitcoin and the crypto world have enjoyed a phenomenal decade. Despite the fact that Bitcoin is perhaps the most disruptive technology to the status quo since the printing press, the powers-that-be have mostly left us alone. Sure, exchanges have been obliged to perform KYC measures, there’ve been a few darkmarket arrests, China banned Bitcoin a few times and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission went after some ICOs. But these regulatory responses are the bare minimum, the same regulations are applied to the very scary antiques market.
For a decade, we have been left largely to our own devices while enjoying the unprecedented luxury of a growth rate that has averaged thousands percent. To be extremely successful, all you had to do was buy some bitcoin and then do nothing. In fact, you didn’t even need to do that, you could have chosen the cryptocurrency you were going to buy by throwing darts while drunk and blindfolded and you still would have seemed like a genius for buying XRP.
So, we did what people always do when they are free from any real troubles — we turned on each other. Bitcoin hated Ethereum. BCH hated Bitcoin. Monero hated Zcash. And everyone hated Ripple. We whiled away the hours of our idyllic age of innocence, by going to Twitter and telling people to “have fun staying poor… idiot.” It felt important.
Undoubtedly there are important differences between Bitcoin and, say, Ethereum. There might also be a very real sense in which they are competing with each other. While we had no problems more important to attend to, the rivalry, and its intensity, perhaps made sense.
End Of Innocence
This tribalism is soon going to come to a very sudden end. Bitcoin and crypto have become too big to ignore. Leviathan is stirring. Even in the minds of the most unimaginative of bureaucrats, the…