Business Maximalism or extremism? The case of Andreas Antonopoulos...

Maximalism or extremism? The case of Andreas Antonopoulos and the guardians of Bitcoin

Key facts:
  • Andreas Antonopoulos has been criticized for not radicalizing his opinion on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

  • Are we able to nuance political convictions for the sake of Bitcoin adoption?

For more than 5 years, Andreas Antonopoulos has moderated a YouTube channel with hundreds of explanatory videos about Bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrencies. Becoming one of the main spokespersons that every first-time user usually turns to when they take this path. Andreas has been opening the door to new bitcoiners for a long time.

The friendly terms in your conversation, along with the concrete explanation of the fundamental terms of this topic; consistency and discipline, which is extended to live broadcasts, consultancies and talks at conferences around the world, have made Antonopoulos perhaps the most recognizable popularizer so far from the Bitcoin ecosystem.

His effort to make sense of all the information and imagination about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies has been supported by donations, always making clear his independence as a content creator. Although from the beginning Antonopoulos has focused on disseminating knowledge about Bitcoin, he has never expressed feeling part of a radically maximalist trend around the original cryptocurrency.

It is clear that he has helped to disseminate a lot of information, also having brilliant interventions of a reflective and non-technical nature throughout his career. But in the eyes of some personalities in the ecosystem, Antonopoulos has changed, diverting his attention to other areas, commenting on topics that could be controversial for Bitcoin fans: Ethereum and DeFi.

The opportunity to redeem himself in the face of criticism from the maximalist sector came just over a week ago. In a conversation in the podcast the Peter McCormack, ‘What Bitcoin Did: Doest Bitcoin have gatekeepers’, (¿Bitcoin tiene porteros?), Antonopoulos commented on the pressures he has received from more radical factions of the diverse set of ideologies that orbit Bitcoin.

Antonopoulos made reference to social consensus, as a way of establishing parameters around knowledge and thinking about Bitcoin. Considering that it is valid to adopt a set of ideas that lead us to forge a criterion about what is Bitcoin and what is not, he also mentioned that it is not valid to block the particular experience of each individual in this aspect.

“If we continue to expand the set of principles to defend, at some point we will border on the absurd. If we put together a lot of political ideas with which we strongly identify from a worldview, and we associate them exclusively with the vision of what Bitcoin is; keeping those who disagree at bay, at that moment it becomes unproductive. The question is where do we draw the line? What set of principles can we elevate to the level of purity expected of a new Bitcoin user? ”

Andreas Antonopoulos

Andreas went on to explain how social movements such as the French, Russian and American revolutions fell into decline because of this behavior. Thus he stated that the “admission test” for new bitcoiners it becomes so demanding that no one can pass it, unless they lie.

“Regulate how much level of technical knowledge should a user, commentator, podcaster or educator seems to me to pass the line. Separating the purists from the non-purists is tribalism and is toxic, “he said.

Later, in a thread of comments On Twitter, Andreas pointed out how in addition to receiving criticism after this episode premiered, he also received threats, insults and other types of cyberbullying. Even some co-authors of his book ‘The Internet of Money ‘ they were pressured to stop working with him. Of course, he also received the support of dozens of followers, although the offenses and attacks ad-hominen they are still regrettable.

Antonopoulos cites how great political revolutions become corrupted and lose their goals. Source: WikiImages /

On the other side of the question posed by the podcast (Does Bitcoin have gatekeepers?), Pierre Rochard, investment consultant and Bitcoin maximalist, has been sharing his impressions on how Antonopoulos, McCormack, and others have become the anti-maximalist gatekeepers of the space.

Rochard comments wryly that yes, maximalists are swashbuckling Bitcoin, but arguing that, since individual experience is decisive for new users’ learning, no one better than a maximalist to help new users focus on the original cryptocurrency and not in other projects in the ecosystem.

However, more seriously, Rochard clarified that he does not agree that no one is believed to be a Bitcoin gatekeeper. “Only you can prevent you from using Bitcoin. You are your own goalkeeper. You are your own test of purity. It’s all in your head”, commented.

Political convictions around Bitcoin: valid but toxic?

Considering Bitcoin as one of those inventions that wind the clock of the history of humanity; Of those creations crucial to the development of our species and the overcoming of old paradigms, perhaps Bitcoin can align itself more with certain modern political ideas than with others.

After all, yes, it is a technical implementation that works without stopping and that is indifferent to what you might think from the real world. But we know that its creator did not do it exclusively with that in mind, but a series of considerations about the nature of money and the individual’s prior experience with historically predominant institutions.

This can be evidenced in Satoshi Nakamoto’s own words before disappearing, such as in an email where you comment how Bitcoin is more attractive from a libertarian trend; The in another message where he points to the role that Bitcoin will play in winning the arms race against governments and escaping their control.

The political, philosophical and ethical implications of Bitcoin seem obvious when we talk about decentralization, free exchange, consensus, private property, sovereignty, limited and deflationary issuance, proof of work (PoW) and freedom.

If we transfer all these elements to the other cryptocurrency protocols, taking them as the noblest requirements, we frequently find that very little is met and that Bitcoin continues to be the best example of this. ethos.

However in modern times where subjectivity always finds a place, I think it is important not to reduce the debate to a set only one of precepts, although in my opinion Bitcoin is more aligned with certain ideas than with others.

Regardless of the perspective you want to assume, the sum of all individual experiences will determine the success of Bitcoin. But this success will always be seen from a relative point of view; Unless we speak of a hypothetical event, in which we will not delve into this writing, that by means of an inevitable catastrophe eliminates this network completely from our reality.

btc economic benefit uses
The path of Bitcoin is best traveled from individual experience. Source: jplenio /

It is this diversity of ideas that guarantees that each individual has an enriching and educational experience about Bitcoin, for their economic benefit or not. There is no single gateway to Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is presented differently for everyone. The resulting vision is defined by the path by which we have approached this brilliant invention. By traveling our own route, discovering new data, functionalities and tools, we will be able to make decisions based on a set of ideas that guide and accompany us.

Of course, this happens because of knowing that Bitcoin does not have guards at the door, monitoring and controlling who is worthy of entering this experience or not. This includes Andreas Antonopoulos and also Satoshi Nakamoto, without detracting from them. But nobody, neither because of their effort nor vocation, He is in a position to play such a painful role of vigilante of the authenticity of a bitcoiner.

As always, the Bitcoin experience, and many other things in life, boils down to two fundamental mottos: “Don’t trust, check” and “Do your own research.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong to its author and do not necessarily reflect those of CriptoNoticias.


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