Maximalism within crypto has peaked. At its best it was all "cyber hornets", laser eyes, HODLers of last resort, and scammer protection. This narrative was intoxicating, both to those joining the tribe, in the tribe, or watching the dominance of Bitcoin rise. HFSP to all others. Whereas Litecoin supporters do not identify as maximalists by default since Litecoiners are Bitcoiners, just with a dose of realism.
Once the tribalism starts, original crypto values go out the window. No one cares about the mission: sovereignty, privacy, security against the theft of inflation. Once you are all-in on one coin, you suddenly stop seeing the value of other coins — or other people. All currencies become nothing more than feeder coins as they must "inevitably" go to zero relative to the Chosen coin that is destined to be the only currency that people will freely choose to use in the future. Which is ridiculous. What Maximalists do not consider — or more likely ignore — are the flaws in wishing everyone's demise outside of their group. It makes your tribe more detached from reality, smaller, and if successful in its mission, more vulnerable.
The further you fall into maximalism, the further you must continue to fall to stay true to the tribe. Purity tests accumulate layers. Hold 100% Bitcoin, great, you're in (for now). Suddenly, "real" Bitcoiners have to publicly condemn all ICOs as scams. Why stop at ICOs? Surely you don't believe anything can compare to the immaculate conception of Bitcoin? Make your household, business, podcast, etc "Bitcoin only" or else you are a scammer. No better than the rest of them. It becomes Bitcoin vs crypto, with even honest thought considering other currencies or advancements deemed "shitcoining."By the time you reach the logical end, Erik Voskuil describes the purpose of Maximalism best.
Next, social layers start being added. It is no longer about being "cyber hornets" defending the protocol. Now being a good Bitcoiner involves being outwardly aggressive on both Bitcoin and non-Bitcoin topics, mostly unprovoked.
Just scroll through Twitter for yourself. You don't have to look far for plenty of examples. Does this lead to everyone adopting Bitcoin? Does it lead to an ever-expanding base of fanatics wholly devoted to Bitcoin? What holy Crusade has lead to worldwide praise of one nation, God, currency, etc? All this crusading accomplishes is alienating Maximalists as being some combination of naïve and abusive. At best the unifying effect is only temporary, and never without the aid of coercion. Maximalism is ultimately an attempt at social coercion. Surely, the foundations of Bitcoin aren't based in this?
The result is that their time has passed. Most now ignore them and ultimately move past them. We all know hyperbitcoinization is a dream system within a fantasy world. Bitcoin is great, but has plenty of limitations with need for other iterations and better implementations to capture the total addressable market of crypto as a whole.
That is not to say that that there will always be thousands of viable, neutral blockchains. Of course some are scams. Some are insecure. Some are simply companies disguised as crypto. Gary Gensler will find those. Many of those will die off or become so regulated they lose their revolutionary power. However, currencies that are secure, fair, and useful will continue — even thrive.
That's actually a good thing for Maximalists. It allows them to maintain their identity, while those who disagree move past them. The demise of every alternative would only water down their chosen identity.
A multi-chain world allows others to express their differing values in a peaceful way. Other currencies with frictionless exchange can support other user's values. Alternatives even support adoption of crypto as a tool for all of the world by providing a pressure valve that helps avoid inevitable social unrest from hyperbitcoinization if it were to somehow occur.
If Bitcoin we're the last man standing, those with differing views would be forced to actually attack the bedrock protocol of Bitcoin to express their views. As an example, a hard fork to switch to proof of stake, viewed as an attack from within Bitcoin, is a much messier ordeal than those who value proof of stake simply monetizing an existing proof of stake currency.
Being the last man standing also puts Bitcoin squarely in the crosshairs. If only Bitcoin remained, the payoff for making it unstable or capturing and regulating it through KYC, AML, and chain surveillance would be extraordinarily high. The path for regulatory capture would be much more straightforward with fewer chokepoints needed to maintain an influential hand on the flow of digital money.
Last Man Standing vs Next Man Up
Thankfully, the next man up existing both lowers the incentive for capturing a single blockchains, while simultaneously making it exponentially more difficult to implement.
True DEXs, atomic swaps, and native privacy tools change the game. What would be shooting fish in a barrel for regulators opens into a vast ocean. The same tools no longer work. Address blacklisting no longer works, and exchange choke points become much less effective.
The Litecoin family is by identity not maximalist. Litecoiners are Bitcoiners, just with a dose of realism. Litecoin is cooperative, unique, and focuses on integration into the cryptocurrency landscape as opposed to viewing everything as a war, and everyone as an enemy. Add the world's most versatile digital money to what you hold, and use it in everyday life.
Don't trust, but verify whether Litecoin is a shitcoin. That's what an original Bitcoiner would do.
- Vitamin Ł (@LtcBtc)