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Written by Erik Weijers 21 days ago

What is Bitcoin maximalism and how do you score on the test?

Especially in a bear market, the mood of crypto investors is a bit off. Not infrequently, they fly at each other's throats. The Bitcoin maximalists, the hard core of Bitcoin defenders, go the furthest in this. But what is this Bitcoin maximalism anyway? Pete Rizzo proposed a test.

Among Bitcoin's most ardent supporters, their attitude has religious traits. Other camps are attacked ('all other coins are scams/shitcoins') and apostates are banned from the community with tar and feathers - an example of this was Nic Carter's 'ex-communication'. The people in this camp are also called the toxi-maxis. Examples include Max Keiser, Cory Klippsten and Saifedean Ammous.

This sounds like not such a healthy culture. Also, toxi-maxis are known for their dislike of the nation-state and their often distinct dietary views (just Google and be amazed). But before you think: what idiots.... there's also something to be said for the fact that these maximalists form a kind of defensive line around Bitcoin. And that they often rightly warn against scams.

Even Vitalik Buterin, noted founder of a "competitor," advocated Bitcoin maximalism - though it was intriguing that he published his argument on April 1.... His reasoning: Bitcoin survives not only because of its strong technical design but also because of the culture of 'evangelists' and defenders: maximalists, in other words. They make sure no one messes with the design. Conservatism and intolerance, he says, can be a strength here.

The Bitcoin Maximalism Test by Pete Rizzo

Pete Rizzo is an editor at Bitcoin Magazine and crypto exchange Kraken. He listed nine questions for his test. Your answers add up telling something about your status as a Bitcoin maxi.

I stand for...

  1. A Commitment to Safeguarding #Bitcoin for Future Generations. This commitment should come from the conviction that Bitcoin is the only viable alternative to state-controlled money.
  1. A Commitment to Running the Bitcoin software: by running a node and encouraging others to do so, Bitcoin remains decentralized and publicly auditable.
  1. A Commitment to Slow Software Changes and Enfranchising All Users: this comes from the idea that Bitcoin is the end point of an evolution of digital money. Bitcoin is "finished".
  1. A Commitment to Building Services on Bitcoin. This as opposed to the tendency of people to give their Bitcoin to third parties for custody.
  1. A Commitment to Using Bitcoin to the Greatest Extent: for example, encouraging local stores to accept Bitcoin.
  1. A Commitment to Opposing Censorship and Surveillance: an example of this is resistance to crypto companies collecting too much data from users and "blockchain detective" companies like Chainalysis.
  1. A Commitment to Supporting Bitcoin Mining by Any and All Means: proof-of-work is the only useful consensus mechanism and therefore mining must continue to exist as a healthy industry.
  1. A Commitment to Crypto Minimalism: Bitcoin is the only relevant crypto. All other crypto serve at most as learning tools to make Bitcoin better.
  1. A Commitment to Keeping Bitcoin Open for All: everyone in the world should be welcome to use Bitcoin.

The Score

How do you score on the maxi test? You may agree with some questions and disagree with others. This shows that Bitcoin maximalism is a spectrum.

Maximalism on certain principles?

Thinking about questions like these may provoke an insight. Namely, that what you believe in is not tied to Bitcoin but to a few principles. At least, that is the view of Bitcoin and crypto educator Andreas Antonopoulos. He breaks down the benefits of various crypto projects into seven underlying principles:

  • Revolutionary
  • Immutable
  • Public
  • Collaborative
  • Open
  • Resistant
  • Decentralized

He lists these principles in the acronym RIPCORD. According to Antonopoulos, you should score a crypto project on these criteria to get an idea to what extent it is a useful contribution.

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