When prominent Bitcoiner Nic Carter tweeted a few thoughts about future-proofing Bitcoin, he got the expulsed from the Bitcoin maximalist crowd. It shows how bad the mood is right now and how irreconcilable the "Bitcoin maximalists" are. Is this hostility a feature or a bug? According to Nic Carter it is the latter: 'The moral basis of these people is cartoonish'.
Nic Carter is a young venture capitalist who has been interested in Bitcoin and other crypto since the beginning of his career. He is very critical of other blockchains ánd in recent years has defended the energy consumption of Bitcoin mining (given the renewable energy generation it encourages). All this has apparently led some new Bitcoiners to think that he is a Bitcoin maximalist: someone who thinks that everything that is not Bitcoin is a scam. According to Carter, this is not the case: 'I've never been a maxi, I hate the term, never called myself that and I've always been open-minded'.
A contentious issue looms for the future viability of the Bitcoin ecosystem. Namely, whether miners can be adequately paid if the amount of Bitcoin issued to them gets lower and lower with each quadrennial halving. Transaction fees need to increase for miners but that can only happen if there is sufficient demand for blockspace. Currently, only 2% of miners' income comes from transaction fees: the rest comes from the block subsidy of currently 6.25 Bitcoin. And that will already halve in two years.
Long term plan securing the btc blockchain
- do nothing
- Bust 21 million hard cap and create perpepual subsidy
- recycyle ancient coins, say ten years, in miner subsidy
- creating a fee target by growing and contracting the blocksize
Cartoonish moral basis
Admittedly, this is heresy. The Bitcoin protocol is centered around some of these principles. These are dogmas set in stone (programming code) and deviating from them would likely result in a hard fork. Funnily enough, Carter only really came under fire after a later tweet announcing an investment in a crypto startup. He was ridiculed and, for example, declared dead by Max Keiser. It provoked a response from Carter in a post on Medium:
'The moral basis of these people is cartoonish; it’s something that might appeal to a toddler. It’s a dreadful binary: every financial asset other than Bitcoin is a scam; every blockchain other than Bitcoin is a scam, and doomed to fail (even if they are objectively thriving, and charging more for blockspace than Bitcoin); if anything interesting is built anywhere other than Bitcoin, it will inevitably return to Bitcoin.'
In a recent podcast episode of Bankless, Carter gets a lot off his chest. He discusses how the small circle of Bitcoin maxis ('cyber hornets') keep each other trapped in a pool of dogma. According to Carter, it's a sectarian phenomenon: no original thoughts have been discernible for years, and anyone with any semblance of open-mindedness against dogma is collectively punished as an apostate of the faith.
Don't ditch Bitcoin but ditch the cult
Carter emphasizes time and again that he still believes in Bitcoin and has by far the largest portion of his crypto portfolio in BTC. He just has a problem with the cult, the small but radical and very vocal part of Bitcoin supporters. According to him, it is a toxic clique, pushing away smart and reasonable minds and becoming increasingly narrow-minded.
We see a similar sentiment from CEO of Blocktower Capital, Ari Paul.
"In bear markets as people lose money, instead of lashing out at the leaders who sold them false promises, instead of blaming the community groupthink that got them in trouble, they double down on the insular community and attack ‘outsiders’"
Paul also emphasizes that he only has a problem with the maximalists: "the 'cult' here isn’t bitcoin. Bitcoin is awesome. Don’t ditch that. Ditch the cult that treats bitcoin like a religion, objecting to honest discussion, imposing propaganda, enforcing Orwellian “rightthink”, and denying reality."
It's quite the bear market, isn't it?