Reddit Cryptocurrency Daily Discussion

Reddit cryptocurrency daily discussion

Reddit cryptocurrency daily discussion

I was excited by the recent introduction of a new online journal dedicated to “quality technical, philosophical, and cultural writing” related to bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Nakamoto.com promises to build social capital that lengthens and strengthens the joint between cryptocurrency and its globe-spanning pool of potential users.

But success in the task I’d like Nakamoto.com to achieve will not be easy.

The cryptocurrency community could profit mightily by doing more to marry up the technology with broader society. Were bitcoins to become the dominant reserve currency of the world, their value might reach $10 million each in today’s dollars, at least according to an early, aspirational back-of-the-envelope calculation.

Many investors have followed the traditional route of backing bitcoin companies and, through them, coders.

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It’s not a bad approach. Andreessen Horowitz’s early bet on a tiny startup named Coinbase helped build a company that is now worth $8 billion dollars. Coinbase is also the most significant on-ramp to cryptocurrency for US users, of course.

It’s a wonder that so little has gone into an alternative investment thesis: Buy $10 million worth of bitcoins and spend $1 million per year to grow the “soft” ecosystem: awareness, adoption, usability, governance, economic and monetary theory, security, and, of course, code writing and review.

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Doing so could increase the value of held bitcoins far more than accumulating more coins and waiting for the ecosystem to grow itself. Especially if a number of large holders contributed to elements of the soft ecosystem, the expense of each would fall while growing their investments many-fold.

Daily Discussion - December 19, 2019 (GMT+0)

Cryptocurrency has about 50 million users worldwide, but few are actually engaging with the technology. They’re just “hodling” with wallet providers and buying and selling on exchanges for speculative purposes. That’s fine, but cryptocurrency is a very versatile technology. Getting more and better uses and users will take educating people, bringing intelligent laypeople into the fold.

Have you ever noticed how often interviewers on the PBS Newshour interrupt their guests to break up jargon and insider talk?

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(“’SSI’—that’s the federal income support program for elderly, blind, and disabled people.”) Nakamoto.com would do well to interrupt their authors — that is, edit them so that the terms and concepts they use are available to intelligent lay readers. The articles available at this writing on Nakamoto.com vary widely in terms of the background knowledge that is required to understand them.

The structure of the site and comments on the Nakamoto Telegram suggest an all-call, blog-style approach to publication, with pieces coming out every two weeks or so.

Here again, I think the better approach would be more hands-on.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have issues. Curating groups of articles around given topics, as well as responses and book reviews, would do more to draw out informative discussion and civil debate among experts. Foreign Affairs — the 100-year-old journal of US international relations — does that, and it makes the publication a platform for experts with a variety of experiences and perspectives to discuss issues in front of intelligent audiences, including future leaders.

There is another sense in which this community has issues: cryptocurrency’s utterly terrible culture of inquiry.

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On immoderate platforms like Twitter and Reddit, partisans for competing cryptocurrencies and versions of bitcoin have given cryptocurrency a very unwelcoming face. As Michael Arrington notes on Nakamoto, many potential users “flee as fast as they can.” Cryptocurrency’s social media representation makes American politics look good.

I’ve criticized community members’ embrace of trolling here and there.

Nakamoto.com itself was bruised by infighting around its launch.

Filter by flair

Its tweeted claim that “all Nakamoto contributors are pro-Bitcoin (BTC) for the long-term” set off a spat about who among contributors to the site and moderators of the Telegram channel are loyal enough to bitcoin’s leading instance.

Cryptocurrency has its own call-out culture.

Nakamoto’s light editorial touch, its unstructured, blog-style publication, and its use of Telegram to build community are all in sync with the internet’s rollicking, wide-open culture. It’s a neat culture, which has created a lot.

Reddit cryptocurrency daily discussion

But committing to that culture and the online medium puts Nakamoto on an equal footing with voices that are incoherent, rude, wrong, and opposed to cryptocurrency. Culturally, Nakamoto has cast itself into a turbulent sea in which there are few islands of intelligence, honesty, and couth.

Nakamoto could do something different. It could adopt the values of publishing on paper.

Reddit cryptocurrency daily discussion

Doing so could build a community around core concepts, values, and behaviors, even as it hosts vigorous debate.

What’s good about paper publication? Printed journals are a moderated forum. They deny equal voice to the naysayers and truth-assassins that live under every digital rock.

Readers, whether subscribers or controlled circulation, consume printed matter away from sources of instant reaction and the temptation to react instantly.

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Editors are gatekeepers — central authorities, no less — hemmed in by the long-term incentive to build their own reputations through their work. Print requires intellectual commitment. It is metaphysically and forever closed to changes. No author has ever withdrawn from a publication after it has gone to print. The medium doesn’t allow for it.

Reddit cryptocurrency daily discussion

(It’s like an analog blockchain…)

It’s expensive to print and distribute a physical journal, of course. And imagine the howls of derision online!

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But anchoring a journal in the values of print would convey a lot of authority, stability, and trustworthiness, which the cryptocurrency community needs.

Given the editorial voice I recommend, a way to mesh the values of print with the efficiency of digital would be a moderated forum that permits participation to subscribers/supporters.

Make fruitful comment valuable. Make carping useless and expensive.

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There’s probably a way to make a platform’s moderation self-funding. We are talking cryptocurrency, after all.

Critical mass is of the essence. Nakamoto.com must make itself the go-to forum, where the important discussions happen.

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Doing so would drain “Crypto Twitter” and Reddit of attention and interest, participants, and ultimately venom. A pure-online journal would not reach important new audiences — older, wealthy decision-makers — the way printed matter in airport newsstands would, of course.

Editorial control and content moderation may seem as heretical to cryptocurrency ideals as buying and selling bitcoins for filthy US dollars, but that heresy turned out to be very popular indeed!

Reddit cryptocurrency daily discussion

The current era lacks “social epistemology,” or widely agreed upon truth. That’s equally the case — and damaging —in American politics and cryptocurrency. Perhaps Nakamoto.com can provide some rootedness even in a disruptive digital movement.