There is a group of Bitcoiners renowned for their hardheadedness, and known to be dogmatic, among other things. Called “Toxic Maximalists,” these are the folks who believe that literally, any other cryptocurrency is a “scam.” It doesn’t actually matter to them whether the thing in question is or is not a scam – if it’s not Bitcoin, it’s bad; potentially, it’s a threat against BTC.
Hodlers United Against Shitcoins
Nick Szabo says that not all the side effects of this belief system are negative.
The most important of Bitcoin's "toxic" & "dogmatic" cultural norms are commitment devices. The strong norm against hard forking, except in the face of the most extreme & live of on-chain security problems, protects against multiple temptations.https://t.co/rTNcIjHuzl
— Nick Szabo 🔑 (@NickSzabo4) February 3, 2020
Szabo is a renowned cryptographer and some believe he’s in the running to be the actual Satoshi Nakamoto. He’s been boosting Bitcoin for years, to the exclusion of other cryptocurrencies. In some ways, he’s a bit of an elder statesman of the maximalist movement, although it can be said it’s rare for him to get down in the mud with those who disagree.
“Hodling” and “maximalism” are two different concepts, but they are closely related. Often, the hodler is also a maximalist, and vice versa. Surely there are relevant exceptions, such as notable reporters who claim to hold no BTC yet still profess a vision that only BTC will ever flourish.
“Toxic maximalism” is a term born to describe Reddit and Twitter trolls who go the extra mile. Unlike venerable and respectable folks along the lines of Nick Szabo, these folks actively troll and denigrate alternative cryptocurrency visions. Whether this is such a concerning trend or not is up to the viewer.
The first time I remember seeing the word “toxic” used to describe this general group of people, it was in the form of Gavin Andresen. Bitcoin’s first lead developer after Satoshi Nakamoto, and later its first attempted major fork (Bitcoin Classic) creator, had had enough of the antics of Samson Mow, a Blockstream executive.
Since then, an entire narrative has evolved, with some Twitter personalities proudly donning the tag of “toxic.”
Toxic Bitcoin Maximalism:
– savage desire for truth and principles
– savage aversion to bullshit and deceit
Someone will necessarily be exposed, offended, get their feelings hurt.
This is a good thing. We will never be welcoming and positive to bad actors and their narratives. https://t.co/Tk8TMoDrzw
— hodlonaut 🌮⚡🔑 (@hodlonaut) January 5, 2020
On the other side of the narrative are people who feel that the toxicity and vitriol associated with some maximalists breeds an in-crowd mentality that makes it hard to attract new users to the blockchain space. The most toxic of all counter that they simply don’t care. Their interests are simple: sound money in the form of one cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.
But let’s digest what that really means. We’re talking about the buoy of the entire crypto market. Therefore, a group of people who almost religiously “defend its interests,” albeit in their own view, is something that probably has some positive side effects.
And it does.
The sub-cultural norm against selling Bitcoin means that during any given market movement, a certain bedrock can be counted on – that of the hodler, who is often also a toxic maximalist. This is the person who won’t betray BTC at virtually any price, and if he does, he’ll replace it.
Bitcoin will always have value to the hodler, a positive side effect that can’t necessarily be attributed to his detractors.
So, while they may have a little too much fun trolling altcoins, and for whatever other flaws that “toxic maximalists” have, one thing they bring to the table is a sense of loyalty that translates to dollars at market. The more a trader knows people don’t want to sell something, the more he’s willing to pay for it.