Bitcoin Maximalism: Toxic Culture or Noble Cause?

Bitcoin Maximalism: Toxic Culture or Noble Cause?

After Bitcoin was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, many others decided to create their own variations of Bitcoin with minor or sometimes significant changes. Today, there are over 14,000 altcoins. This new market is often referred to as cryptocurrency market or simply crypto. There are different types of proponents in the industry. Those who are interested in all cryptos. Those who only like a specific altcoin. And those who are known as Bitcoin maximalists. In this article, I will lay out the Bitcoin maximalist argument and explain why many people feel so strongly about Bitcoin.

Table of Contents

After Bitcoin was invented by Satoshi Nakamoto, many others decided to create their own variations of Bitcoin with minor and sometimes significant changes. Today, there are thousands of cryptocurrencies known as altcoins. But a growing number of Bitcoin proponents argue that Bitcoin is the big innovation and other cryptocurrencies are doomed to fail or outright scams. In this article I’ll go deep down the rabbit hole of Bitcoin maximalism and explain the historic and economic principles backing up the Bitcoin maximalist argument.

The Unique Circumstances of Bitcoin’s Inception

Bitcoin was conceived in 2008 by a pseudonymous person or group called Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi published a white paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” to a small cryptography mailing list.

The white paper was published on the 31st of October 2008, around two months before Satoshi released the first version of the open-source Bitcoin software. He, she or they were still working on coding the software while the white paper was published and discussed.

Anyone who wanted could have built their own version of Bitcoin during the two months between when Satoshi published the white paper and the first release of the Bitcoin software.

On January 3, Satoshi mined the Genesis Block, which is the very first block of Bitcoin. Six days later he released Bitcoin and anyone could install it on a simple computer and start mining bitcoin.

After Satoshi, Hal Finney was the second person to start mining bitcoin. Anyone else could join. As Bitcoin was discussed online by cryptographers and cypherpunks, more people installed the Bitcoin software and began mining bitcoin. At the time, bitcoin could be mined using a regular computer and didn’t require Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) that are necessary to mine bitcoin today.

Satoshi Nakamoto and Bitcoin maximalism

(A statue of Satoshi Nakamoto in Budapest by Elekes Andor)

Satoshi continued contributing to Bitcoin until 2011 and then vanished. He stopped posting online or sending emails. To this day, nobody knows who he was. Satoshi disappeared after Bitcoin had received some negative media attention related to Wikileaks.

According to Satoshi, this early media attention was dangerous for Bitcoin. The community and the software weren’t strong and decentralized enough to withstand an attack. It could have been killed early on.

Satoshi’s forum posts and emails reveal that he was very aware of past attempts to create digital money in a centralized way. They all failed because they were centralized and could be shut down easily by governments.

It is plausible that Satoshi vanished because he felt that he had became a vulnerability to Bitcoin. After Satoshi’s disappearance, other developers took over, which means that since 2011 Bitcoin has been without a centralized figure, leader or inventor. It was maintained and improved by volunteers, programmers, miners, full node operators, human rights activists, libertarians and other people who believed in Bitcoin.

This led to a large and decentralized Bitcoin community that has proven to be very resilient and a major asset.

Different Commodities Compete on the Basis of Monetary Properties

From an Austrian Economic’s perspective, money is a commodity and is subject to supply and demand. In a free market, different monies compete and market participants will choose the commodity with the best monetary properties as a store of value, medium of exchange and unit of account.

There were many different kinds of monies throughout human history. Seashells, cattle, salt, large stones and even cigarettes are some examples of money.

But over time, the free market chose precious metals due to their superior monetary properties. Of the precious metals, silver and gold embodied these properties better than any other commodity. Gold eventually became the preferred money.

Gold is relatively durable, divisible, verifiable, fungible, portable and scarce. Of all commodities known to mankind, gold meets these criteria best. This is why in the 18th and 19th century large parts of the world adopted the gold standard.

Roosevelt, Nixon and the Forced Transition from Gold to Fiat Currency

The gold standard was abandoned after World War I because European governments lived beyond their means to fund the war. After the war, these nations were so indebted that they defaulted on their war debts by halting convertibility of paper money into gold and printing paper money that wasn’t backed by anything.

The United States went off the gold standard in 1933 when president Roosevelt issued Executive Order 6102, which outlawed gold ownership and demanded all American citizens hand over their gold to the government.

At the time, many European countries had already gone off the gold standard. The world was now on a fiat standard. Money could be created without any backing requirements. However, as part of the Bretton Woods system after 1944, the US dollar became world-reserve currency and other central banks held US dollars in their reserves. The United States held gold in its reserves and other nations could convert their dollars into gold at anytime. This is known as the gold exchange standard.

American citizens weren’t allowed to hold gold or convert paper money into gold, but sovereign nations could still do it. Nixon ended this as part of the “Nixon Shock” in 1971 when he halted the redeemability of US dollars into gold for central banks around the world. At this point, all ties to gold were severed and all currencies worldwide were backed by nothing.

In the years and decades following the “Nixon Shock”, governments took on unprecedented levels of debt. The US dollar and other fiat currencies lost most of their value due to inflation. The intended or unintended consequences of this monetary experiment are illustrated on a website called WTF Happened In 1971.

The Impending Economic Collapse and the Need for a Global Currency Reset

Fiat currencies all around the world are at a breaking point due to excessive government spending. The world experienced a series of bubbles starting with the Dotcom Bubble in the mid 90s, followed by the United States Housing Bubble in 2008 and now the “Everything Bubble”.

The “Everything Bubble” is the most systemic bubble we ever experienced because it’s happening in the sovereign bond market. Due to the systemic risks, central banks are forced to continue inflating the bubble and “bailing out” the government with extreme monetary policy such as zero or negative interest rates and Quantitative Easing.

The fiat standard has reached a point of no return. The financial problems caused by the world going off the gold standard run so deep that sooner or later there will be an economic collapse due to hyperinflation or deflation.

This will put immense pressure on the US dollar as world-reserve currency. In case of a deflationary depression, credit markets would collapse, which drives bond interest rates up. Think of it like this. If you have credit card debt with 0% interest and you’re barely able to pay off your debt, you are guaranteed to go bankrupt if interest rates were to increases to 3% or 10%. This is the situation the United States and other governments around the world are in.

United States Federal Debt

(Federal Debt has been skyrocketing since the “Nixon Shock”)

If the bond market collapses in a deflationary crash, interest rates of bonds skyrocket and governments cannot borrow money as cheaply anymore to pay off their existing debt.

If a large part of a government’s strategy consists of paying off old debt with new debt, high interest rates put pressure on the borrowing government and can lead to a national debt death spiral.

This is why deflation, and especially deflation in the bond market, is central bankers’ worst nightmare. If history is an indicator, governments and central banks will resort to more and more extreme monetary policy to kick the can down the road. High inflation and hyperinflation are bad in the eyes of central bankers, but deflation is the greater evil. This is why fiat currencies around the world will have to be continuously debased to lower the debt burden of governments that lived beyond their means for the last 50 years.

But even if central banks cannot prevent a deflationary economic collapse, the pressure on the US dollar as world-reserve currency will be unbearable. In case of heightened inflation or hyperinflation, trust in the US dollar as world-reserve currency will be lost. Hundreds of trillions of dollars will look for a better stores of value.

And if deflation does happen and the “Everything Bubble” pops, the US government will not be able to service its debt and will have to default on its outstanding debt.

This means all holders of US government bonds will lose 100% of their money. A default of this magnitude will destroy trust in the US dollar as world-reserve currency.

If we are likely to experience heightened inflation or hyperinflation, and potentially even a default of the US government on its outstanding debt, where will all the money go that is currently tied up in US dollars?

It could go to another fiat currency, but this will be under the same or similar pressure as the US dollar and will sooner or later meet the same fate. The IMF might make use of its Special Drawing Rights (SDR), which at the end of the day is a basket of fiat currencies and not immune to currency debasement. There is gold, silver, real estate, stocks and commodities. And there is Bitcoin along with over 14,000 altcoins to choose from.

Bitcoin’s Superior Monetary Properties

As we have seen, in a free market different monies compete with each other. The commodities that embody the properties of money better than others end up being used as money by the majority of people.

The properties a commodity must have to function as money are:

Gold embodied these characteristics better than any commodity known to mankind which is why it “won” the race and earned the crown as hardest money in history until recently.

Bitcoin was designed to be perfect, hard money. It was engineered to embody the properties of money better than any commodity known to mankind, including gold. You can read a more in-depth breakdown of these monetary properties in my article called hyperbitconization and the end game of central bank policy.

But what about the 14,000 altcoins that were launched after Bitcoin? Aren’t some of these altcoins faster and more scalable than Bitcoin? Aren’t they superior monies?

How Bitcoin Compares to the Monetary Properties of Altcoins

It’s true that some altcoins such as Ethereum and Solana are faster and more scalable than Bitcoin. Other altcoins such as Monero are more private and potentially more fungible since the origin of coins cannot be analyzed and flagged by exchanges.

Ethereum and other altcoins allow the deployment of complex smart contracts which gave rise to “Decentralized Finance”, also known as DeFi.

Let’s take a look at how these altcoins compare in terms of monetary properties.

While some altcoins might be more divisible and fungible than Bitcoin, Bitcoin and altcoins are about equally portable. The big difference between Bitcoin and altcoins lies in their durability and scarcity.

In order for physical money to be durable, it must have a chemical composition that makes it almost impossible to break down. A gold coin from centuries ago is still relatively in tact. It doesn’t erode easily. The chemical components of gold don’t break down over time. The durability of gold is one of the main reasons why it was chosen as money throughout history in favor of other less durable commodities like seashells, cattle, stones, salt and cigarettes.

Digital money must meet a different set of criteria to be deemed durable. Since it doesn’t exist in the physical world, it must be digitally durable.

This includes the ability to withstand various attacks against the network, making it impossible to shut down or stop the network and preventing a small group of people from debasing the money by changing its properties, rules or protocol.

The reason why Bitcoin is more durable than all 14,000 altcoins is primarily due to the unique circumstances under which Bitcoin was created. As discussed at the beginning of this article, Satoshi vanished in 2011. There is no company, foundation or leadership behind Bitcoin. No small group of people or founding team has influence over its rules. The rules of Bitcoin were set in stone from the beginning and haven’t changed since then.

Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake Consensus Mechanisms in Comparison

Bitcoin uses proof-of-work mining which uses computing power to secure the entire network. Bitcoin is the most powerful computer network in the world.

The hash rate of the Bitcoin network is much higher than any other existing proof-of-work networks, including Ethereum, Dogecoin and other altcoins. Furthermore, most altcoins including these two are shifting from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake or are already using proof-of-steak.

Bitcoin mining and proof-of-work

(Bitcoin miners set up in someones home by steevithak)

Proof-of-stake doesn’t use energy-intensive mining to secure the network. Instead, those who lock up a certain amount of tokens are randomly assigned to create blocks or validate ones that were already created and earn rewards in return. One of the problems with proof-of-stake is that it makes it much easier for large stakeholders to collude. A small group of people that owns and stakes a majority of the tokens has a lot of influence and control over the network.

This is also similar to the fiat system where those closest to the printing press have most control. With proof-of-steak blockchains, those with the most coins, in other words the richest market participants, continue getting richer from staking their tokens.

Brian Brooks, the CEO of Bitfury, a major player in the Bitcoin mining industry, spoke in front of “The House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee” on why proof-of-work mining is superior to proof-of-stake consensus mechanisms.

The bottom line is that altcoins that don’t use proof-of-work mining are less durable. And among all blockchains that use proof-of-work mining, Bitcoin has the highest hash rate.

Bitcoin’s First-Mover Advantage and Strong Network Effect

Additionally to Bitcoin’s use of proof-of-work mining and its incredibly high hash rate, Bitcoin benefits from a first mover advantage.

Networks become more valuable as more users join the network. This is known as the network effect. If just two people in the world have telephones, they aren’t as useful. But once every household has a telephone, they become increasingly useful.

The same type of network effect is at play with social media networks like Facebook and Instagram. Every new user that is onboarded makes the network more valuable for all existing users. The same is true for Bitcoin. In fact, Bitcoin is being adopted faster than the Internet was adopted. Nothing else in history reached a market cap of $1 trillion as fast as Bitcoin did. And in the next few years, Bitcoin adoption is expected to reach one billion.

All of this points to a strong first mover advantage and a network effect that is growing at a pace that will make it hard for any altcoin to keep pace with.

As I’m making the case in this article, there is no cryptocurrency that embodies the properties of money better than Bitcoin. Its first mover advantage and network effect further contribute to these properties.

The more miners the network has, the more full-node operators and the more users, the more durable the network becomes. In that sense, the first mover advantage and network effect of Bitcoin in itself are contributors to its durability.

What other factors make Bitcoin more durable than the 14,000 altcoins?

Altcoins Aren’t Created the Way Bitcoin Was and It’s a Major Vulnerability

Any altcoin that was created after Bitcoin’s release didn’t benefit from the same decentralized and unique circumstances that were present during Bitcoin’s inception.

The cat was already out of the bag. The idea of Bitcoin was out in the open. The first altcoin was introduced in 2011, the year Satoshi disappeared. It was called Namecoin and was meant to improve internet privacy and security. Litecoin was another Bitcoin spinoff that launched in the year that Satoshi disappeared. At their core, Namecoin and Litecoin were near identical with Bitcoin apart from minor changes that promised improvements or different use cases.

Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin

(Vitalik Buterin speaking on stage by TechCrunch)

In 2013, two years after Satoshi’s disappearance, Ethereum was conceived by programmer Vitalik Buterin. When Vitalik came up with the idea for Ethereum, it was four years after Bitcoin had been released. Bitcoin had already experienced four years of adoption and was growing in popularity. A strong community had formed around Bitcoin.

Any altcoin that was launched after 2009, and especially after 2011, that was serious about competing with Bitcoin, had to rely on different strategies.

This is when Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) became popular.

Understanding Initial Coin Offerings and Their Centralization Problem

The first ICO or token sale happened in 2013 for an altcoin known as Mastercoin.

The Ethereum foundation raised money with a token sale in 2014 in order to crowdfund itself. Ethereum raised around $18,300,000 with its token sale. One year later, the network went live on 30th of July 2015.

Token sales are only possible if tokens are already available. This requires pre-mining tokens before the network is live and selling these pre-mined tokens to investors.

In many ways, this can be compared to a company raising money through an Initial Public Offering (IPO). In the case of companies, money is raised by issuing shares of a stock. Altcoin development teams and foundations raise money by pre-mining tokens and selling those tokens to investors. This is why the SEC is treating altcoins as securities.

Here is a chart of initial token allocations for major altcoins:

Initial Token Allocaations for Public Blockchains

(Initial Token Allocation for Public Blockchains by Messari)

As you can see, many altcoins have a large allocation to insiders. This includes the development team, company, foundation and venture capitalists. Binance and Solana have almost 50% of tokens allocated to insiders.

But even with Ethereum, which only allocated 15% of tokens to insiders, this tells a completely different “origin story” than that of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin didn’t have a pre-mine, there was no public sale and there were no insiders. Satoshi published the white paper before the software was released. He mined the first block on the 3rd of January 2009 and released the first version of Bitcoin on the 9th of January 2009. Anyone could mine bitcoin from that point on using a computer or laptop.

Are Altcoins Securities in Technology Startups?

The teams behind altcoins operate more like companies, even if they advertise themselves as being “decentralized organizations”, and the tokens they pre-sell act as securities. While Bitcoin is a truly decentralized peer-to-peer network, companies, foundations and organizations promoting altcoins can be compared to technology startups.

Developers and team members get a portion of the network in the form of tokens, similar to getting a percentage of equity in a traditional technology startup. Venture capitalists that back the project get a large portion of tokens — and of course a lot of saying and influence behind the scenes.

This is why many altcoins, including Solana, have been criticized for marketing themselves as being decentralized when in reality they are relatively centralized.

The existence of pre-mined coins, insider sales and the founding team receiving a large portion of tokens makes altcoins more centralized. For money to be durable, it shouldn’t be subject to a small group of people who have influence behind-the-scenes.

Money shouldn’t have venture capitalists backing it. Money shouldn’t be pre-mined. There should be no insiders. All this makes money less durable and more vulnerable to being misused for personal gain and control.

Dumping Pre-Mined Coins, Insider Selling and Rug Pulls

Another problem is that insiders that got access to pre-mined tokens have often sold a large portion of their tokens, and depending on how you want to call it, dumped them on the public.

For example, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin sold 25% of his Ether in 2016. And the Ethereum Foundation frequently sells Ether at all-time highs during bull runs. In 2019, Vitalik admitted to selling 70,000 ETH at the market top.

I did get the Ethereum Foundation to sell 70,000 ETH like basically at the top and that’s doubled our runway now, so it was one good decision that had a lot of impact.

Vitalik Buterin on Ethereum

On the other hand, Satoshi’s bitcoin wallet contains 1,148,800 bitcoins and it has never moved. Nobody knows if Satoshi is still alive or if he went completely underground and has never touched his bitcoin stack. But the fact is: The creator of Bitcoin has never sold any bitcoin.

The creators of altcoins and the venture capitalists backing them are selling their tokens all the time. They usually do it at the height of euphoria. When new and inexperienced investors are drawn in by the price increase, insiders dump their coins or a part of their coins onto the public.

This is especially problematic since coins were pre-mined. Venture capitalists can join a project before the public and buy tokens at all-time lows. The money that was raised can be used for marketing purposes, such as paying influencers for sponsored posts on social media. Once the public starts “FOMOing” into project and the prices go up, these pre-mined coins can be dumped at the market top before crashing 90%.

This makes the insiders richer while new and inexperienced investors, who never had a chance to benefit from a pre-mine, are left holding coins that have lost most of their value.

While this type of behavior could be reframed as “sound financial planning” on the side of insiders, there are many outright scams and rug pulls where investors are defrauded of their money and the founders disappear with the stolen funds.

Examining the Scarcity of Bitcoin and Altcoins

The second important monetary property that distinguishes Bitcoin from altcoins is scarcity. We have already seen why Bitcoin is more durable due to its unique inception moment, use of proof-of-work mining and incredibly high hash rate. But what about Bitcoin’s scarcity?

The total supply of bitcoin is capped at 21,000,000. There will never be more bitcoin. This is hard-coded into the software. Arguably, bitcoin is the most scarce thing that exists in the universe.

Nobody knows the total supply of gold in the world and in outer space. The final supply of Ether isn’t known and the protocol is changing so fast that its monetary policy isn’t consistent and can’t be trusted. Dogecoin doesn’t have a capped supply.

“Cryptocurrencies” that have the same supply or a lower supply of coins than Bitcoin would be more scarce, but they would be lacking the durability of Bitcoin. No altcoin will ever experience the same unique circumstances that gave life to Bitcoin or benefit from the strong first mover advantage that Bitcoin has.

If someone were to create a copy of Bitcoin with a supply of only 20,000,000 coins instead of 21,000,000 coins, the scarcity alone wouldn’t make this new currency valuable. Scarcity only drives up value when it’s combined with demand. Since Bitcoin already has a lot of demand because of its first mover advantage, network effect and superior durability, nobody would leave Bitcoin for the a new cryptocurrency that is more scarce but has no network effect, security or significant demand.

Bitcoin truly is the most verifiably scarce thing that exists in the universe. This is because the most powerful computer network in the world is verifying and enforcing the consensus rules of Bitcoin. While there might be other things in the universe that are more scarce than Bitcoin, we can’t know with the same certainty how scarce they truly are.

While some altcoins could be made more scarce in terms of their total supply, the trust and verifiability of this scarcity wouldn’t be given. Someone could easily change the rules of the network and increase the supply.

The Tradeoff Between Speed, Scalability and Security

As we have seen, while some altcoins have comparable divisibility, portability and fungibility, Bitcoin exceeds in two of the most important criteria: Durability and scarcity. Proof-of-work mining and the fact that it’s the most powerful computer network in the world also make Bitcoin more verifiable than altcoins.

Bitcoin embodies the properties of money better than any commodity known to mankind and all of the 14,000 altcoins that were created after Bitcoin.

But aren’t altcoins like Ethereum and Solana faster and more scalable than Bitcoin? Aren’t speed, scalability and smart contracts monetary properties that Bitcoin lacks?

Speed and scalability are really just other words for portability. If money can be moved faster, this means it is more portable. The problem is that even though some altcoins could be considered more portable than Bitcoin in terms of speed and scalability, they are achieving this edge at the cost of durability.

Altcoins that are fast and scalable do so by abandoning proof-of-work mining, using more complex code and becoming more centralized. All of this reduces the durability of money. Durability can be seen as more important than portability. For example, gold is a lot more durable than portable. If it were more portable than durable it would have unlikely become the primary money throughout human history.

Bitcoin focusses on durability first, and because of this it cannot be as fast and scalable as some of the other altcoins like Ethereum and Solana that are more centralized and less secure.

How Bitcoin and the Lightning Network Solve the Tradeoff

Instead of compromising Bitcoin’s security for speed and scalability, Bitcoin solves this problem in a much more elegant way.

Bitcoin’s base layer, which is the safest and most reliable blockchain in the world, is used for final settlement of payments and for large transactions. On top of Bitcoin, layer two solutions like the Lightning Network are deployed for payments.

The Lightning Network is a layer built on top of Bitcoin’s base layer that allows almost instantaneous payments and has close to zero fees. Payments on the Lightning Network happen “off chain” and are then bundled together into a bitcoin block and settled “on chain”.

Lightning Network Nodes

(Number of active Lightning Network nodes by Bitcoin Visuals)

While Soana, the fastest layer one blockchain, can handle around 65,000 transactions per second, the Lightning Network can handle as much as 1,000,000 transactions per second.

By combining Bitcoin’s base layer with layer two solutions like the Lightning Network, we can benefit from Bitcoin’s superior security while having a completely scalable payment network built on top of Bitcoin that can’t just process transactions faster than Visa and Mastercard but is faster than Solana, Ethereum and all other altcoins.

Misconceptions Surrounding “Blockchain Technology”

The question then remains, on what basis are altcoins competing with Bitcoin? It cannot be durability, scarcity and verifiability. We have already seen why Bitcoin embodies these properties in a superior way. It can also not be speed and scalability, since this can be achieved using the Lightning Network without compromising durability, scarcity and verifiability.

What about uses cases outside of money? Some altcoins might not be competing with Bitcoin on the basis of being money. They use “blockchain technology” for other purposes, such as taking centralized industries and decentralizing them.

The problem is that “blockchain technology” only really has one sensible use case: Money. Applying decentralized ledger technology to disrupt other industries makes little sense. True decentralization, such as in the case of Bitcoin, makes things slow and inefficient. The only reason why this is necessary in the case of digital money is to provide durability.

Many other technologies, such as Uber, AirBNB and social media sites don’t need to be durable. Convenience, speed and complexity are more important. To create convenient, fast and complex systems, using centralized databases is more efficient. Applying the monetary property of durability to non-monetary goods often just results in inconvenience without any notable benefits.

This is why “blockchain technology” in some ways is a misleading term. The genius invention of Satoshi Nakamoto wasn’t blockchain technology but hard and unconfiscatable money that is outside of the control of central banks and governments. When people say Bitcoin isn’t revolutionary, but blockchain technology is, they are missing the point.

Bitcoin in the Context of Decentralized Finance, Web 3 and the Metaverse

There is a lot of hype around DeFi, Web 3 and the metaverse at the moment. DeFi stands for decentralized finance and is an interesting development towards replacing the existing financial services and banking system with decentralized networks that operate using smart contracts.

The problem is that these DeFi projects are built on Ethereum, Solana and other altcoins that don’t have the necessary monetary properties to function as hard money. It’s like building a house on sand. If we are to build decentralized financial systems, they must be built on top of sound money in the first place.

The same is true when it comes to re-imagining a decentralized Internet built on Web 3. If it’s true that Bitcoin has superior monetary properties, and free markets are at work, Bitcoin will become the primary form of money in the next decades. As Jack Dorsey says, it will become the native currency of the Internet.

In many ways, altcoins, DeFI and Web 3 are distracting from the true revolution that is happening in the global economy: The demonetization of fiat currencies. The government’s monopoly on money is being peacefully removed.

This distraction could be seen as something positive since it’s not only distracting consumers from the silent revolution but also governments. It adds chaos into the mix. If Bitcoin existed on its own, the revolution would be more visible. It would be easier for governments to attack Bitcoin since there would only be a single “enemy” instead of 14,000.

However, the downside is that many people that invest money in altcoins or DeFi protocols that aren’t secure, will lose money through hacks and errors. Others will lose money because altcoins will depreciate relative to Bitcoin in the long-term.

Altcoin performance compared to Bitcoin over time

(Historic performance of altcoins compared to Bitcoin by Willy Woo)

Once the market realizes that we are not in a battle for superior technology but for superior money, more and more individuals, companies and nations will decide to store a part or all of their wealth in Bitcoin.

As Bitcoin’s network effect grows and more people become convinced of Bitcoin’s value proposition and superior monetary properties, this will demonetize altcoins.

Some altcoins might still exist like silver still existed next to gold. Likewise, both silver and gold might still exist next to Bitcoin, but they will lose value in comparison.

Bitcoin Maximalism as Moral Imperative to Protect Freedom and Human Rights

At the heart of Bitcoin maximalism isn’t some blind belief in Bitcoin. But rather, Bitcoin maximalists tend to be people that have spent more time studying the history of money. Understanding how commodity money evolved and what properties these commodities needed in order to function as money is a prerequisite to understanding Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is a an extremely unique and highly significant invention because it gives the world the possibility to decouple governments from money. But we might only have one shot at this. If Bitcoin doesn’t lead to the return to sound money and removes the states’ monopoly on money, it is unlikely that any other commodity or technology ever will.

Physical monies like gold and silver are too easy to centralize and confiscate and don’t have the properties necessary to function in a digital economy. For the most part they lack portability or saleability across space.

Bitcoin is durable enough to withstand attacks, confiscation and centralization. But this durability is something that has been fought for by the Bitcoin community for over a decade.

Bitcoin maximalism is a moral imperative to those who understand the unique set of circumstances under which Bitcoin was conceived and pay attention to the history and properties of money.

They view it as something precious that must be protected and treasured.

February 4, 2022