Bitcoin maximalism has become so desperately unhinged I consider it a cultural Chernobyl. The situation was not always so. Bitcoin culture was not maximalist for most of its history.
The zealots infecting modern Bitcoin culture are usurpers.
I arrived into the world of Bitcoin in 2012. I had heard about the dark net marketplace Silk Road and its then-elusive leader, the Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR). As a fan of subcultures, I was enthralled and I still think nothing has come close to that era for sheer intrigue.
Paul Dylan-Ennis, a CoinDesk columnist, is a lecturer/assistant professor in the College of Business, University College Dublin.
Silk Road led me to look into Bitcoin, which led me to look into cypherpunks and libertarianism, terms I had never heard before. The experience was formative because I did not just become a bitcoiner, but I changed my entire academic research trajectory to Bitcoin. It was a calculated risk that paid off career-wise.
I spent the next few years completely immersed in the bitcointalk forums. For most of Bitcoin’s early history bitcointalk was Bitcoin and it was amazing. What struck me at the time was how individual everyone was. Most people there held very unique positions and had varied interests. They were rarely on the same page about anything, including Bitcoin! They did not repeat generic talking points or simplistic memes.
This does not mean the users on bitcointalk were nice. Discussions were often mean-spirited, but debates were well-informed and not cliche. You could, as shocking as this may sound in the current atmosphere, actually learn new things there.