NOTE: (Why I became a Bitcoin Maximalist) This title is old and there is an update to the topic
Bitcoin maximalism is a feature, not a bug. This is a quote you’ll often hear or read online. It’s a statement I learned to appreciate. Continue reading to understand how I ended up here.
NOTE TO READERS: I have updated my views on this topic. I explain everything in this article:
Let’s wind the clock back. As you may have seen, I got on board with Bitcoin in 2013, went back and forth, and eventually dove in fully in 2017. Back then, Bitcoin was the only interesting project to me. There might have been a few others, but I was never really into the whole ICO thing and not interested in proof of stake.
However, when I started to work in the crypto sector, I began getting in touch with other projects. Most of them were DAOs, which in fact, are decentralized in name only, and every one of them had its own token. They said they used them for governance, but in reality, most of these tokens were exit liquidity for investors or the founding team.
Up until 2020, I heavily invested in Bitcoin. Whether it was stacking Sats, educating, or researching. I was there but never just locked into BTC. I played around with ETH and other altcoins as well. It was mainly due to the bull run and the rising prices of those altcoins.
I started to work for DAOs and helped them with their ideas. Some tried to help the Bitcoin ecosystem, others were ’layer 2 solutions, but most only used Bitcoin in name to gain followers and new investors. Almost all of them paid me in either FIAT, stablecoins, or their own tokens. Usually, I exchanged the tokens into BTC; However, sometimes, I would wait for a price spike and then cash out.
Suddenly something changed. It was in January 2020 when I finished another one of these web3 projects. Another one of those staking platforms which only worked for early investors. It was a Ponzi scheme and not one of them that ran for a short period of time, in fact, it was quite successful and had been up for years at that point.
Why a Ponzi, you may ask? Well, the founding team told me that they only look for exit liquidity and aim to pump the price of their token. A token you had to hold with 20% of your portfolio to get the most out of the platform. How can you work in the decentralized world and say this?! At that moment, I knew something was wrong, and I had to find out what the issue was.
I sat down again and started with the basics: What is the difference between proof of work versus proof of stake? What are tokenomics? Is there an ICO, or do you have to mine them? Is there a big influx of VC money, or did the value of the project evolve naturally?
By answering all of these questions, I concluded that most of these projects are doomed to fail or be wiped out. Almost none are truly decentralized, as they’re either run by a central institution or VCs have too much power. None of the promises they make in their marketing are fulfilled, and they all function in a bull market. Once a bear market is in, most drop hard and leave the project behind.
Keep in mind I came to that conclusion in January 2020. This was before we saw the giant liquidation wave in May and June 2022. Therefore I didn’t know yet what was about to happen. However, I had some suspicions. I admit I also had some coins on custodial services such as Nexo and Celsius.
I didn’t hesitate long and started liquidating or paying back outstanding loans. Most of them had BTC as collateral, so I was interested in getting that back and moving it into cold storage. Luckily, I could sell most of my holdings with a profit and pay back all of my loans this way.
Full disclosure, I would later use Nexo again to get a Bitcoin loan. However, this was done intentionally, and I allocated a small number of my holdings. Thanks to the bull run at the end of 2020 and in the middle of 2021, I could pay that loan back in 8 months. Nowadays, though, I would not use them again and rely on Bitcoin-focused companies to get a collateral loan.
By now, the maxi bug bit me, and I wanted to find out more. I started looking into Bitcoin-only companies and found great resources. Most of them I already knew or followed on Twitter, but I never really engaged with them. Also, I had some jobs where I couldn’t post public opinions, thanks to NDAs. Something I would never do again. As this is basically censorship, I was naive and believed I needed to do this to get more jobs in the future. Idiotic, but it led me to Bitcoin. All good then.
I’ve gotten to the point where I realized how much of the crypto world is fraudulent and that Bitcoin is not crypto. The realization of how powerful proof of work truly is - big thanks to Saifedean Ammous for your tweets and education about it - why BTC is not just powerful in terms of wealth creation but also the store of value with it. The last eye-opening moment for me was how third-world countries can use it as an alternative to the US Dollar.
I started doing the Bitcoin thing and educated everyone around me. I explained to them how you get your coins off exchanges, what cold storage is, why it’s so important and how central lending services steal their money.
People were amazed when I told them that it’s daylight robbery to have 10 to 25% of your portfolio in a shitcoin on a lending platform. Look what happened with Celsius. People couldn’t post more collateral because their token was failing so fast. If people were to choose their collateral assets, the whole liquidation might not have happened. Same to be said for other services.
I managed to get my family off central services and a part of my social circle. Not all of them, as I explained in this article, but most of them listened and understood the problem. Incidents like the Canadian trucker protests, where people’s bank accounts were frozen due to their opinions, also helped educate people. A lot of friends finally understood what I meant by Bitcoin being apolitical. It’s open 24/7 and doesn’t care what you say or do.
Next to news and current events, I also spend a lot of my time reading terms of service documents to understand the processes in case a company goes bust. The more I read how these companies worked and how much danger users of these services were, the stronger became my maxi position.
Before that research, I would believe in a Bitcoin-first approach. However, I would respect the other side of the market. If people would find their way to Bitcoin, I was happy. If not, and they feel safe in ETH land, I would accept that too.
After understanding how these things work and that every maxi wants to save people from losing money, I eventually changed my opinion about it.
I have a different look at the toxic stance maxis takes on Twitter. Sure, some of them are very obnoxious. A lot of them believe that Bitcoin solves all problems around the world. Which is one of the statements I don’t fully agree with. But it sounds nice and floods you with a tone of new followers.
If you look behind the curtain and listen to what we have to say, you’ll realize that we all want regular folks to understand what they invest their time and money in. We want people to learn how the financial system works, what options they have in the market, and how to analyze an asset.
To attract people to these solutions, we have to be loud. We have to be obnoxious, and we have to be extreme. We’re the first base of a movement that sees a brighter future and more possibilities for future generations.
I’m not a fan of trashing people or being rude toward others. Bitcoin is open and permissionless. If someone wants to share why they believe their shitcoin is better, I sit down and listen. Often they ignore certain aspects or don't fully understand everything.
I don’t believe in calling everything a scam, as there are always a few projects trying to solve real-world problems. These might be problems that Bitcoin can’t solve just yet. Don’t get me wrong, 95% of the coins are scams. But there are a few who are solving problems for less fortunate communities. Which is something I appreciate.
Even the name Bitcoin maximalism is a funny one to me. I would much prefer to be a Bitcoin fan or enthusiast. But as you might know, the name came to be because Vitalik Buterin tried to insult Bitcoin fans and created a new slogan for us. So, for now, I stick with it. It took me a few years to accept that I’m a maximalist, even though I was always encouraging and preferring Bitcoin. But like everything else, it takes time to evolve into something.
I ended up becoming a Bitcoin maximalist because I saw regular people getting rugged by greedy investors and founders. Something Satoshi prevented by inventing Bitcoin. After all, it was a response to the greed of the 2008 financial crisis.
Once I understood how beautiful this technology is and how many wonderful people are beside you, I knew I couldn’t go back anymore.
We definitely still have a lot of work to do. Self-custody will always be a big task. People need to understand the difference between central and decentral systems, and there are many issues Bitcoin needs to fix.
However, this technology is only a few years old. We’re still so early and need to take it daily to educate people.
One thing is certain; Bitcoin maximalism is a feature, not a bug!