David Zell is a co-founder of the Bitcoin Policy Institute and Director of Policy at BTC Inc. In this interview, we discuss echo chambers and groupthink, how Bitcoin being for everyone makes it stronger, the threat of Bitcoin to China, and political exploitation.
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Bitcoin’s survival and flourishing from the early days was down to having an impassioned and protective community. Some of this was defensive; resilience builds over years of criticism and ridicule. Some of this was offensive as various existential risks have had to be overcome.
What has evolved is a kind of ethical militancy, as Bitcoin maximalists have banded together to thwart anything that could damage Satoshi’s original vision. However, there is an obvious drawback to this approach in that some have become hardened to any idea or person deemed to be antithetical to the cause.
But what is the cause? Can there be divergent opinions on what Bitcoin is and who it should serve to assist? Can Bitcoin be for everyone? If the Bitcoin community doesn’t open itself to adoption by those from across the political spectrum does it risk stagnating or fragmenting? What about opposing views at the nation-state level?
These seem like positive discussions to be had: it is an obvious sign of maturation. It’s intuitive to think it is in Bitcoin’s interest to have a broad church. But will isolating its detractors make Bitcoin stronger, or energise the threats against it?