By Robert Hackett, Jeff John Roberts, and Jen Wieczner
September 1, 2018

The crypto investing scene is a gloomy place of late but at least one group is having fun. Bitcoin maximalists—folks skeptical of cryptocurrency that’s not Bitcoin—have been having a grand old time dunking on other crypto tribes.

A prime example came in the form of an epic tweetstorm by a bitcoin loyalist named Eric Wall. In thirty tweets sharp as darts, Wall mocked the premise of crypto projects that raise money by selling tokens to use a blockchain service. There’s a glut of these tokens, also known as “alt-coins” (many prefer a prefix that rhymes with “lit”), and their value has imploded spectacularly. Wall says this collapse was inevitable.

“It turns out, requiring users to hold tokens in order to access basic features is bad UX, horribly inefficient & unnecessarily complex,” ” he observes. And Wall has a point. So many alt-coin projects now appear first and foremost designed to sell tokens, rather than creating a compelling technology people want or need. In this sense, the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) economy feels like the obverse of the classic Silicon Valley playbook, where successful startups—think Pinterest or Instagram— attract millions of users and only afterward try to make money from them.

Bitcoin maximalists can also take satisfaction their beloved currency is down about 65% from the height of last year’s mania, when it almost nudged $20,000. That sort of decline is nothing to celebrate, of course, but it looks rosy compared to the wipeouts that have befallen other currencies, many of which have fallen more than 80% or even 90%.

The maximalists can again crow Bitcoin is like honey badger. The currency has run a gauntlet of perils—from forks to exchange hacks to alt-coin competitors—and emerged even stronger. Have a great long weekend, everyone.

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Jeff Roberts
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