As a recent convert to Cryptocurrencianism, the first thing that came into my field of view as I started to explore this new universe was, predictably, Bitcoin. And after receiving some Bitcoin and learning how to handle it safely and properly, I became curious about some of the other cryptocurrencies on offer. I also became curious about the people involved. And it became immediately apparent that, while there was a general camaraderie among crypto enthusiasts of all stripes, there was also fierce competition afoot between the supporters of different coins and platforms. Who would be the Winner?
In a very real sense, this is natural. Anything involving money or, more accurately, value on this planet inevitably becomes an economy and therefore attracts business. And when business-minded people look to recent history they see a very clear trend when it comes to emerging techno-business sectors. Most of the time we quickly see two, possibly three, front-runners emerge, while a slew of also-rans struggle in a pack, miles behind.
Perhaps the most striking example of this can be seen in the cell phone industry. Android and iOS are entrenched in the top slots for mobile platforms. Microsoft tried everything they could to make it a 3-way fight, yet they could not compete
well enough to maintain viability. So strong is the duopoly in that sector. We see similar situations in cellular service, internet service, and in non-tech industries, especially those with high bootstrap capital requirements. When I started looking into all of the different alt-coins that have been created, all of the different ideas and visions people have had for changing or improving the exchange of cryptocurrency, I quickly began to realize what a great shame it would be if that trend was applied to this emerging and exponentially expanding sector, as appears to be happening already. What a horror, to have only one or two stupid coins, when right now there are so many wonderful platforms to choose from! That such diversity is even possible in the field of monetary exchange is one of the precious miracles of cryptocurrency. And here some people are cheering its demise. When we look at a thing, it is important to look ahead as well as behind us. It is harder to do this, because looking forward all we can perceive is potentials, variables and possibilities that cannot yet be proven or accepted. However, logic demands that the closer we come, in any given instance, to understanding and accepting all of the possible outcomes, the better prepared we will find ourselves and we will find more doors open to us, due to our perception of them in advance. We can also develop preferences.When I consider a future in which one to three cryptocurrencies have so eclipsed the rest as to make them not viable, I see little to celebrate. In that configuration, I see looming shadows of my lifelong nemesis: Control. Control always prefers a fistful of giants to a large, diverse healthy ecosystem, for obvious reasons. Anyone that values the other precious miracles of cryptocurrency, like privacy, autonomy or decentralization should prefer the latter. Because we stand to lose all of them if these people are unfortunate enough to have their wish for platform domination granted.
Contrast this with a future where the many alt-coins and tokens
we see today flourish and continue to grow, remaining an important part of the cryptocurrency ecosystem and a healthy portion of the market capitalization. Because there would be so many different ways to store, track and deploy value, it will be nearly impossible for Control to gain much of a foothold, barring draconian measures that would likely spur a whole new set of problems to worry about. The most important qualities of cryptocurrency as a value store would, in this future, be best preserved and positioned to further improve. But for me this question goes further than logic. Most people that are being honest will admit to some superficiality in our preferences. We may differ in opinion on what is beautiful, but within the bounds of our own definition, most of us prefer beauty over ugliness. Already when I hear the word “Bitcoin” my mind flashes to Victory brand cigarettes from Orwell's 1984, or something like Acme, for cartoon fans that are reading this. It already has that feel to me and if everyone is using it, I just can’t get that excited about it. I tend to like a little flavor in my meals.
What exists, precariously, in the present is wonderfully exciting. All of the different ways to store and exchange value, each with it’s own unique branding, purpose and message and, in many cases, value added proposition over the base cryptocurrency concepts. Each one doing something different, each one trying to get the formula right. Then there are the tokens, which allow high-level innovators to test even more esoteric concepts on a proven and bootstrapped crypto platform. This isn't wordprocessing. This is value - money. Whether or not you or anyone sees it, they are busy shaping the future. Extrapolating this forward, I can see a future where how you choose to pay someone says as much about you, or perhaps your opinion of the recipient, as what you are choosing to pay them for and the look on your face when you pay them. Given a choice between this future and “Victory Coin” only, there is no choice to be made. When I have a legitimate debt to settle with someone I don’t like or who has done me wrong, but whom I have over a barrel for the purpose of the transaction, I want to be able to pay them in Useless Tokens. “I’ll settle the debt, you sonofabitch, but I’m giving you Useless fucking Tokens
and you’re going to like it.”
That’s the future I want to live in.These are some of the reasons that, when I see the word “shitcoin”
in someone’s narrative, they have already lost points with me and I am less likely to accept their arguments as valid once all is considered. Those “shitcoins” represent an important part of the future of cryptocurrency, and whether or not it will remain a wonderful thing or become a bane to humanity – yet another yoke of oppression for Control to hold over us. Yes, there are scams, and nobody likes it when someone promises returns and then runs with the money. Like anything else in life, you do need to be careful where you put your money. But for each bona-fide scammer there are 100 sincere (and semi-sincere, which is human and fine) projects trying interesting and potentially valuable things with their platforms. That should be supported and applauded, yet I often see people calling anything that isn’t Bitcoin Core a scam. For my part, I’m rooting for all of the coins, tokens and platforms to win. In this case, by “win” I mean to become and remain a viable, active part of the overall ecosystem with a healthy market capitalization and easy exchange and liquidity. You don’t have to use every single one yourself. But if you are among the people I’ve seen praying for them all to fail, I suggest to you that you are severely misguided and ought to consider your position. The future is only a day away and much is already in danger of being lost.