I love Bitcoin – and the world Bitcoin helps create – as much as any very die-hard Bitcoiner. Therefore, I want to do and say things that will help him succeed. This desire is not unique at all.
However, sometimes what doesn’t seem productive turns out to be productive.
Constructive criticism is productive discourse for Bitcoin. Pointing out wrong assumptions is productive discourse for Bitcoin. Enumeration of dangers is a productive discourse for Bitcoin. Exposing hypocritical goals and actions is (or may be) productive discourse.
At the same time, illogical or pointless criticism is not productive discourse. Criticism because you haven’t done the work to better understand Bitcoin is not a productive discourse. Appealing to authority or intuition instead of well-researched information is not productive discourse. Refusal to understand different uses by different people is not productive discourse.
I think most people would theoretically agree with the above. But then again, we’re human. Our wants, needs, and emotions often get in the way.
Listening to criticism is not very pleasant. Criticism – regardless of merit – is pleasant. Immediate or short-term gratification is pleasurable. These are inseparable incentives of each person.
As a result, the noise increases and the signal weakens. As a result, the wisest Bitcoin prophets are often dismissed or ignored. Or get rid of them. Such “kill the messenger” behavior will be costly.
Messengers are killed in the bull market. Messengers are killed in a bear market. Messengers are killed during a sideways trend. Messengers are killed… just like that.
Those who have been riddled with bullets know who they are. They often repeat the same thing. Let’s repeat and consider only some of their messages:
If you want Bitcoin to serve people’s safety and freedom and human rights, don’t post pictures without people’s consent.
If you want people to be physically secure with Bitcoin, stop sharing information with marketing firms that don’t meet the security requirements needed for Bitcoin customers. At the very least, use different email addresses for marketing systems and for account access or downloads.
If you want decentralization of miners around the world, stop over promoting mining in your city, your company and your country.
If you want privacy, don’t claim that something offers complete privacy if it doesn’t.
If your organization’s stated mission is to “protect civil liberties in the digital world,” then you should state that when a bill is introduced that addresses all of these issues. This is me addressing you, Electronic Frontier Foundation.
If you want people to be smart with their money, don’t tell them to go into debt or mortgage their houses to put all their money in bitcoin and walk away.
If you want a peaceful revolution, under no circumstances say that Bitcoin is analogous to a weapon.
If you want people to understand Bitcoin, don’t resort to irrational equivalents to explain it. In a recent Bitcoin Magazine article, Steven Livera wrote about this very problem.
(Dear reader, this is the place for other such “what if” clauses.)
If you don’t think any of the above is that important, then make a counterargument. With the possible exception of the last one, all of the above pose a real threat to the physical safety and security of people. All the points are an integral part of what people call the goals of Bitcoin.
Human incentives are often based on short-term or immediate gratification rather than long-term consequences or outcomes. It is necessary to humbly do the research, do the hard work, and put in the effort to solve the above problems, as well as other technical and business problems that arise and need to be solved.
Let us not reject useful messages or their heralds in 2023. Instead, let’s look at our own short-term incentives and gratifications – and compare them to the goals that Bitcoin is supposed to achieve…