Bitcoin Maximalism: What Is It?
Bitcoin maximalists are receiving more attention in the mainstream media. But what are they? Read on for more.
Bitcoin maximalism is the belief that Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency and digital asset that will have – and should have, right now – any meaningful value. Bitcoin is the one true coin. All other options – from Shiba Inu to Dogecoin, from XRP to Ethereum – are not worth anyone’s time or energy.
There’s a complex set of beliefs and practicalities that underpin the stance of Bitcoin Maximalists, also known as ‘maxis’ – though, some prefer the term ‘Bitcoiner’ as ‘maximalism’ suggests a certain blanketed contempt for other coins. It is not contempt, as such. Rather, it’s the belief that Bitcoin can be all that need be offered for the safety, security, and success of the consumer.
Bitcoin’s Use Cases in the Context of Tech and Cultural Developments
The key criticism levelled at Bitcoin is that it’s a one-trick-pony. All Bitcoin can do is store value. All Bitcoin can be is a digital asset traded for goods, services, and other coins or fiat money. This isn’t a bad use. It’s not that it isn’t good at this. The criticism doesn’t necessarily take aim at its capacity to be money. Bitcoin still holds the number-one position – quite convincingly – as the coin most used in transactions when making purchases, in addition to how it’s traded as a stock-like asset. As the crypto market’s inaugural coin and market leader, Bitcoin is the highest-profile option and common denominator among investors, which is why those looking to purchase Bitcoin pay a higher price than for other coins.
As a Payment Method for ‘Traditional’ Transactions
This dominance is dwindling, though. Ether’s rise is heavily linked with Ethereum’s merge – the coin which will enable interaction with the dApps built on the platform and execute smart contracts– but Ether is emerging as a coin for payments. It’s these multiple uses which cause experts to suggest the price of Ether could be higher than Bitcoin’s in the future. Altcoins like Doge and Shiba Inu are attracting new interests due to high praise from unofficial crypto scene figureheads like Elon Musk. However, the swath of stablecoins – which offer much less volatility than standard crypto coins despite the drama surrounding Luna, USDC, and Tether causing viability concerns in the early moments of what’s become a Crypto Winter – also present a genuine challenge to Bitcoin, able to shine where Bitcoin has deficiencies: value stability.
Stablecoins have found notable use for cross-border payments. Where value stability finds its particular benefit here is because it can take a few days for cross-border payments to be finalised. As such, due to Bitcoin’s volatility, there’s a worry that the vendor may ‘lose’ money before the transaction is fulfilled. With stablecoins, the odds of that are lower as their value is pegged to fiat money. However, the collapse and de-pegging of Luna, USDC, and Tether show that the odds of that are never zero. This is also the reason why, when selling coins, traders often buy stablecoins as a store for their cash, to keep their funds within the crypto environment as it can take a few days to withdraw fiat money from such dealings due to regulations, meaning, should they wish to re-invest soon after sales, they can do it much faster if they’re holding stablecoins rather than waiting for their fiat to come through.
Crypto payments are likely to continue to be a growing option for businesses of all kinds. While reports suggest an increasing percentage of crypto payments are for luxury goods, another report indicates there is a willingness for retailers across a variety of markets to accept crypto over the coming years. Again, Bitcoin’s volatility vs. stablecoins’ stability could be a deciding factor in how long-term this arrangement will be.
As a Payment Method for Web3 and in the Metaverse
The ‘term’ Web3 continues its ascent to prominence. Its features and architecture receive increased attention and scrutiny as projects are launched, and their realities are getting ever closer to becoming actuality. Crypto is tied to Web3. DeFi, NFTs, the Metaverse, crypto coins in general – it’s all subsumed under Web3’s rallying cry of the next evolution of the internet making ownership and monetization more accessible, more decentralised, and more equitable.
While there aren’t necessarily any clear products emerging with the kind of fervour expected for such a crucial development in the history of the internet, beyond Meta’s Metaverse – though the initial applications and use for this too remain unclear – crypto and blockchain technology is seen as a cornerstone, even a backbone. Investment in companies pursuing Web3 products and services has remained consistent despite the advancement of the Crypto Winter.
Bitcoin’s relevance here remains fixed to its ‘one-trick-pony’ use: digital money. Bitcoin could be used to purchase services, digital goods, digital real estate – all of everything imagined for Web 3. Whereas the likes of Ether will be integral to accessing the dApps built on Ethereum, for example – which has its sights set on the Web3 environment – Bitcoin’s position is largely tied to its global adoption. Bitcoin has no claim to being the default option other than its current position. As such, should a coin like Doge usurp Bitcoin as the number-one, Bitcoin won’t be obsolete but just another option, paving way for newer and newer additions to the crypto market.
What the Maxis Say
Bitcoin maxis accept all this talk of Bitcoin’s lack of versatility. However, they are firm believers in the ability of bitcoin to adapt, to scale and meet the growing needs of consumers and developers as the Web3 era is ushered in. The issue maxis have is that new coins attract new users to the crypto space, not Bitcoin. Bitcoin is seen as a ‘boomer coin’. It’s old news, boring. Overcoming this via development is key.
Maxis, though, do warn new and existing users about any and all new coins, even existing ones. Despite being crypto enthusiasts, they are keenly aware of the crypto endeavours and coins available which appear as solid investments and trustworthy additions but are revealed to be scams. They state that with Bitcoin as the one true coin, users won’t have to worry about the authenticity of a coin.
Bitcoin’s Centralisation Issues
In essence, what maxis seek is a return to the core roots of Bitcoin – a fully and committedly decentralised money – that offers consumers, companies, and governments a stable store of value, while, at the same time, proving its trustworthiness across the backdrop of the wider crypto industry that it believes struggles with scams and scandals. This ‘essence’ holds contradictions, ones which are replicated throughout the wider crypto scene as they attempt to balance ethos and theory with practical applications and necessities. The core issue is centralisation vs. decentralisation. They contend, over time, as the crypto market faces up to regulations and as global adoption rises and the flow of bitcoin spreads through more nodes and more wallets – at the same time that Bitcoin itself undergoes changes and forks – decentralisation will be improved, but it may take a little centralisation to ensure that it gets to the optimal moment to do so, as the maximalists grow their share of the available bitcoin reserve as a show of faith, despite, potentially, pricing out new users.
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