Earlier this year, we saw a civil war emerging between Bitcoin’s earliest, most anarchist, and most libertarian advocates; and those willing to accept a greater level of regulation in the name of mainstream adoption.
Thursday afternoon brought more evidence of this conflict.
In new comments on Quora, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong heavily criticised Bitcoin evangelists on the very site he runs, calling out the hysteria that can fill Bitcoin forums there.
Without being too inflammatory, the userbase for bitcoin is basically crazy libertarians who are increasingly poorly-informed about currency systems and macroeconomics. I say “increasingly” because at one time it was fairly well-informed libertarians but as the currency has become mainstream, it’s attracted more poorly-informed individuals and the conversation have become more polarised and less knowledge-based, driving the well-informed and balanced people away, or at least prompting them to recede into the background.
He sees nothing wrong with the currency itself, but says these types of individuals are giving the currency a bad name:
I think that the obsession in the bitcoin community with bringing down central banks, fiat currencies, and governments is misguided and generally misses the point of bitcoin, which I think is that for the first time in history, we have the technology for enabling extremely low-friction electronic payments and certain trust-delegation mechanisms. That in and of itself is incredibly valuable. (There are also programmability features in the codebase that potentially open the door for zero-trust contracts and other intriguing possibilities, but they haven’t been activated or tested yet)
And he argues it actually makes tracking transactions for illicit good easier.
I would not be surprised if the NSA is actually heavily in favour of bitcoin, because by combining their other data streams, they can cross-correlate activity on the blockchain and essentially know exactly who is doing what.