TL;DR: My alternate title was Bitcoin Cash is Now the People’s Front of Judea (PFJ). The Monty Python skit from the 1979 British comedy, Life of Bryan, has been made flesh among Bitcoin Cash (BCH) tribes. A hapless noob wanders into a cool, intriguing idea, asking innocent enough questions … only to be shouted down in a chorus of pointless pedantry and in-group nonsense. BCH is getting dangerously close to becoming the PFJ.
Bitcoin Cash Forgot About the Most Important Person in Its Community
About a year ago, we introduced the cryptocurrency world to Laura Young. She was then already becoming something of a veteran in the Bitcoin Cash community. Soon dubbed Spice Queen for her ubiquity in the CoinSpice Telegram chatroom and for her SLP token advocacy of SPICE, she is a warm, inviting ambassador for peer-to-peer electronic cash.
She represents the most important aspect of the BCH realm, the user-evangelist, the non-finance non-bro. Not a dev. An American Gen X everywoman (yes, woman) resting near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina, the Spice Queen would blush at being called literally the most important person in the P2P cash community. The point stands: atypical users are the untapped demographic Bitcoin Cash needs to grow, flourish, and become money for the world. Laura Young is she.
On June 20, 2020, however, the Spice Queen entered our walled garden to announce, “Well I sold close to 100 BCH the other day and just trying to figure out when I’m going to completely bail. I even stopped my meetups. I joined BCH because of the kindness and commitment from the community but what it has become over the last 6 months has just become very disheartening.”
The People’s Front of Judea
This author came up-front-and-personal with her sentiment, happening myself into a BCH project’s Telegram group, attempting “to clarify distinctions still muddy in my soft brain,” I posted there. Two sides of an ongoing issue are claiming each is potentially at fault and itching for the coin’s ultimate destruction (this very line will prove I am a partisan to some). An original signatory to the project’s founding grew impatient with me exactly two questions-in, insisting, “I know he’s gearing for a hit piece.” Another signatory demanded, “Stop.”
My crime? I asked how an outsider could judge opposing sides on a BCH issue, using technical grounds, since both camps claim the moral upper hand, hoping this project’s Telegram channel could help me sort an answer. Something like an hour of my time was instead spent defending myself and this journal from accusations of being a bad actor, fending off assumptions from the project’s fans such as, “See I knew you were headed there” as a provocateur, and how it was “disingenuous of [(me)] to start pushing some […] narrative.”
When I reiterated, “I am trying to understand,” again I was throttled with responses like “to me it sounds like some narrative you are creating” and how my line of questioning was “kind of a shitty assumption to start from.” The previously impatient signatory sobered, already exasperated and put-upon by my seeming belligerence, urging potential jumpers-in of this PFJ-acting cadre to “stay calm guys, don’t harass Kelso.” I hate becoming part of a story.
Not Just One Project
For sure, my brush with BCH tribalism isn’t unique. Plenty of others on various social media platforms have been referred to as “mobs” and traitors and conspirators in cahoots with notoriously Bitcoin Cash-hating coins. No one is safe. No project in BCH has the moral high ground. The good news is, the lead developer (for the project so willing to come at me during that Telegram gang-up), chimed in. “I’m hoping [this BCH project] can also be a catalyst for more collaboration between [other BCH projects],” he offered refreshingly.
Amidst attacks on the size of my genitalia, calls for me to go elsewhere, and literally doubting my journalistic integrity and intelligence quotient, to read some confident, clear leadership was very encouraging. In fairness, the exchange that day wasn’t all wasted nerd rage. As some of the PFJ held their fire after leaders calmed themselves and their minions, a little light snuck in here and there. And because I continue to hold the project’s participants in high regard, I absorbed solid information.
But what about the on-lookers, … say anyone else trying to get a sense of Bitcoin Cash? What are they thinking as they read back-and-forths like the one I had (presented only as representative of the community as a whole, not pointing fingers at specific folks)? It can’t be good. And at that near exact time, the Spice Queen brought it all full circle when I reached out to her personally for an interview.
Spice Queen Speaks
CoinSpice: Take me through a little more about what you’re feeling toward BCH right now.
Spice Queen: My feeling about BCH right now is disappointment, anger, and also a bit of confusion.
Why are you disappointed?
I am disappointed in the lack of communication, the communication that is being had is filled with poison and suspicion. If you even ask a question to some (not all) it is turned around as you are for the other team. I have not run into this personally but I have seen it happen to so many by just lurking in the dev chats. I have always known that communication is not a strong point of the BCH community, but what I am witnessing right now is unlike anything I have witnessed here before.
When it comes to many of the developers they aren’t great at communication, but that is ok. They are great at coding, and that is what has been important for the success of BCH and it is accepted among many.
Even though all this is about the developers and the path they are taking us down, the more vile words and pollution right now are coming from the community. It’s ok to have a difference of opinion and it is also ok to verbally express your opinion, but in my opinion, it is not ok to do so in a manner that just inspires more hate and does not encourage the other party to reach an amicable decision.
Why are you angry?
I’m angry because I have spent the last 2 years almost 3 at helping build this community. I joined BCH because they were so helpful at any time no matter what was happening in the community. Many joined crypto to make a quick easy buck, and so did I in the first month or two, but that is not why I stayed. I stayed because I believe in the bigger picture here.
I have seen many new people come into the space and have asked for help, and when they have found their way into a BCH chat they are greeted with “You are a Troll” or other not so kind words. All they were looking for is help learning how to use BCH. And as we all know learning crypto is not so easy. If that had happened to me I would have run as fast as I could and never looked back.
When we started with SPICE [(the SLP token; not affiliated with CoinSpice)], one of the first things we said was “won’t it be great to spread the word about BCH with something as simple as a token.” Well that is happening I have so many wonderful newcomers to BCH who are eager to learn and I can’t imagine what would have happened to them if they would have first joined a Telegram group first.
So yeah I’m angry that the community has automatically become suspicious of any newcomer to BCH instead of welcoming them with open arms. I’m angry that this is no longer about P2P cash and it has become about who will be in control of BCH.
Why are you confused?
I guess I am confused because I am being torn between my head and my heart. My head telling me this has become a literal circus and my heart saying this shall pass, and then I look at all the hard work I have put into it. I have personally accomplished so much in this last year with BCH. In my community alone, I have fed 10 families during the quarantine and provided much-needed medicine to families that would not have been able to receive the treatment they so desperately needed. I joined BCH to help people and to spread the word about a global currency and that is what I will continue to do, but now I will continue to do this in the community that myself and the other SPICE partners have built.
The good news is, since I made that recent post in the private CoinSpice Telegram, many people in the BCH community have reached out to me from different status levels, from project leads to regular users. Even the very rivals themselves have reached out to me. That has helped restore a bit of faith in the BCH community.
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DYOR: CoinSpice is your home for just spicy crypto things. We’re not affiliated with any cryptocurrency project or token. Each published piece is intended for information purposes only, not investment advice and not in the hope of impacting speculative markets. There are plenty of trading sites and coin-specific advocacy journals out there, we’re neither. CoinSpice strives for rigorous accuracy in our reporting. Information presented here is contingent usually on a host of factors, and the ecosystem moves fast — prices change, projects change, and at warp speed. Do your own research.
DISCLOSURE: The author holds cryptocurrency as part of his financial portfolio, including BCH.