Can The Bitcoin Community Handle Adulthood?

Apparently, making a huge public announcement about your secret meeting on a private island is not without controversy. The so called “Block Chain Summit” is now dealing with the irritation of the masses at such childish invitation. (To paraphrase Groucho, I wouldn’t want to belong to any summit that would have me as a member….)

Meanwhile, back on the mainland….

The Arrival of Responsible Adult Supervision

As noted earlier, MIT has launched an important Cryptocurrency Initiative, hosted at the Media Lab. Coinciding with the initiative, the Bitcoin core developers have also moved to MIT, out of the rapidly disintegrating Bitcoin Foundation.

These moves are indubitably good news for Bitcoin, marking the arrival of Responsible Adult Supervision (TM).

The initial directions of the initiative are sketched by Director Brian Forde on Medium.  “We are at a pivotal point for this nascent technology.

This initiative has three goals:

  1. Conduct research and engage more students on digital currency topics that address questions about security, stability, scalability, privacy, and economics.
  2. Convene governments, nonprofits, and the private sector to research and test concepts that have high social impact.
  3. Provide evidence-based research to support existing and future policy and standards.”

“Evidence-based research”?? Can the Bitcoin community handle it?

In an interview with Pete Rizzo of Coindesk Forde elaborates on some important points.

Forde suggested that bitcoin is likely to have use cases that, while potentially beneficial to millions globally, won’t or shouldn’t generate the investment return to attract venture capital.” I.e., this is far more important than short term profits. (Here, here!)

He also wants “a culture of positivity”, which I’m not sure is really an English word, but sure does describe the MIT Media Lab. He criticized “an unhealthy culture that pervades the digital currency community” which reduces diversity and broad participation.

Like I said, “adult”.

“Bitcoin” or “Cryptocurrency” or “Digital Currency”

Forde’s message seems to use the terms “Bitcoin”, “Cryptocurrency”, and “Digital Currency” interchangeably, though I’m sure he knows better. If I have one message to him at this point it is to take the broadest possible view of cryptocurrencies, and not “crucify the Internet on this Cross of Bitcoin”.

As readers of this blog know, I think there is a very big story in the variety of cryptocurrency communities, using the same technology for dramatically different purposes and enacting different cultural narratives.

 

Cryptocurrency Thursday

Brian Forde’s article

Launching a Digital Currency Initiative

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