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CEO of Reddit: "The userbase for bitcoin is basically crazy libertarians"

In a post on Quora, Reddit CEO Yishan Wong blasts the ideological fervor behind the crypto-currency


Sarah Gray
March 27, 2014 11:25PM (UTC)

In a post on Quora the CEO of Reddit, Yishan Wong, opines the benefits of crypto-currencies, such as Bitcoin and their iterations including dogecoin, which he effusively praises. (The specific question he was answering was "What does Yishan Wong think about Dogecoin?") "Crypto-currency is the same," Wong writes. "It's not about bitcoin.  It's about anyone being able to create and launch a crypto-currency much like bitcoin, but with little tweaks and changes to fit the usage needs of the population looking to transact in it."

Crypto-currencies may be the same in Wong's eyes, but the ideology behind the crypto-currencies is the differentiating marker. And Wong is not particularly taken with Bitcoin's userbase:

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"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 polarized and less knowledge-based, driving the well-informed and balanced people away, or at least prompting them to recede into the background."

In some ways Bitcoin has become synonymous with the techno-libertarian dream. It is as much known for being the first crypto-currency as it for its desires to break free from government and traditional baking institutions. Wong thinks this is ridiculous:

Thus, I think that the obsession in the bitcoin community with bringing down central banks, fiat currencies, and governements (sic) 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."

He also completely debunks the pipe-dream of having bitcoin be untraceable and the go-to currency for truly anonymous transactions:

"Every time some bitcoin-related shenanigans go down, the entire community tracks the movement of certain bitcoins through the blockchain.  If I were trying to transact illicit funds, that would not be my currency of choice.  I would not be surprised if the NSA is actually heavily in favor 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."

Finally Wong points out that bitcoin users' ideological bent turns of much of the mainstream, and currency can't be niche. In order for currency to be useful and adoptable, everyone has to want to use it.

h/t Quora; Reddit


Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on innovation. Follow @sarahhhgray or email sgray@salon.com.

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Bitcoin Cryptocurrency Libertarians Reddit Technology




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