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Ruben Alexander

The Bitcoin community has shown me that nothing can stop a group of people who are passionate in their beliefs. In our case, we believe everyone in the world deserves the right to financial freedom. My goal is to make sure everyone can see that this Bitcoin movement has the power to change the world for the better through every story we publish. Before working with Bitcoin Magazine I was involved in freelance writing, illustration, renders, making electronic music, and 3d print designs (http://www.behance.net/urbenz). I'm also a married dude and a father of 2 who loves to have fun with his family, cook, and travel. Contact me by shooting a message to: ruben [at] bitcoinmagazine.com

October 1, 2014
Digital assets

The Confusion in Competition

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  3. The Confusion in Competition
A Bitcoin signet, proposed by Karl-Johan Alm, could provide a more predictable and stable Bitcoin testnet for development.
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Sports, in many senses, polarize a playing field. They foster an ‘us versus them’ mentality that when taken to an extreme, can hurt others or create an environment where anyone playing the game is at risk for the sake of competition.

I’ve seen this same spirit among those who support altcoins and have explicitly said their altcoin’s goal is to supplant Bitcoin’s current #1 spot.

Is that really a worthy goal? Is there something better all cryptocurrencies can strive towards?

Polarizing cryptocurrencies into rankings or villainizing other altcoins totally obfuscates the true purpose we share: to rise above the lie that we only have the freedom to use currencies issued by sovereign nations. Anyone who claims another cryptocurrency as their opponent brings our community back to the primitive days before the word cryptocurrency was even coined … before we knew we had a choice.

Many psychologists have written about competition and how it can contort the goals of a group.  Here’s a perfect example: is it better to give a trophy to the best speller in a group or reward a group when every member excels at spelling?

Alfie Kohn’s book No Contest: A Case Against Competition talks about four myths people believe when using competition as an excuse for an attitude or behavior:

1) Competition is Inevitable

2) Competition Keeps Productivity High and is Necessary for Excellence

3) Recreation Requires Competition

4) Competition Builds Character


Competition Is Avoidable

Coinmarketcap.com cleanly lists the highest ranking cryptocurrencies into a list that can be sorted based on market cap or what they use to calculate market cap by multiplying the current price by the total number of coins to be issued. This in no way takes into account the strengths of a coin or what makes a coin unique, which I believe are the reasons one should choose to support a cryptocoin. Can anyone put a value on whether a coin is more unique than another?

Competition Is Not Necessary For Excellence

The Bitcoin software development team has many forward thinking designers, but many other developers have been able to stand off their efforts and create cryptocurrencies that are ASIC resistant, anonymous from the get go, or adjust the network difficulty on the fly to deal with multipool mining. All of these are excellent advancements, and together they present more importance to consumers than any one individual advancement.

Recreation Doesn’t Require Competition

Bitcoin is wonderful, and really should be used or modified to be more usable instead of making an entirely new coin for a small improvement. But is there anything wrong with a developer making a new altcoin just for fun? Absolutely not. Could a group of people make a cryptocoin just for a small community? Of course they can. This is the beauty of the free market. Bitcoin is not only a gateway out of an old financial infrastructure, but a portal into many other coins that one should (as with any decision related to money) proceed with caution.

Competition Doesn’t Build Character

New cryptocoin users can very easily get turned off to digital currencies when other cryptocoin users excessively pimp their own coin and their coin’s projects. Trying to “push a coin” onto a new community member possesses the same single mindedness as the former ways where money had regional boundaries and physical (and fictional) restrictions.

It isn’t necessary to snuff out another group for a cryptocoin to do well. It is in our best interest to preserve the choice we leave to virgin cryptocoin users who are tired of seeing coercive restrictions and competition.