The Cryptocurrency War: Bitcoin Maximalism vs. Minimalism

These two belief systems, while looking to achieve the same thing — a new, decentralized and digital economy — are at odds with one another. So, are you a Bitcoin maximalist, or minimalist? 

Bitcoin Maximalist or Minimalists
In the cryptocurrency industry, Bitcoin is currently the gold standard. It’s the digital asset that preceded all others, and has laid the foundation for everything that has come since. For some, Bitcoin is, and will forever be, the only viable cryptocurrency. But for others, Bitcoin is just the beginning of a burgeoning industry which will continue to evolve. These two belief systems, while looking to achieve the same thing — a new, decentralized and digital economy — are at odds with one another. So, are you a Bitcoin maximalist, or minimalist? 
Bitcoin Maximalism
Bitcoin Maximalism
You’re a Bitcoin maximalist if you believe that Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency of value and will be the only digital asset to matter in the future. Maximalists see Bitcoin as the one digital currency to rule them all. Everything else calling itself a cryptocurrency will eventually be found useless.
Maximalism Ideology
Maximalists view any other cryptocurrency, no matter what it is, as disingenuous to the ethos of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. Nakamoto created Bitcoin as a form of decentralized, peer-to-peer cash that could be used across the globe. Decentralization is the key to Bitcoin’s success and usability. The use of semi-permissioned and fully permissioned blockchains completely negates the need for digital currency as seen by maximalists. 

One of the biggest things maximalists have going for them is the network effect of Bitcoin, which states the network becomes stronger and more valuable the more people use it. Because Bitcoin is the oldest and most widely used cryptocurrency, its network is significantly stronger than any of its other competitors, and this distance only continues to grow.
However, Bitcoin still has its problems. The amount of power needed to secure the Bitcoin blockchain via its proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism is getting out of control, and the network itself isn’t yet scalable to the level where it could facilitate the amount of daily transactions necessary to make it a viable currency. Even further, Bitcoin is limited in its usage, and doesn’t provide mechanisms for building smart contracts and decentralized applications (dApps) which other blockchains are specifically designed to support.
All of these issues, claim Bitcoin maximalists, are currently being worked on and will eventually be solved. The question is, are there other, better options for cryptocurrency enthusiasts?
Notable Maximalists
Most Bitcoin maximalists have either had a hand in developing the decentralized network from the beginning, or, have a deep understanding and knowledge of its intricacies. Here are several Bitcoin maximalists staunch in their belief that Bitcoin is set to be the currency of the future:

Jameson Lopp - Bitcoin engineer
Jimmy Song - Bitcoin developer and teacher
Andreas Antonopoulos - Bitcoin advocate and public speaker
Bitcoin Minimalism
Bitcoin Minimalism
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum, there is a large group who feel that while Bitcoin was the spark that ignited the cryptocurrency fire, it is not the end-all-be-all of cryptocurrencies. You’re a Bitcoin minimalist if you believe that Bitcoin is only the tip of the iceberg for the cryptocurrency industry, and instead of one cryptocurrency ruling the industry, there will be a whole host of digital assets to provide value in the future..
Minimalism Ideology
History shows that first movers in new technologies don’t always last. In the early days of the internet, America Online (AOL) was the tool the general public used to access the web in its early years. At the time, AOL was seen as an innovation beyond belief, and one that would last forever. Alas, AOL was slowly taken over by better tools and technology and today doesn’t even exist. Could Bitcoin suffer this same fate?

Satoshi Nakamoto publicised the idea of digital currency in his Bitcoin whitepaper and showed the world what a cryptocurrency could be. But the uses for this technology have now far exceeded what Satoshi ever could have imagined. Cryptocurrencies can be used in supply chain management, intellectual property, organizational governance, and so much more. However, Bitcoin is not built for these purposes, and now its own industry is surpassing it.

There are also issues that Bitcoin does not solve, such as micro-payments and scalability. Satoshi’s vision also required a fully decentralized blockchain architecture, without pondering the ways that semi-permissioned blockchains could actually be more advantageous in many instances. For these reasons, minimalists argue that while Bitcoin is still a good store-of-value (similar to gold) it is nothing more, making it a one trick pony in an industry filled with other more innovative ideas.
Notable Minimalists
With countless cryptocurrencies in existence, there is plenty of room for individuals to tout one cryptocurrency over another. But just supporting a singular cryptocurrency doesn’t make a good minimalist. Instead, Bitcoin minimalists believe that the cryptocurrency industry will continue to sprout new, innovative digital assets. Here are a few notable Bitcoin minimalists who support the growth of cryptocurrencies as a whole:

Jamie Dimon - CEO, JPMorgan Chase
Jack Ma - Founder of Alibaba
Vitalik Buterin - Founder of Ethereum
Where are we headed?
Where are we headed?
While maximalists and minimalists will continue to battle over the viability of Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies are continuing to prove themselves as viable assets in the digital age. Cryptocurrencies like Ethereum are being embraced by financial institutions, while others like Litecoin are showing there is room in the industry for more than one form of digital cash. After all, just because gold is valuable as a commodity doesn’t mean silver is worthless.

With the corporate world opening up to blockchain solutions, we are trending toward a world where digital assets are the norm in all areas of business and consumer life. This doesn’t mean Bitcoin will become obsolete, it simply means that other cryptocurrencies have come to join the party and are likely here to stay.

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