Bitcoin Maximalists: Who Are They And What Do They Believe?

Bitcoin on fire to symbolize Bitcoin Maximalists

You have likely heard the term bitcoin maximalist if you have spent any time on Twitter or in crypto forums. However, do you really know who the bitcoin maximalists are and what they believe? Here we take a closer look at this group within the larger cryptocurrency space and why they are so strongly in favor of Bitcoin over other cryptocurrencies.

The Beliefs Of Bitcoin Maximalists

The main belief of Bitcoin Maximalists, or “the maxis” as they are often called, is that Bitcoin is the only digital asset that is needed and that Bitcoin is superior to all other cryptocurrencies. They feel that all of the altcoins do not follow the ideals that Satoshi Nakamoto established when Bitcoin was first invented, thus they shouldn’t even be placed in the same category as Bitcoin. Maximalists believe that since Bitcoin exists, there is no real need for any other cryptocurrencies, therefore they are unnecessary.

Although Bitcoin Maximalists generally believe in the superiority of Bitcoin, there are varying degrees within that general belief. On the extreme end are the Bitcoin Maximalists who do not accept the existence of any other digital currency except Bitcoin and do not believe that other coins have a right to exist. Then there are those on the other end of the spectrum who believe that altcoins have a right to exist too, but that they are inferior to Bitcoin, which is perfect and has no need to change.

Where Do Bitcoin Maximalists’ Beliefs Come From?

It seems obvious that since Bitcoin is the original and most popular cryptocurrency that there would be a group of loyal supporters who believe that it is better than all of the others that came after it. However, for many Bitcoin Maximalists, their belief in Bitcoin’s superiority is also based on Metcalfe’s law, also often referred to as the network effect.

Metcalfe’s law states that the effectiveness of a network, for example, the internet, is proportional to the square of the number of users connected to the network. If n is the number of nodes in a network, the law is: n(n-1)/2.

The law determines that the more unique individuals or devices that join a network, the more valuable each of the devices becomes. More devices = more connections which = more value to the network. So, if one believes that Metcalfe’s law can and should be applied to cryptocurrencies, then they would believe that altcoins are taking nodes and users away from the Bitcoin network, preventing the existing Bitcoin nodes from becoming even more valuable through additional connections. This is, in fact, one of the reasons why many Bitcoin Maximalists are opposed to the existence of altcoins. They feel that altcoins are directly preventing the Bitcoin Network from achieving its full potential.

Metcalfe’s law determines that each node is equally beneficial to the given network, however, in the case of some networks, one could argue that this is not always the case.

Bitcoin’s Originality

Another argument of Bitcoin Maximalists is that Bitcoin was launched out of a very specific set of circumstances that signaled its arrival at a very opportune time when the world needed it most, following the great recession of 2008, and that these specific circumstances will not be repeated.

Another argument for Bitcoin Maximalism is that the creation of other cryptocurrencies, referred to as altcoins, undermines the economic scarcity that made Bitcoin such a unique and valuable asset in the first place. The fact that only 21 million Bitcoin could ever be in circulation made Bitcoin rare, but now that there are thousands of other cryptocurrencies in existence, that rarity is somehow less potent.

Furthermore, many Bitcoin Maximalists see Bitcoin as more decentralized than other cryptocurrencies due to the fact that Satoshi Nakamoto is an unknown person or group of people, and that Satoshi created Bitcoin and then left it to be managed by the Bitcoin community, meaning that it does not have a central authority figure managing it. They argue that due to the fact that other projects have founders and team members who are still actively involved with the altcoins they developed and the ecosystems that surround them makes them less decentralized, and thus they are not operating according to the same decentralized model advanced by Satoshi Nakamoto.

Another difference often cited by Bitcoin Maximalists is the fact that with Bitcoin, community members who do not agree with the implementation of any new features can reject them, allowing them to disagree with the majority but still maintain control over their Bitcoin holdings.

With other cryptocurrencies (altcoins), changes are made through majority rule and holders of that token are expected to go along with the changes. According to Bitcoin Maximalists, this makes them more similar to fiat currencies, where any changes are mandated and must be followed and the market ultimately has the final authority.

The point of this article is not to convince you to identify one way or another, as a Bitcoin Maximalist or not, but rather to present the beliefs of Bitcoin Maximalists and the reasons for those beliefs so as to provide a description of different groups within the greater Bitcoin and cryptocurrency communities.

However, it can be determined that by nature, projects or individuals who provide services that involve the use of a native cryptocurrency, or any altcoin for that matter, are by nature not in agreement with the basic defining characteristics of Bitcoin Maximalism.

Bitcoin Minimalists

People who are not Bitcoin Maximalists, often referred to as Bitcoin Minimalists, state the claim that there are issues that Bitcoin does not adequately solve, such as scalability, and as has happened with many other “firsts”, the cryptocurrency ecosystem and use cases of blockchain technology and digital assets have surpassed the original intention of Bitcoin and what Satoshi Nakamoto designed it for, requiring the development of new cryptocurrencies.

What To Expect From The Crypto Space

Despite the different opinions that exist within the broader digital assets space, it seems unlikely that any viewpoint or ideology will slow the rapid expansion of the industry. The number of projects being developed to use blockchain, DeFi, smart contract, and digital asset technologies to create innovative solutions to problems in a variety of industries will likely continue to increase.

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