FTX Ends Bitcoin’s Relationship With Crypto – Bitcoin Magazine
This is an opinion piece by Tim Niemeyer, a Bitcoiner since approx. 2018 and co-hosted the Lincolnland Bitcoin Meetup in Springfield, Illinois.
Amid the carnage of the FTX drama, a moment of clarity illuminated the Twittersphere. Michael Saylor’s words were the signal in the noise that resulted from the dysfunctional train wreck, inappropriately known as “crypto”. Before we can truly appreciate his insight, we should first meditate on what makes this relationship dysfunctional or, in the context of couples therapy, a toxic relationship.
While many in the cryptocurrency industry happily went through life viewing their relationship with money (trust, commitment, support, etc.) in a positive light, they ignored the warning signs that their relationship was anything but healthy. Sure, all good relationships have their ups and downs. Disagreements do occur, but generally you share common goals and trust that the other has your best interests at heart. There is a certain expectation that your partner will support you, communicate openly and honestly, and refrain from controlling behaviour. Life this way is liberating and you are generally able to flourish.
But what if one side doesn’t have your best interests at heart? What if they are dishonest? What if it becomes a pattern of disrespect? What if they ignore your needs? Sure, you can hope for change, but you still feel tired, stressed, anxious or depressed. Eventually you want out. Your need for a positive, healthy relationship overwhelms the comfort of your familiar, current relationship. The first step is admitting there is a problem. Recognizing the signs of a toxic relationship is necessary.
Signs of a toxic relationship
When it comes to our relationship with money, support can be shown in many ways. One way we support each other is through the ability to trust that our counterpart has our best interests at heart. The overwhelming problem with the cryptocurrency sphere (defined here as anything but Bitcoin) is that it is still largely based on an expectation of trust. Whether it’s FTX, Celsius, LUNA, or the countless other scams and ponzis sewn into the fabric of the cryptocurrency industry, it’s clear that having centralized entities controlling your value requires you to trust the fallible tailors and their incentives. It’s like trust falls; an exercise where a person lets themselves fall without trying to stop it, relying on their friend(s) to catch them. How many times do you let yourself fall to the ground before you lose confidence?
These recent crypto fallout continue to highlight the inherent dishonesty of the DNA. Investors are lulled into a false sense of security in the relationship; it is a form of dishonest communication based on opacity and the over-leveraged nature of the exchange. Allowing people to control money allows controlling behavior to be encoded into the system, leading to increasing resentment in the relationship… The relationship is further strained when the toxic side puts their needs before your own. The needs of some CEOs often motivate them to exploit their customers’ trust for their profit. This display of negative financial behavior is becoming all too common in the cryptocurrency industry (again, non-bitcoin entities). At some point, as my father would say, we have to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Steps to fix a toxic relationship
The first step is to take responsibility. Not that you caused the situation per se, but that you recognize the situation you are in and start speaking up for yourself. This can be done by investing in yourself. In the context of this article, this investment is education in Bitcoin as well as understanding the unintended consequences of adopting a “digital fiat” mindset that is present in the altcoin and centralized exchange industry. When we shift from blaming to understanding, we allow ourselves to begin to heal. The pain of recent developments will last for some time, but it is our responsibility not to dwell on the past, but to move forward with compassion. The next step in the journey to healing is to allow yourself to be vulnerable again. This can be achieved by sharing your self-love with others; calmly and clearly explains the benefits of Bitcoin, self-storage and proof of reserves to friends and family.
People recovering from a toxic relationship can benefit from finding support. It is the author’s opinion that Bitcoiners should be that support structure. It is ironic that many Bitcoiners are known as the toxic ones when they are the ones trying to shed light on the toxicity inherent in the ecosystem. That being said, an “I told you so” does not help in the healing process. This is the moment where we must rise up and lead with compassion. We should have space in our hearts and give others time to heal and change.
There will be many who will not recover from a toxic relationship of this magnitude. While we can continue to educate from a place of humility, we must remember that “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink.” Everyone will eventually heal in their own way at their own pace. Some may never learn. We’ve probably all had a friend who has bounced from one toxic relationship to another. As much as you may want to help, they must first choose to help themselves. Even more, some people will continue to “Tinder Around” with unhealthy cryptocurrency relationships. That is their prerogative. If a friend of ours wants to be part of the hookup culture, that’s up to them. They have to deal with the consequences of venereal diseases and the like.
Regardless of the actions of certain exchanges or crypto in general, we must continue to promote the benefits of Bitcoin in a positive light. Tell them how truth is born of distrust. Show how actual decentralization leads to pure democracy. Explain how immutability and permissionless systems allow for a free-flowing, collaborative society. Michael Saylor acutely acknowledged the toxicity we allow to spread through the perceived connection to crypto. We must choose to move forward toward a bitcoin standard for ourselves, our friends and family, and ultimately for society to prosper.
This is a guest post by Tim Niemeyer. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.