I have known BCH from day one when the fork happened in 2017. Back then, the guy that introduced me to crypto already told me about the fork and was helping people prepare to get and claim their BCH airdrop when it happens. I wasn't holding any BTC then, so there's no BCH airdrop for me to claim.
But I was aware of BCH and its development journey to this day, albeit, not in great detail. It was a hated coin due to its misleading self-promotion as "Bitcoin". So, I too stayed away from it like a plague.
This started to change on December 2, 2020, when I joined read.cash and became active in the BCH community. The read.cash team showed me first-hand that they're genuinely interested in promoting crypto (BCH) mass adoption.
Furthermore, they're generous to content creators on the platform, compared to similar crypto blogging platforms. They demand good and original content and the pay and tipping system was fair and transparent.
I got to like the BCH community for their proclaimed commitment to decentralisation, the relentless drive for crypto mass adoption and upholding of the original peer-to-peer electronic cash ideology of Bitcoin.
These're honourable ideals which I can identify with.
The more I got involved with BCH and its community, the more I see clearly what sets it apart for good and for bad.
And in this post, I will be sharing with you the dark sides of BCH and its community. If you're involved in any of these, you can consider evolving. The alternative to change is stagnation and backwardness. Your call.
There's an unhealthy amount of cronyism and hypocrisy within the BCH community.
People tend to show favouritism towards those they consider to be the "OGs" who're considered to be known or have been around with BCH for a long time.
It's ok to have established favourites, but it's not ok not to give the new people joining the network a chance at earning their place.
Sometimes, when those considered to be "OGs" do things that are clearly wrong, unethical, or even illegal, they're shielded or defended by some of the most vocal members of the community. Thus putting the victim(s) of such "OGs" in between a rock and a hard place.
I've had my fair taste of this during my issue with BCHPad developer, Ryker. Many people saw the wrong in his actions but will not speak against it, "because he's a renowned BCH dev". It's a stupid stance!
That's not all, from the first day I entered smartBCH, there's been an unreasonable 'hate' for and disfavour shown to BenSwap and other projects on the network that is not owned by BCH 'OGs'.
This is supposed to be a decentralised network that aims to attract as many developers and users as it can.
Some of these projects are subtly washed down, discredited, and even kinda sabotaged. I was sabotaged, when I started, so I know exactly what I'm talking about.
They do this in very subtle ways, like casting doubt on the integrity or intentions of the victim, stealing their work and causing
Specific examples include when these new projects are called out for not having specific audits, berating the audit company they used for their project, not opening sourcing their code, etc.
Whereas, there are other projects with the same limitations which are being praised to the high heavens. Why call out the short-term limitations of one project while overlooking that of another?
All of these are done with the pretentious intention to avoid scams but it's a convenient lie. They do this to cast a shadow of doubt on the new project and scare people from using it.
To cut the long story short, people tend to favour some influential members of the community and their projects over others.
And even when there's a clear case of abuse by these influential people, they're either swept under the carpet, excused or explained away, or they try to victimise and silence whoever calls them out.
There's also a case of new developers' work being "stolen" which causes them to leave, but that's for another article.
The system is highly toxic to outsiders who're coming. We claim to want to attract outsiders to come and help build the ecosystem, yet we seem to want to operate a closed system where only insiders are favoured.
And this is closely related to my next point below.
For a community that claims to value decentralisation so much, it's surprising that people unnecessarily and blindly choose to trust and follow supposed leaders.
Let's take the CoinFlex vs Roger Ver vs smartBCH issue as an example.
Yes, the smartBCH team had to trust CoinFlex to host the bridge in the short term. This is normal because going to market fast matters in crypto.
But beyond that, not setting up a multi-sig and the smartBCH not holding a key was an over-extension of trust.
Another example was when I called out someone in a Telegram who was going about offering to help random group members do their bridging transactions on and off smartBCH.
He was not only allowed to do this in the official Telegram group of smartBCH and other prominent projects but his actions were supported and publicly defended by the admins.
Their reason: they trust him, and by extension, other strangers and newbies in the group can trust him to handle their transactions for them.
We don't even need to be talking about how lousy this kind of trust system is, especially when we claim to be so decentralised.
If you want to help newbies perform certain tasks, teach them by writing a detailed guide or video tutorial.
This trust-building of "leaders" instead of trust minimisation is worrisome, especially when we claim to be the "most decentralised".
In this community, we assume and run mental simulations too much. Instead of doing our research and discussing the facts.
Personally, I find this annoying, and time-wasting.
Which is easier to do: finding out the facts or assuming all the possible outcomes in our head and using that as a basis for our decisions or actions?
Of course, there's a place for opinions and speculations. But we do this almost everything, both for expected positive or negative outcomes.
Instead of people discussing based on verifiable facts, they resort to simulations and assumptions to deflect attention from the real thing or with the intention to misinform.
We also like to play the victim while also being the aggressive one. It's impressive how we do it.
For example, we know (or choose to ignore) the fact that by promoting BCH as "the real Bitcoin" we appear misleading, unnecessarily controversial, like clowns, and we're focusing on the wrong thing.
We constantly attack Bitcoin (BTC) unnecessarily, yet complain about why everybody seems to hate BCH.
I have not seen any Bitcoin marketing that mentions BCH. But everywhere I see BCH marketing, I also see BTC bashing. It's pointless and counterproductive.
We need to get outside of our own heads and think from the perspective of the outside world. And also stop downplaying or outrightly ignoring our obvious weaknesses.
Focus on promoting the benefits of BCH and how it solves people's problems without going into pointless comparisons.
And that brings me to the next point.
BCH has a very poor and unsustainable marketing system. There's no organised and coordinated marketing effort with a consistent message or branding.
No, it's not because of decentralisation. You can have organised and coordinated marketing efforts with consistent branding without resorting to centralisation.
The current system of haphazard, disjointed and counterproductive marketing approaches will not produce the desired result.
It's time for a reputation reparation, benefits-focused marketing effort and engaging in a healthy competition like other chains (forks) are doing.
Controversial marketing might have worked in the past but it wouldn't take us past where we are right now. Let's begin building collaboratively but competitively.
It's essentially pointless because it's not like we can take the "Bitcoin" brand from BTC or force people to call BCH Bitcoin. That's never going to happen.
But with benefit or solution-focused marketing, over time, as people use the network, they'll begin to see that BCH is more functional. Let them make that concussion themselves based on their user experience.
Plus Bitcoin is not our only competitor anymore. In fact, it's the least competitor of BCH. So focusing on Bitcoin is so shortsighted.
Furthermore, most people promoting BCH have very questionable integrity or do it for their own secret selfish agendas that do not benefit or favour the ecosystem, especially in the long run.
BCH seems to be stuck between being a charity network and a sustainable chain functioning based on sound economic incentives.
Almost everything is run based on donations and volunteerism.
As a result, people put only convenient efforts to get results and when they don't deliver and you call them out, they retort that it's a volunteer or free work.
Decentralisation is capitalism in its purest form.
In a highly competitive industry like crypto where every project and chain is going all out to take as much market share as possible, this approach will not work for us.
There need to be economic incentives for people to work towards desired results.
Those who want to volunteer their services or donate resources can still do, but there need to be people who're responsible and accountable for results and they should be paid for their contributions to the network.
Whether they're developers, marketers, content creators, organisers, whatever.
There needs to be funding for development work and people should be encouraged to come up with personal initiatives and get rewarded when they deliver desired results.
Furthermore, the network is infested with leechers and hypocrites who're only singing its praises because of the free money they're getting rather than their understanding of the project.
Reading some BCH promotional messages online sometimes makes me feel embarrassed. Many of these people have no idea what they're talking about.
Directing this free money towards a network development fund will yield better results.
A good point of reference is the DASH funding and governance system. I'm not saying we copy them, I'm pointing to the kind of well-run ecosystem governance and funding system I'm talking about.
I see it as a perfect balance between getting results and decentralisation. Where people are incentives to go all out and deliver results for the network.
Volunteerism and donations are not sustainable models, except you're running a charity.
The BCH network has great potential but the above issues have caused it to operate or perform sub-optimally for too long.
What's your opinion on the above points? Did I misunderstand, misrepresent or miss something? Share with us in the comments section below.