Community is everything when it comes to cryptocurrencies. A strong community will have success and a weak community will wither and die. Bitcoin Cash has a good community, but we can (and must) do better.
All communities have leaders. Leaders function as schelling points and have an enormous influence. This is especially true in niche communities like crypto. A strong community starts with a unified group of great leaders. In Bitcoin Cash, right now, two of the most important people are Amaury Sechet and Roger Ver, for obvious reasons.
However, these two individuals could be a lot more united than they currently are. This is a serious issue because, as I just mentioned, leaders need to be unified in order for the community to be strong. Leaders provide ideas, attitudes, and a direction around which a community can grow.
The reason I wrote this article is to shed some light on possible obstacles keeping these important leaders from being fully on the same page.I hope in doing so we can all powerfully move forward together, united in 2020, toward unstoppable peer-to-peer electronic cash for the whole world.
Bitcoin Cash is too important to all of us not to face these issues head-on from a place of sincerity. I know all of our hearts are in the right place when it comes to Bitcoin Cash. I want to say that I’m just as flawed a human being as anyone else on this planet, so I’m offering my viewpoints with humility and a willingness to explore complex issues that, if solved, can yield tremendous results for not only the two gentlemen in question but the community as a whole.
Amaury Sechet is not only a technical expert, but also focused, cool under pressure, and has a keen intuition when it comes to game theory and strategy.
His strengths have gotten him this far as the lead developer of the main Bitcoin Cash implementation. His blind spot, as far as I see it,has been a lack of understanding about the importance of building rapport with others in the community. It is somewhat ironic, because it was Amaury who turned me onto the idea of “building an immune system” for the community, which is related to the idea of building a unified leadership network.
I can also appreciate the fact that Amaury probably envisioned himself mostly doing engineering work when he set out to create a big block client for bitcoin. Perhaps he was not prepared for the operational realities and responsibilities that came with the job. Those realities involve dealing with all kinds of people, which is something Amaury has struggled with.
There is also no doubt that the amount of bullshit Amaury has to deal with, and does deal with, would surprise many people. He carries a lot of responsibility, all while he is being attacked by many people, both within and outside of the community. He may at times feel unappreciated. However, that isn’t a good reason to be inconsistent in matters of diplomacy.
Rapport is very important. As Tony Robbins once said, “If you have substance and no style, people are never gonna hear a word you say.” By “style” he means that how you talk to people is just as important as what you say to people.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re right — if people don’t like you, they’re not going to help you. “Winning” a conversation does not necessarily mean you will get a desired outcome. A leader looking to influence the future of a project and bring others to his way of thinking must build rapport with other leaders and the community at large unless he plans to do it all himself. It’s that simple.
People do business with those they know, like, and trust. To dismiss or downplay this fundamental principle lowers the odds of success a great deal and would be foolish.
Roger Ver is truly a unique person. He’s a maverick, with a unique life history as well. He marches to his own beat and has a track record of success.
His blind spot as a leader in the BCH community has been not being teachable enough, and not listening to wise people all around him. This has lead to enabling bad actors that have hurt both his own reputation and that of Bitcoin Cash by extension.
Like all successful entrepreneurs, Roger has also made some mistakes and may or may not be aware of the gravity of their effects.
Although Roger was super helpful and generous in providing hashpower during the hashwar, the announcement that Bitcoin.com would support BCH (and not BSV) came too late, and this contributed to a huge uncertainty in the markets. Remember, in November 2018, Bitcoin Cash was over $600. A month later, in December, after the hashwar, it bottomed out at $80.
Craig Wright and Calvin Ayre took advantage of Roger. But it took Roger far too long to come around, despite everyone telling him how much harm Craig could potentially cause. Today, BCH’s price is .03 BTC. Even though we are building, we are still hurting price-wise. We, the community, have a viewpoint but so do the outside worlds of crypto, tech, and finance. In terms of damage due to falling prices, Roger is probably hurting more than anyone.
Roger, I remember we were in Bangkok, and you told me it was when you saw Craig didn’t understand address checksums, that you were finally sure something was amiss. But, as a leader, it shouldn’t have to come down to you having a well-timed revelation. What if checksums never came up as a topic? You need to listen to the tribe and some of the wisdom of the crowd a bit more, if I can be straight with you.
When a person is teachable, it means they have both a high willingness to learn and a high willingness to accept change. Although I see that Roger has a high willingness to learn when it comes to reading great books, I don’t see a lot of willingness to learn from his peers, especially in the critical area of filtering out bad actors. Multiple people that have worked with Roger on projects have told me “he doesn’t listen.”
CSW is the clearest example of Roger unknowingly enabling someone who is harmful to Bitcoin Cash. But this is not an isolated incident. From Mt. Gox, to Segwit-2x, to Craig Wright, to Joby Weeks, to Richard Heart, there’s an obvious pattern here, and it can be corrected.
I can’t force anyone to change. All I can do is speak my mind and share some of the collected feedback I have gathered speaking to other leaders as well as my intuition of the general sentiment within the community as a leader myself.
In the interest of moving the conversation forward and not merely airing what some may consider negative grievances I would like to ask these two people each a question:
Amaury: Are you willing to admit that you’ve made some mistakes and treated some people rudely with little to show for it and that it might be wise to build rapport with others moving forward?
Roger: Are you willing to admit you've made some mistakes and enabled some bad actors and that it might be wise to listen to others in the future for your own sake as well as for the benefit of all that share your goals?