I'm currently reading the book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. It's an amazing story of how a Stanford dropout got this amazing idea to revolutionize the blood testing industry and founded a Silicon Valley startup that at one point was valued to a staggering $9 billion.
Too bad it was all fake and everything was built on lies.
The story of Theranos reminds me of how successful deceit and misinformation campaigns can be. Their blood testing devices had absolutely zero validation yet highly intelligent people invested hundreds of millions of dollars into the startup.
The best part? To this day, even after the magnitude of the scam has been revealed, people still defend them.
And there's one question on everyone's mind:
How could so many be so fooled?
If you've been following the cryptocurrency space, this story should be familiar to you. All these garbage ICOs follow the same pattern of people throwing millions at them despite tons of red flags and empty promises.
Bitcoin's so-called scaling solution is another example. The Lightning Network is still years away from reaching the same user experience that Bitcoin had five years ago, yet people still cling to it as the saving grace. If they haven't moved on to promote the centralized Liquid sidechain of course.
Why are people so gullible?
If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.
The unfortunate answer is that misinformation and propaganda works.
It's difficult and time consuming to fact check everything you hear. Therefore we rely on heuristics such as listening to a person with perceived knowledge. This often works well, for example it's often a very good idea to listen to your doctor.
But it's of course not a perfect strategy (that's why it's called a heuristic). For example you might be inclined to listen to Adam Back because he's mentioned in the Bitcoin whitepaper, because surely that means he's a Bitcoin expert?
Sadly that's not the case as he'd recommend you to use Tabs™ instead of Bitcoin.
No, "just educate yourself" isn't the simple answer you might think it is. It can take a lot of time and energy to teach yourself difficult topics. We're talking years or even decades of full-time effort depending on the subject and a person's preexisting knowledge.
And of course, when you've done that for one subject (maybe medicine) then you need to do that with all the other subjects (politics, fitness and cryptocurrencies). All while working your job, taking care of your kids and being busy with living.
This is why it's our job to break down these issues into easily digestible pieces so that everyone has a chance to understand the problem and the possible solutions. This is why we, "the experts", must not stay silent when we see misinformation. Because if we do, we doom everyone else.
Now when I've hopefully convinced you of the importance of countering misinformation, I'd like to bring your attention to the latest propaganda piece by ABC.
In it ABC argues that the safest cause of action for businesses is to use Bitcoin ABC for the Bitcoin Cash upgrade in November. And their argument sounds convincing, they say that the profits will be 100% secure, that transactions will always be final and that your business should see an increase in new customers. Sounds perfect!
Except that it's all misleading.
The biggest omission is that if you run ABC you risk getting stuck on a minority fork without any support.
Because if a majority of hashrate runs other software, by their own admission ABC will fork away from the chain. And that's looking pretty darn likely because currently 54.1% are signaling BCHN and 0% are signaling ABC. If this continues then you even risk getting stuck on a chain that's not processing any transactions at all!
Most of the Bitcoin Cash ecosystem has already taken a stance against ABC saying they will not support their chain. This includes all other full node clients, all wallets (other than the Bitcoin ABC full node), the SLP foundation (the de-facto BCH token solution) and this very site.
"Your business should see an increase in new customers" my ass. If you go with the ABC chain your customers won't even have wallets to use.
ABC's propaganda isn't just misleading, it's outright dangerous. And we who care about the BCH community must speak up and educate our fellow men and women.