No more ideology-driven cryptocriticism!

Ideology can help champion a cause. But it quickly gains the upper hand and lets factual arguments take a back seat. The crypto scene – as difficult as it is to gather all crypto advocates – has previously had to put up with this accusation time and time again. But now, for a few months, there has been increasing aggression on the part of crypto critics. More and more anti-Bitcoin articles are appearing on well-known news portals, vying for attention with increasingly drastic words. Terms such as “terrible” or “stupid” are used, and the terms “electricity guzzler” and “climate killer” can also be found regularly.

Falling crypto prices seem to be giving skeptics a fitting opportunity to vent their anger against Bitcoin and Co. They are being listened to more than they were during the crypto boom last year. But instead of being skeptical in a positive sense, polemics are increasingly discussed. A technology is stylized as an enemy and disproportionately harsh regulation is demanded.

Where does the anger over bitcoin come from?

But where does this anger about a technology come from? After all, you are not used to such a hostile attitude from other technologies. Such broad expressions of opinion are not known for 3D printing, air taxis or the Internet of Things (IoT). The alleged criminalization and climate damage of cryptocurrencies serve as putative factual arguments that offer an explanation for this camp formation.

Although current studies and results show relatively clearly that the share of “crypto-crime” in the sense of money laundering or terrorist financing is insignificant, this prejudice persists. Those who wish to remain undetected should avoid the blockchain infrastructure, as law enforcement agencies can track down criminals, not in spite of, but because of, the use of cryptocurrencies.

moral hubris

For the second alleged factual argument, the climate damage of cryptocurrencies, things don’t look much better. The proof-of-stake mechanism is more climate-friendly than traditional financial applications. This argument does not apply to Bitcoin, i.e. the proof-of-work mechanism, but its value proposition of decentralization and security is based on its high power consumption. It is undisputed that the electricity used for this should come from renewable sources wherever possible. But there is no differentiation here either, critics often equate power consumption with CO₂ consumption.

The much bigger problem, however, lies in the moral arrogance: Because you can’t see any benefits from this technology, you want to ban it. The climate killer argument opens up a debate that would otherwise only be conceivable in autocracies. Anything that does not appeal to a small group of people’s subjective sense of benefit should be banned. We have already discussed where such an attitude can lead.

Bitcoin and blockchain are political

This brings us closer to the real reason for the bitcoin criticism. This seems to be based less on the supposed factual arguments than on the political position. In addition to people from the political Green camp, there are above all people with a very left-wing world view. In the past, the left in particular had positioned itself as a major crypto opponent on a national and supranational level.

Martin Schirdewan has now followed in the Bitcoin-critical footsteps of former Liberal MP Fabio di Masi. The left-wing MEP positions itself in the media against the crypto economy. On tagesschau.de, he says that one in four Bitcoin users is a criminal, and in an interview with Der Spiegel, he says that he wants tighter regulation of unhosted wallets. Previous inquiries from BTC-ECHO during the Bitcoin ban debate in the EU Parliament, sent to all major democratic parties, were met with clear responses from the left.

In the current BTC-ECHO Recap Podcast, Sven Wagenknecht and David Scheider also address the topic:

Planned economy and modern monetary theory

One of the most well-known bitcoin critics in Germany, Jürgen Geuter aka @tante, is using particularly heavy artillery to attack the crypto economy. In a Zeit interview, he talks about an attack on our democracy, while almost conspiratorially telling t-online that it is about “making the state unable to act”. If you read his numerous tweets and comments online, you might think he’s thinking about citizens.

His statements show clear political statements towards the left. Geuter railed against neoliberalism, citing left-wing economist David Graeber and advocating more government regulation. As a supporter of a trend towards centralized control, he takes the same line as Bitcoin critic Maurice Höfgen. Maurice Höfgen, for example, works for the Left Party in the Bundestag and advocates Modern Monetary Theory, or MMT for short. The credo is more planned economic control, less market economy. The contrast to bitcoin’s non-governmental and sparse understanding of value could not be greater.

The left contradicts itself

Bitcoin critics like Geuter, Schirdewan or Höfgen are not concerned with the case – with cryptocurrencies in the true sense – it is more about the implementation of their economic-political ideology. Especially since it is overlooked that one is subject to a fallacy. After all, Bitcoin was created in response to the 2008 financial crisis to counter the supremacy of Wall Street. Countering an exclusive financial system with an inclusive one where everyone can participate.

The basic idea of ​​the crypto-economy can be interpreted as quite left-liberal, as it stands for more diversity and participation in all social classes. Decentralization and preventing financial elites from gaining excessive influence is also in the DNA of blockchain technology.

No one has to like Bitcoin and not everything goes according to plan in the crypto sector. Therefore, it is important to express factual criticism of the blockchain sector. However, it becomes problematic when factual criticism turns into an ideology-driven mission. Discrediting crypto advocates and technology hostility leads to a division in society and to great economic damage, with everyone losing in the end.

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