The Battle Between Bitcoin and Everything Else: Maximalism vs Multichain
Bitcoin maximalism, the belief that Bitcoin is the only legitimate cryptocurrency and all others are scams, has been a long-standing ideology within the crypto community. However, recent statements from industry leaders have sparked a debate about the future of blockchain and the role of alternative cryptocurrencies.
The Rise of Bitcoin Maximalism
Bitcoin maximalism emerged shortly after the creation of Bitcoin itself, with proponents holding four core beliefs:
- Everything that is not Bitcoin is a scam.
- Every attempt at changing Bitcoin is a scam.
- Every attempt at pushing people to spend Bitcoin is a scam.
- We shouldn’t be nice to scammers.
As altcoins started to emerge, many of them being low-effort forks of Bitcoin, the term “shitcoin” was coined in 2010. However, altcoins continued to gain traction, with Litecoin launching in 2011 and still maintaining a top-20 position in the market today.
The Evolution of Blockchain
In 2014, Bitcoin developers explored the concept of sidechains, hoping to create an alternative to altcoins. However, sidechains led to the development of the Lightning Network and Liquid, but failed to eliminate altcoins.
Meanwhile, Ethereum, launched by Vitalik Buterin in 2015, opened the door to a variety of altcoins and blockchain applications, such as initial coin offerings (ICOs), decentralized finance (DeFi), and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Bitcoin maximalists remained critical of these developments, holding firm to their belief in the superiority of Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Maximalist Perspective
Samson Mow, CEO of Jan3, is one of the prominent figures advocating for Bitcoin maximalism. He argues that the “crypto” industry is largely centralized, filled with scams, hacks, and random tokens. Mow believes that Bitcoin stands apart from the rest, being decentralized, immutable, and the foundation of a new financial system.
Mow’s views reflect the longstanding tradition of Bitcoin exceptionalism, where any blockchain project launched after Bitcoin is often dismissed or rejected by Bitcoin maximalists.
The Multichain Perspective
In contrast to Bitcoin maximalism, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse believes in a multichain future. At the recent Ripple Swell Conference, Garlinghouse stated, “It will be a multichain world.” He argues against maximalism and encourages people not to be maximalists about any particular cryptocurrency.
Many in the industry share Garlinghouse’s perspective, believing that different blockchains serve different purposes. They argue that Bitcoin’s role as a store of value does not diminish the potential of other blockchains for hosting NFTs, DeFi, or other use cases.
The Future of Crypto
While Bitcoin maximalists and multichain proponents continue to clash, the industry is seeing the development of diverse blockchain ecosystems. Companies like Cielo Finance are betting on a multichain future, offering tracking services for over 250 wallets on 20 separate blockchains.
Ultimately, the future of crypto may lie in embracing both perspectives. While Bitcoin remains a key player in the industry, other blockchains are proving their worth in various use cases. As the industry continues to evolve, it is likely that a multichain world will become the new norm.