Crypto is more than “just” a technological and financial revolution, it is a global movement of many millions of people from all walks of life from every corner of the world.
The Crypto Community is an online phenomenon. Indeed, cryptocurrencies were born from an open source software community.
Bitcoin – the granddaddy of cryptocurrencies – was designed to provide an alternative to the centralised fiat system, which is seen by many as one of the main tools used by the Orwellian surveillance state(s).
The crypto market has grown to enormous proportions since then. Most people in the world know of crypto, thinking of it as little more than a highly speculative trading market. Those that do invest, generally start out in the centralised exchanges and guide themselves by whatever pops up on the CEX’s UI or what they see in mainstream media. However, when one really dives into it, what one finds is an intense, dynamic global community; an online tribe.
The mix of idealism, cutting-edge technology and a market that is well-known for astronomical short-term gains but also stories of lost life savings has led to a unique overall culture and many subcultures. This article is a brief overview of what to expect out there, along with a sprinkling of my personal opinions and experiences.
The Worst Parts
Let’s get this out the way first. The Crypto Community can be, quite frankly, toxic. As with any activity in which emotions run high and the adrenaline is flowing, people don’t always behave as one would wish.
As with any group of people, unfortunately there is a certain percentage of dishonest people that will do all they can to steal from other people. I wrote an article about the most common types of scams, which I recommend anyone starting out in crypto should read: LINK TO ARTICLE
“Isms” and phobias:
Unfortunately, a lot of cryptocurrency groups are often full of sexism, racism, homophobia, classism and many other types of discriminatory or antisocial viewpoints, which are all too often ignored or even sniggered along with, even by the teams involved. It is my opinion that those of us that work full time in the industry should take the lead to make our communities more inclusive.
In particular, misogynistic comments and the posting of images, gifs and videos that objectify women are rampant. While there are many women doing amazing things in the crypto space, this kind of outdated toxic masculinity does nothing to encourage 50% of the world’s population to join and fully integrate with the community. Chauvinism is by no means exclusive to the crypto community, but I have to say that it is rife.
The speculative investment aspect of crypto depends very strongly on the concept of “diamond hands”; essentially, not selling an asset until the price has risen far above the current price due to new investors joining. This is a topic for a whole article, to be honest, but for now I just want to speak about the way people can treat each other.
People that sell – that take profit from their investment – are sometimes VERY aggressively criticised and verbally attacked. Honestly, I think we have all been guilty of this to some degree at some point or another, but my hope is that the community as a whole will mature over time and people will learn to accept that different people have different targets for their investments and different personal circumstances.
Fragmentation and Territorial Behaviour:
This is related to the previous point in that it is part of a tendency for groups to create certain memes that perpetuate what often becomes more a belief system and subcultural zeitgeist; “our project is the only one that’s worthwhile and all others are crap”.
This often leads to one group actively targeting other projects and their followers. Try mentioning another project in a crypto Telegram group… You are almost guaranteed to be kicked out if you even mention one. I remember mentioning one or two major cryptocurrencies – standard ones like Bitcoin and Ethereum – in a group some time back and I was instantly banned. I reached out to one of the moderators as I was an active member of the group and was told that I had been “shilling” (promoting) other projects.
I have been around the crypto scene for long enough to know that a very large proportion of the influencers and “callers” (people that claim to have good knowledge of the sector and announce projects they believe to be good investment opportunities) do little to no research on the projects they promote, or will simply promote anything they are paid to advertise and are often engaging in the worst kind of insider trading; buying before their promos and then selling irresponsibly after their followers buy in also.
Some of these people earn vast amounts of money from these promotions and I would not recommend following their recommendations to new investors.
Desperation and Lack of Education
The worst aspects of the Crypto Community Culture would be circumvented, mitigated or eliminated if only there were a better route for new members to learn, without having to go through the school of hard knocks.
All too often I see people not following even the most basic of investment rules; to never invest more than you can afford to lose. When this happens, and the investment goes south, it is horrendous to see.
Sadly, there are many people that are not really investing; they are gambling. Gambling is often symptomatic of the desperation and claustrophobia that people feel in their day to day lives. This behaviour itself is not a “crypto thing” and the “gamble plays” this profile of person tends to put their money in is a whole sub-culture in of itself. A lot of the memecoin scene is very much this way.
The Good Stuff
Now we’ve got all that nasty stuff out the way, it’s time to look at what I LOVE about the crypto community… and I genuinely do love it!
I grew up surrounded by artists and craftspeople thanks to my family’s business. Also, my father is a photographer, I was a musician for one period of my life, I’ve had many artistic friends; painters, actors, tattoo artists… My younger brother is a professional writer and poet. The point is, I am accustomed to being around people with a creative mindset.
The level of daring creativity that I see every day in the crypto community is not overshadowed by any of the aforementioned “classically creative” profiles. It is endlessly stimulating to be amongst people that dare to reinvent anything and everything.
The crypto community is reimagining the way human beings store and transfer value, challenging the way consumerist society operates. But they’ve also created the instantly recognisable trait-based NFT artform, a plethora of hilarious memes and in-jokes and are constantly striving to come up with imaginative solutions for everyday problems.
The flip side to my comments above about gambling is that part of the drive to take certain risks in the hope of a better future is a kind of indomitable optimism. THe thought “I might be struggling to pay my rent now, but any time now I could be a millionaire living in a mansion!” could be described as delusional, but “I’m not going to give up now, tomorrow is a new day” could be described as pure grit. The Crypto Community is full of people that don’t think it’s impossible that they will strike it lucky. “I could be next”, so long as it goes with a measured approach, without overreaching, is a mindset I identify with.
This hopefulness isn’t limited to the gambler-types in the community though. A large part of the crypto community genuinely believes that there is a better way the global economy could be structured, that the fiat money printing machine is broken and that no matter how hard it may seem, the global elites can be peacefully overthrown by means of technological advances and a coordinated push towards a better future for everyone.
I count myself amongst these people. In case you have any doubt about this, two of my favourite quotes are:
People that say it can’t be done should not interrupt the person that’s doing it.
My Mum (can’t find another source)
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
It is commonplace to see genuine friendships blossom amongst members of crypto projects’ communities, which are made up of people spread out across the globe. The more we communicate with people from other countries, cultures and religions, the closer we come to seeing each other as equals.
I myself consider a good number of people I have met through crypto communities to be genuine friends and there is a very large number of people I would love to meet in person… the FCF Family in particular, of course!
As mentioned above, the Crypto Community as a whole tends to believe that there are injustices in the world and, despite the territorial behaviours we too often see, “crypto people” often share some basic ideologies; personal freedom, individual sovereignty and a high degree of scepticism as to whether the elites have all of our best interests at heart.
Therefore, despite the crypto community contains representatives of every political leaning, speakers of every language and inhabitants of every country in the world, we generally get on rather well.
A particularly interesting thing I have found while speaking to major multinational corporations in the financial and payments sectors is that from time to time I discover that the person I have on the other end of the videocall is actually a member of the Crypto Tribe. When this happens, our businesslike discussions about white label solutions, on and off-ramping flows and such often turn to broader, more idealistic, topics.
As the Crypto Community grows, these fraternal encounters will be the keys that open many doors, allowing this peaceful revolution to take place. We are everywhere!
The Crypto Community donates a lot of money. Over the next decade, it is expected that over $1bn will be donated per year on average. (Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/crypto-donations-to-surpass-10b-in-a-decade-the-giving-block )
Did you know that FCF Pay has a built-in donation widget and that we have started a donations platform called WeGiveCrypto.com? Well, both are true and there’s a simple explanation behind it… We’re human beings!
While not universal to all people, I do believe that most feel a drive towards philanthropy, especially when one’s basic needs are covered. Why would the Crypto Community be more inclined to help in need? Well, don’t forget that many of us are idealists… we want things to be better, for everyone! Another important factor is that crypto investors are generally wealthier than people that don’t hold crypto.
I have witnessed multiple heart-warming examples of community generosity during my time in crypto; from seemingly insignificant outpourings of well-wishes for community members that have health issues or similar to spontaneous offers to donate money to help a fellow cryptohead out of a tight spot.
The Crypto Community is a work in progress, just as the technology and the blockchain economy are still evolving.
However, I see signs of greatness. Governments and the banking industry are not generally being very helpful to facilitate the shift towards the blockchain, but it matters very little in the long term. I cannot imagine this movement fading away.
The combination of world-changing blockchain technology and the incredibly diverse and dynamic community that is finding new ways to use it every day make it an absolute certainty that we are just at the beginning of what will be an incredible story to tell future generations.
Do you have anecdotes about the best and worst things you’ve seen in crypto? Drop them in the comments below!