Bullying is everywhere, in the playground, the workplace, the family and online. Online bullying is more insidious because the emotional distance provided by the internet encourages others to join in.
Sadly, bullying and intimidation also happens in the world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. One team of devs tries to discredit another teams efforts. Then retaliation happens and before you know it you have all out war. Two questions occur to me;
- Who wins? Or more precisely who loses? Not the devs, it’s the people who invest, those who’ve either bought in pre-ICO or those that bought in during the ICO. The devs are too busy insulting each other and anyway, they can always find work on another project. The investors however, especially the smaller ones, don’t have that luxury. They have to just sit back and watch as their investment slowly expires. True, some will join the fray, but I suspect that’s more out of frustration and despair, rather than any true knowledge or opinion.
- What would the entity collectively collectively known as Satoshi Nakamoto think about the crypto community turning on itself like rabid dogs?
Sometimes however, an individual will do the bullying, and unlike the devs who contain their arguments and intimidation to forums, the individual will often go public.
Therein lies the problem for the whole community, because the very public nature of the bullying and intimidation, mostly on social media sharing sites brings the whole community into disrepute. Not only that, it damages the credibility of not just the individual project and team that’s being attacked, but it casts a shadow on those that are still needing followers.
Imagine for a moment that you’ve decided to invest in a token. You’ve narrowed it down and found a few you like. Then, you see something on Facebook that seems to be about one of your chosen tokens. You read the post, it says that the team behind the project are thieves and fraudsters. So you continue your research, you find more ‘facts’ that are detrimental to the team and project. You keep digging, you find rebuttals, but overall, there are more negative posts than rebuttals. What do you do? Probably step back from that project, at least until you can see whether or not those accusations of theft and fraud are true.
But then what happens to this new interest in cryptocurrency? I know of several cases where they’ve lost all interest because there’s enough publicity in the media, from so called ‘experts’ that back up the claims of cryptocurrency being a ‘ponzi scheme’ or other scam that they just didn’t feel comfortable and so lost all interest.
The bully has succeeded because the crypto community doesn’t stand together. Banks, try to sell their own services, they’re in competition with each other but they don’t trash each other. They know that to encourage doubt and distrust of one bank, undermines the trust in all banks.
Intimidation works in much the same way, instead of trashing the project, the bully says something like “If you don’t do this (whatever this is) I will ruin your project, see what I did with that one over there.”
This tactic is usually used on an ‘industry influencer’ because the bully knows that the influencers word has much more weight than the bully’s. If the influencer caves in, and does it publicly it doesn’t just help the bully continue to destroy his targets, it damages the influencer too. Especially if he’s made to retract his words. The influencer then looks weak and foolish, his influence wanes and he becomes a pariah in the community.
Bullies work in several ways, sometimes they threaten individuals, either with courts or at least in one case with the FBI. Nothing ever comes of it of course because the bully is weak and has not a leg to stand on, which is why he took to bullying in the first case.
I’ve seen public threats of violence made against women as well as statements that the FBI in almost every country in the world have been notified and are on their way to arrest individuals. This is of course a nonsense as the FBI has no jurisdiction in any other country regarding crimes, unless they have an agreement with the individual government and then only in cases where crimes were committed against Americans.
Most people though don’t think to check and share the post, tweet or whatever, spreading the bad news.
It’s time the crypto community pulled its socks up and started thinking more about the industry as a whole and working together to get cryptocurrency and tokens accepted by the general public. Without that acceptance the whole industry suffers.
Whether you’re developing something you hope is going to be ‘digital gold’ or a platform to ease the lives of others in some way, you need the general public to accept and be open to using the currency or tokens. It has to make sense and not be a target for the ‘pump and dump’ parade who are not converts but ‘get rich quick’ schemers.
If you’re part of a team that’s been targeted by a bully, you need to stand up to him/her/them. Find the others who’ve been at the receiving end and get together to prosecute. Ensure you have all the evidence you need to prove your case. Combine your efforts, there is strength in numbers.
If you’re an industry influencer who gets targeted, remember that you can withdraw privately, never do things publicly because once you do, the bully owns you. Influencers are like small gods, they rely on the belief of their followers to stay current. Damage that belief and the influencer/small god fades to a voice bleating in the wilderness.
Expose the bullies at every turn, stand together against the horde, clean house, the people need you to carry on the work of Satoshi Nakamoto not wreck it.