On Bitcoin Maximalism, Crypto Darwinism, and Blockchain Tribalism

Eric Wall is a fund manager at Arcane Crypto Assets. We sat down with Eric at the Malta AI and Blockchain Summit to discuss his views on the future of crypto assets, the nature of privacy, and tribalism in the blockchain space.

“I was upset with myself”

A computer science graduate with extensive experience in penetration testing and software engineering, Eric discovered crypto when a friend sent him an article in 2011 on the darknet:

“When I first read it, I was upset with myself. I wanted to have discovered it on my own. Silk Road was around, a very interesting phenomenon and using new privacy technology [...] Funny because I used to test and develop surveillance cameras, and now work with privacy issues, where the purpose is to protect people’s privacy.”

Bitcoin, sharks, and being curious about all tech

In a 2018 Tweet, Eric described a block reorganization attack on Ethereum Classic as “crypto-darwinism at its finest.” We asked Eric to discuss his theory of “crypto-darwinism”:

“Cryptocurrencies behave like very primitive forms of digital life. Bitcoin is in a way self sustaining. It provides service to the human species by being valuable, providing censorship resistant features, and because of that people mine it. As long as Bitcoin provides this valuable service and because it’s decentralized [...] it’s going to keep maintaining itself sort of like a bacteria or a mushroom that lives in harmony with the ecosystem.”

Projects imitate, merge with or consume each other. Those without the capacity to adapt to changing market conditions and ever evolving competition will naturally die out as new epochs roll in, dominated by increasingly sophisticated projects:

“A shark for instance has been around for hundreds of millions of years. It was perfectly suited for its purpose. There are some configurations of life that have advantages that last for millenia, some don’t even last a decade. We’ll see the same in crypto. Some models are very strong, like the PoW system. It has very strong fundamentals. Then there are others which are weaker, [they] won’t survive.”

I’m part of multiple tribes

Discussing recent Satoshi Nakamoto identity claims and the community at Bitcoin SV, Eric states:

“I’m starting to see and understand how these movements of people whose ideas differ so greatly from any type of rationality[...] build these communities where they build their own truths[...]”

Eric continues that tribalism in the industry is unavoidable:

“Cryptocurrencies are communities at the core[...] We’re looking for a place to belong and people to meet and engage with, trying to change the world together. If someone comes around and starts to criticize your project[...] at a subconscious level, they feel like “don’t attack my tribe” and that’s why we see this tribalism. I’m interested in all the tribes, I’m part of multiple tribes.”

When pressed on the future of blockchain, Eric states that he expects to see mass adoption in five to ten years, but that the fixation on fiat currency would have to change:

“Personally, I’m already at the point now[...] I’m a cryptocurrency maximalist. I could imagine receiving my currency, my salary in Bitcoin already today.”