5 Crypto Thoughts Gleaned From A 242 Year Old Community — The United States
I’ve written a lot about our (CryptoOracle’s) belief that the biggest difference between Crypto and everything that came before Crypto, is the importance of community to the success or failure of projects.
The Crypto community really began with the publication of Satoshi’s White Paper just 10 years ago. Crypto is brand spanking new, blazing a trail forged by the community. In comparison, the United States, formed in 1776, has been around 242 years. The Constitution, which is the primary U.S. governance document, was written 10 years later. Below are five insights gleaned by looking at 242 years of the U.S. community (aka the “grand experiment”).
1. The U.S. Is A Fork of Great Britain
The colonists were unhappy with England’s leadership. They tried to work through their differences. But ultimately, the differences were too great, so the patriots hard forked. When you hard fork in real life communities (i.e. countries), its referred to as seceding. It should be noted, that rather than confusing other countries, in their wisdom, the Founding Fathers didn’t call the hard fork “Great Britain Cash”, “Great Britain Gold” or “Great Britain Diamond”. Rather, they came up with a whole new name.
2. Forks Can End Up Better Than The Original
There have been numerous hard forks of Bitcoin. The most successful fork, by market cap, is Bitcoin Cash, which is less than 7% of the value of Bitcoin. Ethereum Classic, the most successful hard fork of Ethereum, by market cap, has created just 5% of the market cap of the original. So one might infer that hard forks can’t be more successful than the original. However, the U.S. fork, long ago, surpassed the original Great Britain community in terms of GDP. Today the U.S. today has 7X+ the GDP of Great Britain. So it turns out hard forks can be more successful than the original, and it will happen in crypto.
3. Governance Is Important
While this is obvious, I still think it bears stating. We’re in a period of in the U.S. where the governance systems are being put to the test. While Congress is supposed to be a check on the Executive Branch, it’s not working out that way. It turns out that the system has design flaws. Voter suppression is a governance bug that is a growing thing in the U.S. today. Gerrymandering is another bug of the system.
The bad news is, there is no Crypto governance nirvana. The good news is that Crypto governance doesn’t need to be perfect. Look how screwed up centralized governance is! But we do need to work as a community to get better. We need to encourage academia to start Ph.D. programs in Decentralized Governance. We need to devote more resources to governance.
4. Civil Wars Are Bad
At some point, every community runs into situations where the community is divided on significant issues. In 1860, each side felt so strongly about slavery, that the South decided to try a hard fork. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died in the civil war, equivalent to almost 2% of the entire U.S. population at the time. It was tragic for both sides. There are no winners in a civil war.
There have been Bitcoin civil wars in the past. They sucked up a lot of the energy in Crypto. None have been tragic, but that possibility remains. To avoid that possibility, the community needs to develop tools and processes that enable dialogue, while minimizing inflammatory rhetoric. Crypto needs governance systems, like those described by Stephanie Hurder, PhD, where socially favorable outcomes are optimized
5. Immigrants (aka Newbies) Helped Make America Great. The Immigrants of Crypto Will Help Crypto Achieve Its Massive Potential
A lot of time in Crypto, particularly on Crypto Twitter, is spent bashing others in the Crypto community. There was a lot of backlash against newbies during the Crypto rally in 2017, deriding people for being in the community just to make money. I believe that immigrants made America great, and whatever people’s self-interested motives are for being in Crypto, as long as they’re not scammers, we should welcome them with open arms. Two of the five FAMGA CEOs are immigrants (Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai). Elon Musk is an immigrant. I’m pretty confident that the majority of the 2025 titans of Crypto aren’t even Crypto newbies yet. The warmer the welcome we give them, the better for Crypto.
I could go on and on, but you get the point. The community is a thing in Crypto, and we don’t have to re-invent the wheel. We can look at what’s worked, and what hasn’t, and we can optimize community to enable Crypto to make the world a better place….for everyone.