During the Bitcoin 2021 conference, a youtuber praised toxic bitcoin maximalism. Minutes later Erik Voorhees called it ‘bulshit’
ShapeShift CEO Erik Voorhees is no shy when it comes to expressing his opinion about politics, finance or Bitcoin maximalism —no matter popular or unpopular they might be.
During an intervention at the Bitcoin 2021 conference in Miami, Voorhees criticized an earlier panelist’s comment praising toxic Bitcoin maximalism, saying that such thinking was, erm, wrong – to put it in more civilized terms.
Bitcoin Maximalism: A Bug or a Feature?
Just minutes before Erik Voorhees took the stage to moderate a panel on the evolution of cryptocurrency exchanges, a debate entitled: Toxic Maximalism: A Feature not a Bug took place.
In this debate, Dr Bitcoin MD, Nico ZM, Aleksandar Svetski, BTC Lerk and Nik Hoffman argued that extreme views in Bitcoin were important to keep the philosophy behind this technology clear.
Of course, they argued that there can be no other cryptocurrency that outperforms Bitcoin and that altcoins are a distraction hindering Bitcoin’s progress and global adoption.
But some words from youtuber NicoZM were the ones that raised controversy. During his speech, he took a “if you’re not for me then you’re against me” approach by saying that anyone who didn’t support toxic maximalism was against freedom:
“Not only do I think Bitcoin toxicity is important, I think it’s absolutely necessary and if you are against Bitcoin toxicity, you are against Bitcoin, and if you are against Bitcoin freedom. Period.”
The debate continued in front of an audience more than supportive of this perspective. It is important to note that the conference was promoted as “Bitcoin only,” i.e., fundamentally maximalist – though perhaps not toxic.
When Erik arrived on stage, his opening statements were as short as they were provocative:
“Before we begin, Did I hear someone on that prior panel say ‘If you’re against Toxic maximalism, you’re against Bitcoin and you’re against freedom?’…. Yeah, that’s some bullshit.”
No wonder Voorhees took this stance. ShapeShift has an infrastructure built precisely around Bitcoin and altcoins alike. The trading activity around digital tokens has allowed Bitcoin’s market capitalization to increase and has served to drive cryptocurrency adoption.
Erik Voorhees vs Maximalists
Voorhees had previously shared critical stances against maximalism, or against those who do not recognize innovation or projects that seek to generate new use cases.
Back in 2019, he pointed out the irony of being a Bitcoin maxi: On one side, according to his views, they promote a decentralized world, and on the other side they promote a world that centralizes payments around one single blockchain.
Maximalism: The idea that decentralization is extremely important but only one blockchain and only one form of money is acceptable 🧐
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) January 28, 2019
Voorhees has described himself as a reformed Bitcoin maximalist. And has warned other communities about the dangers of replicating this behavior when a project starts to face some competition:
ETH Folks… try not to become to Binancechain what the Bitcoin Maxis are to Ethereum 🙏
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) February 19, 2021
So perhaps it was not a good idea to invite an anti-maxi to a maxi conference. But at least he took reactions with calm and didn’t try to win against the crowd, like Mayweather did when he said there would be a crypto that surpasses Bitcoin.
Now, that was some way to trigger BTC maxis!