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No, Crypto Isn't Just for Libertarians Anymore

While some say crypto is apolitical, others argue a technology that takes direct aim at central bank-driven monetary policy can’t be anything otherwise.

Indeed, many early adopters were drawn to bitcoin’s revolutionary potential and there has long been a close association between libertarianism and cryptocurrency.

CoinDesk Research took the opportunity to test this association in our Q2 State of Blockchain Sentiment Survey. Among a wide range of questions, some were aimed at discovering the political leanings of the crypto community as they relate to the technology in general, as well as to specific coins.

And the findings were surprising.

The more than 1,200 crypto community respondents broke down to 8 percent anarcho-capitalists, 24 percent libertarians, 21 percent conservatives, 9 percent centrists, 27 percent liberals, 9 percent socialists and 3 percent nihilists. While liberal came out as the largest single category, if you combine libertarian and anarcho-capitalist, they outnumbered the liberals by 5 percentage points.

These identifications were chosen to best capture distinctive world views.

For example, libertarians can be statists (i.e., they may advocate limited government, but not necessarily the abolition of all government) whereas the anarcho-capitalists want to end the state outright. 

After combining categories into our composite of the left vs. right spectrum, we observe that 52 percent of the crypto community are right-wing and 45 percent identify as being on the left. While ideologies on the right appear to make up the majority, it’s not as wide a majority as you might expect.

Considering crypto’s origins and reputation, it’s fascinating that the left makes up such a substantial minority. Two factors could explain why these results deviate from commonly-held conceptions: time and crypto partisanship by coin (or coin tribalism).

Time:

Anecdotally, libertarians made up the overwhelming majority of early crypto advocates and thus the archetype stuck with the general movement. Since then, many more people have come into the crypto world drawn by rising prices and without such strong political views. 55 percent of our Q1 survey respondents started actively following crypto in 2017. These people could be motivated by politics, but more likely came in to make money and thus held views closer to that of the general population.

Coin Tribalism:

Ideology across cryptocurrencies shows incredible variety. Our survey results found that certain political ideologies clustered around particular coins. Bitcoin most closely resembles the general population, while other cryptos take their own unique  formations. Ethereum seems to have the highest percentage (55%) on the left while dash contains the highest concentration on the right (78%). XRP clusters towards the center, while monero inversely nurtures the extremes at both ends of the spectrum while also taking the mantle for highest percentage of anarcho-capitalists (36%).

Interpreting the data

We reached out to a few crypto thought leaders for reactions to these findings.

On the left, Santiago Siri, Founder of DemocracyEarth, remarked, “it’s interesting to confirm the ideological biases of the communities behind the leading cryptocurrencies of our time, although probably in crypto we might need a different spectrum: one-coin-to-rule-them-all maximalists versus free market multi-token holders.”

In the center, developer and host of Ivan on Tech, Ivan Liljeqvist, suggested that, “the people who were involved in crypto from the beginning were mostly leaning towards anarcho-capitalism and libertarianism, however that changed last year when the hype around Bitcoin and the entire crypto market attracted many other people with different backgrounds”.

On the right, the Bitcoin Sign Guy said it’s “not a surprise that the coins with highly centralized leadership and governance rank highly on leftism and socialism.”

Chris Derose, a longtime crypto personality and host of the podcast “Bitcoin Uncensored,” has been raising many questions around this topic.

After reviewing our results he commented:

“The 2016 election had major impacts on the demographics of blockchain. Bitcoin was principally a conservative movement of goldbugs and libertarians in its early years. And an unheralded accomplishment of the ethereum blockchain might be in its ability to reach progressive blockchain investors. The 2016 election forced a divide in the community, with libertarian pursuits of independence and conservative principles finding ground in the dash, bitcoin, and bitcoin cash camps – and with collectivist interests of the left finding solutions in crowdfunding and governance structures.”

The right-leaning pioneers of pre-2017 crypto are faced with leftist migrants to their tech territory. As adoption grows, this trend will most likely continue and decrease the representation of right-wingers in crypto, especially of those at the far end.

If so, the original intention of a decentralized sound money could be sidelined for Silicon Valley’s next consumerist app, Wall Street’s next derivative database, or Washington’s facelift on monetary policy.

Check out these insights and more in the latest CoinDesk Q2 State of Blockchain report.

Guy Fawkes image via Unsplash.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Bitconnect Ponzi Scheme – No Sympathy From Crypto Community

What looked too good to be true ended up being just that, as Bitconnect has all but closed its doors.

Long accused of being a Ponzi-scheme, Bitconnect shut down its cryptocurrency exchange and lending service this week. As stated on their website, Bitconnect had received cease and desist letters from two American securities regulators – leading to the closure of their lending and exchange platforms. Still, Bitconnect will continue to run its website and wallet service.

Sketchy ‘Ponzi’ offerings

Since its inception in January 2017, many were skeptical about Bitconnect services. In essence, one needed to send Bitconnect Bitcoin in exchange for Bitconnect Coin (BCC) on their exchange.

Once you had BCC, you were guaranteed “up to 120 percent return per year.” Users were told they were earning interest by holding their coin “for helping maintain the security of the network.”

Ponzi

Source: Bitconnect.co

Lending platform

Bitconnect’s lending platform is what really led to accusations of a Ponzi scheme, as well as cease and desist orders from regulators.

Lending

Source: Bitconnect.co

As the above illustration explains, users bought BCC with Bitcoin and then lent out their BCC on the Bitconnect lending software.

Users would receive varying percentages of interest depending on the amount of BCC they had lent.

Lending

Source: Bitconnect.co

Add in the referral system seen in many other Ponzi schemes and the fact that the operation was run anonymously; it’s hardly surprising that this whole endeavor has ended in tears.

The lending scheme was the main draw card of Bitconnect because of its huge promise of returns. In order to participate in the scheme, you had to buy BCC – which saw the token hit an all-time high of $437.31 per BCC before it plummeted in value following the closure this week.

That being said, the cryptocurrency is still alive and trading at around $35 at the time of writing.

BitConnect

Social media burns Bitconnect

Following Bitconnect’s closure, social media was abuzz with sentiments of ‘I told you so.’

TenX co-founder Julian Hosp highlighted the fact that BCC was still trading as a real head-scratcher.

Francis Pouliot shared a hilarious video of a Bitconnect meet which had been slightly dubbed over.

American cartoonist Spike Trotman shared one of the most entertaining and eerily accurate predictions back in September 2017, postulating that Bitconnect was indeed a Ponzi scheme.

Her latest tweet is a screenshot of the Bitconnect Reddit page, with subreddits for a suicide hotline as well as a massive legal action megathread. Do yourself a favor and take a look at Iron Spike’s full threat on Bitconnect – it’s brilliant.

Rodolfo Novak shared a photo of the monumental collapse in price of Bitconnect from Coinmarketcap, highlight the moment the Ponzi scheme hits ‘exit time.’

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I Try to Make Everything Simple For the Community, Founder of Orioncoin

Cointelegraph continues publishing interviews with prominent guests of BlockShow Asia 2017, that took place in Singapore in November 2017.

Woanjen Tang is an experienced asset manager. After completing a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Ryerson University, Woanjen returned to Malaysia to hone his multinational business management experience. Projects under his leadership flourished at a commercial and residential real estate brokerage. Upon his exit from real estate, he went to Canada, where he founded Orioncoin Computing Corporation.

Cointelegraph talked to Woanjen Tang, founder and CEO of Orioncoin about new startups, traveling and simplicity as the highest level of complication.

Cointelegraph: Thank you very much for coming! My first question is about your perception of the venue. What did you feel today coming here? What is your first impression of the Singaporean crypto community?

Woanjen Tang: Oh, I think Cointelegraph has a great BlockShow today. A lot of networking, a lot of media and investors here, and new startups that can bring more ideas to the space about the future of Blockchain technology.

CT: Do your prefer networking with startups or with those who have already experienced projects and not venturing into new ideas?

WT: I think both, also with the already established Blockchain firms. They are established and we know their ideas, while a lot of startups have new ideas that impressed even me.

CT: Do you travel a lot?

T: Oh, yes, I travel a lot.

CT: What about different perceptions of your project for example in different countries?

T: Orioncoin, basically… we make royalty points on our own Blockchain- on Orioncoin’s Blockchain. So it can quickly help on the travel side of the business and the hotel business, leisure business. And it’s going to expand it – the more people travel, the more they will use Orioncoin. Because in the past people used to travel less than they should because the technology was not so advanced. Today we can travel by planes; you can go anywhere fast. The more we travel, the more Orioncoin expands.

CT: Orioncoin was your idea. What did inspire you?

T: It is a long story. I try to make everything simple for the community- basically, make loyalty points.

CT: Do you think that simplicity is the highest level of complication?

T: Yes, because people aren’t usually interested in a conventional or in loyalty point systems. So we basically just simply provide a Blockchain technology to the loyalty point system, which can increase the value, and then more and more people get excited to come into the space. Through loyalty points, which they can have for free and use the coin access to the cryptocurrency market – we move the development forward.

My key to success is to read more Cointelegraph

CT: What is your personal background?

T: I was doing a civil engineering background in Toronto, Canada.

CT: Do you think that it is important to have a particular background, knowledge in order to be successful in Blockchain and crypto projects?

T: Yes, background really helps. If you have the right background, it certainly helps, but it depends on certain cases.

CT: And what is your personal key to success?

T: My key to success is to read more Cointelegraph. It’s part of how I learned about Blockchain and the Blockchain people. Try to look at YouTube for more knowledge about Blockchain and listen more, read more and communicate more in the space, join the space for local meetups and everything. Then you will have the sense of what is Blockchain.

CT: I have the last and logical question out of what you said just. I am collecting lists of inspirational reading from our speakers and guests. So would you recommend something that impacted you recently? It does not have to be related to Blockchain.

T: Actually, the guy named Andreas, I forgot his last name impacted me most. He is Greek. You can search on YouTube. He is passionate about Bitcoins and Blockchain technology, and what it can bring to change the world and eliminate the trust between people and the government. Basically, corrupt this whole system by stealing your wealth, you know? What he suggests is stealing your wealth in a stealth mode. So you have one thousand today, you have one thousand tomorrow – so actually your wealth is still the same. But, for one thousand today you cannot buy the one thousand tomorrow’s goods because of inflation. Because they are printing money, they are stealing wealth in stealth mode. You cannot see it, cannot complain because you have one thousand now, you have one thousand tomorrow – doesn’t change. Why do you say I steal your money? So, basically, people don’t see it but this guy, he saw the problem and explained it quite well. That is what inspires me. We should go and explore more about Blockchain and bring the services and products to the market.

CT: Thank you very much! It was a pleasure to talk with you!

Thank you!

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Achain Partner: “I want to invest in Blockchain as high as I can”

Cointelegraph continues publishing interviews with prominent guests of BlockShow Asia 2017, that took place in Singapore in November 2017.

Li Yuan, partner of Achain rocked the BlockShow audience with a new vision of the forking, making a comparison of Blockchain to Darwinian theory. After his pitch, he talked to Cointelegraph about his colleague fork theory, importance of background in the Blockchain industry.

Cointelegraph: What is your first impression of the Singaporean crypto community here today?

Li Yuan: I feel very warm because we have friends from all around the world. We are the same and we share the same interests and opinions about the future of Blockchain. It’s a very good platform for us to contact with each other, to build a relationship with each other. So I thank you for creating the platform for us.

СТ: What is that fork theory designed by Tony Cui you talked about? It inspired a lot of discussion in the social media. What is your personal impression of it?

LY: I think we want to switch people’s traditional theory about forks. In the past when most people mention the word “fork” it meant something bad because it’s not a consensus, but in Blockchain we need consensus. Actually, the fork is a technical level thing. You know what I mean? We cannot have a consensus on the fork! Also, because we need to build application in different areas and deal with different advances about technical strategy — and every case is different, so we need different types of technical support.

How do we feel that will pass? We need to have different type of structure. So maybe the only way is to build a different Blockchain based on the same platform and in this way maybe the best way is fork. We want to change the idea, to switch the technical scene and human scene.

CT: What actually did inspire you to enter the crypto community in the first place?

LY: My background, I am a graduate student I majored in Computer Science. I am very attracted by the idea of the Blockchain and I majored in Business Management, so I want to do something real to influence people. After I graduated, I was in a startup company, didn’t go to a big company, I was trying to fund another company. Until the Blockchain, I am thinking yeah that creates a boom for maybe 10 years, 20 years, maybe 30 years. I think it’s so attractive for me. I have good ideas about how it can influence people, about fairness, about the safe and some goods in a human being. I want to invest in Blockchain as high as I can.

CT: Do you think that the background is important to have success in the Blockchain industry?

LY: I think maybe the background can help you to easily understand the idea of Blockchain, to give you more possibility to join this community. But I think Blockchain will influence many other actors of society. Every person with different background can be successful here.