Tribalism and ideology exist everywhere in the crypto ecosystem but it obviously isn’t unique to crypto - it’s built-in to our very DNA and has existed for as long as we have as a species. It’s a major part of how humans have been able to survive for so long and why we will survive and thrive into the future. So why then do people consider ideology to be a thing that must be avoided? I think the answer lies in these people simply not understanding how ideology can be a very positive force.
In the context of crypto, I am personally very long on those who embrace ideology and shape their views based on it. The people and teams that embrace ideology tend to be more long-term aligned and not solely driven by profit - they truly want to build things that actually improve the world instead of just extracting value from people. These builders are a rare breed and I think Ethereum currently has the highest concentration of them since Ethereum has a very ideological community - but other ecosystems can of course gain their own ideological community members and builders.
Now let’s look at a crypto ecosystem without any ideological members - who’s going to fight off would-be attackers such as regulators? Who’s going to stand up for the values of decentralization and censorship-resistance? Who’s going to stick around when the going gets though (aka the bull market runs dry)? I can tell you from experience that most of the people who stick around in bear markets are those that are very strongly ideologically-aligned with crypto. These people only care about money as an enabler to allow them to pursue what they believe is worth fighting for in an unencumbered way. This is actually one thing I still respect about the Bitcoin community - many of them will quite literally go to prison or even die for Bitcoin - this is very noble.
Now, obviously there are dark sides to all of this that come in the form of toxic tribalism and ideology. The clearest example of this is people spreading misinformation, lies and propaganda about the thing that they consider to be “impure”. This doesn’t really help anyone and actually actively harms the crypto ecosystem overall by causing division in groups that would otherwise be cooperative. Though I think this is just a natural occurrence in any community - you’ll have people all over the spectrum which ranges from pure ideologue to pure profiteer. As with most things in life, I think sitting at the center of this spectrum strikes a healthy balance for most people but you definitely still need some people to sit at the edges.
I’ve also seen many people say that different crypto-networks aren’t competing with each-other which I find incredibly bizarre because of course they are competing. They’re competing for capital, users, community members, developers, attention and so much more. And the thing is, this competition is actually incredibly healthy and is what leads to all of the amazing innovations we see in the crypto ecosystem today. If there was no competition, people would get lazy and rest on their laurels instead of building cool things - the exact opposite of what we want from a hyper-growing ecosystem like crypto.
Lastly, and on a related note to tribalism and ideology, I think the term “maximalist” has pretty much lost all meaning at this point and is just used to just deride anyone who focuses most of their time on 1 ecosystem. Originally, the term was used to describe Bitcoiners who thought that all innovations that happened outside of Bitcoin were a scam - obviously this is a nonsensical view. But it’s equally as nonsensical for people to use the term to insult those who don’t pay attention to their favorite ecosystem - not every ecosystem appeals to everyone and it’s impossible to be ideologically inclined to follow both Ethereum and something like Tron - they are totally different beasts.
Obviously the ecosystem that speaks to the ideology I resonate with the most is Ethereum and there really isn’t a close second. If people want to call me an “Ethereum maximalist” for only focusing on Ethereum and not their favorite ecosystem then so be it - it’s not going to convince me to do anything differently. In saying that, I do keep my eyes out for any other ecosystem that may share the same values as Ethereum, but I suspect that these ecosystems will more likely be in the form of layer 2’s on Ethereum rather than any alternative layer 1.
Have a great day everyone,
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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.