Rejecting Maximalism - The Daily Gwei #256

Ensuring that the Ethereum community keeps its collaborative attitude.


The term ‘Bitcoin maximalism’ was coined by Vitalik Buterin all the way back in this piece from 2014. Vitalik described Bitcoin maximalism as “essentially, the idea that an environment of multiple competing cryptocurrencies is undesirable, that it is wrong to launch “yet another coin”, and that it is both righteous and inevitable that the Bitcoin currency comes to take a monopoly position in the cryptocurrency scene”.

Since his post, the term has been bastardized and is basically used as a slur against anyone who has an affinity for one particular cryptocurrency platform or project. Despite this, the Ethereum community staunchly rejects blind maximalism and has created an open culture where anyone can build anything they want.

Over the last 24 hours, UNI token holders came together to vote on a Snapshot proposal that signaled that Uniswap should be deployed to Arbitrum’s layer 2 solution (not just Optimism as was already the plan). As you can see above, Hayden Adams and the Uniswap team are actually in support of this and have even already begun work on the deployment! What’s funny about this is that many people assumed that Uniswap would never be deployed to any layer 2 except Optimism because they had an “allegiance” to them (both as being long-time friends and sharing similar investors). Though, of course, this is not how the Ethereum ecosystem works - we try to reject maximalism as much as possible.

This brings us to the question that I’ve been seeing a lot of people ask lately: is the layer 2/scaling Ethereum ecosystem a zero-sum game? My simple answer to this is that it’s not because how could it be? Every scaling solution for Ethereum has its own limitations, trade-offs and developer/user experience and a “one size fits all” solution is unrealistic. To give a tangible example - there are projects out there that are happy to build out their own layer 2 ecosystem (such as Loopring, DeversiFi and dYdX) instead of deploying to a “shared space”. Of course, this comes with the trade-off of not having access to atomic composability with other apps and limited integrations in general but it allows these teams to move much faster and have more control over their deployments.

Lastly, you may have noticed that Ethereans are actually supportive of other layer 1 projects that are not hostile and are also additive to Ethereum. For example, the Ethereum ecosystem leverages Arweave for “perma-web” related things such as storing NFT images/meta-data . The Ethereum community also regularly works with many other developer ecosystems in a collaborative way in order to build better and more robust open source software - there’s no need to be tribal here because being tribal just results in a net negative result for the entire crypto ecosystem.

So as you can see, we in the Ethereum community try to reject maximalism as much as possible because it doesn’t really get us anywhere. Yes, sometimes it may seem like some hardcore Ethereans (including myself) come across as “ETH maxis” but in reality, we’re just all in on decentralization. After all, no one calls someone an “Apple maximalist” just because they’re all in on the Apple ecosystem.

Have a great day everyone,
Anthony Sassano


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All information presented above is for educational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice.