I am not a fan of Orthodoxy.

I appreciate the power of religion although I am not religious personally. I respect the followers of Allah, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, and other religious figures. I know that the beliefs of religious people give them great comfort and a purpose in life.

What I don’t appreciate is when a person of faith believes so deeply that they cannot tolerate beliefs that are different from theirs. I call this Orthodoxy and it has led to wars, horrible crimes, and many other bad things. It is the downside of what is and should be a very positive thing for humanity.

We see this same behavior developing in the crypto sector. Bitcoin and other cryptoassets have become a belief system. That is at the core of their value. Why would I give you $5000 of my dollars for one of your Bitcoin? Because I believe in Bitcoin and want to own it.

This faith in the value and power of cryptoassets is good. It is necessary for all of the other good things that can come of them.

But like religion, there is an Orthodoxy in these communities that borders on obsession and leads some people to be extremely intolerant of any other community or cryptoasset. The crypto community calls these people “maximalists”, a term I don’t like and don’t use.

I believe that we will see many cryptoassets emerge to solve different kinds of problems, just as we have seen many different religions develop to serve different groups of people. This diversity is good. It leads to a richness of thought and innovation that moves us forward.

If someone wants to believe deeply in one thing and nothing else, we should understand and appreciate it. But when that leads to hatred, nastiness, and ridicule, we should reject it. We should call it out for what it is and we should not accept it.


Comments (Archived):

  1. Gayatri Sarkar

    Crypto conflicts do not need to be “constant-sum games” but it can be “variable-sum games”.I wrote in details about it in my early 2018 article Cryptoeconomics 102 : https://hackernoon.com/cryp…Here’s an excerpt:Endowment EffectStory of wine loving economist — “A wine-loving economist we know purchased some nice Bordeaux wines years ago at low prices. The wines have greatly appreciated in value, so that a bottle that cost only $10 when purchased would now fetch $200 at auction. This economist now drinks some of this wine occasionally, but would neither be willing to sell the wine at the auction price nor buy an additional bottle at that price. Thaler (1980) called this pattern-the fact that people often demand much more to give up an object than they would be willing to pay to acquire it-the endowment effect. The example also illustrates what Samuelson and Zeckhauser (1988) call a status quo bias, a preference for the current state that biases the economist against both buying and selling his wine. These anomalies are a manifestation of an asymmetry of value that Kahneman and Tversky (1984) call loss aversion-the disutility of giving up an object is greater that the utility associated with acquiring it. This column documents the evidence supporting endowment effects and status quo biases, and discusses their relation to loss aversion….One implication of loss aversion is that individuals have a strong tendency to remain at the status quo, because the disadvantages of leaving it loom larger than advantages. Samuelson and Zeckhauser (1988) have demonstrated this effect, which they term the status quo bias….A central conclusion of the study of risky choice has been that such choices are best explained by assuming that the significant carriers of utility are not states of wealth or welfare, but changes relative to a neutral reference point. Another central result is that changes that make things worse (losses) loom larger than improvements or gains. ”……The collection of reasons and stories that makes up the bias processing sometimes limit the rational behavior to various events and understanding…..Such anomalies in each token economy play an important role in their market prices and returns and exemplifies the token community’s asymmetry attitude towards risk tolerance. Though intrinsically rational agents, these economic actors place higher values in their own cryptos.

    1. Jeffrey Wolfe

      I’m an economist and appreciate the endowment effect but a simple sports analogy might get through to more people — most athletes/fans hate losing more than they like winning.

      1. JamesHRH

        Standing O.

      2. JamesHRH

        Can we connect outside of comments?Have a question that is related to your [email protected]

      3. Gayatri Sarkar

        I’m a Sports VC, so little tired of giving sports analogy.

  2. Tal Lev

    “Gods don’t kill people. People with gods kill people.”

    1. JamesHRH

      Gods don’t kill people b:c they don’t exist.People with fear of the unknown or unknowable kill people.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        Only singular God exists (with many names) – highest evolved consciousness from all beings, from all planets in the universe that reach that point of evolution.

        1. JamesHRH

          GOD =1) Abstract creation of Man to serve the emotional management shortcomings of people who cannot accept unfairness or the unknowable – FAITH.2) Abstract creation of Man to exert political control over the uneducated – RELIGION3) Unknowable force that reflects the harmony & beauty of nature that connects all living things – SPIRITUALITY.;-)

          1. Matt A. Myers

            So, everything you say there is true for how some use or relate to God – everything is true except for the ‘of Man’ part. Abstract is true, as God is in energy form – not physical.There’s a higher consciousness – and other energy beings between. I can help guide you to clear your ego and open your mind if you want. ;-)Is it really so hard that to believe that by “the end of time” – with infinite possibilities – that a being with a global intelligence and consciousness could evolve into existence? 🙂 I mean, it would be hard if you don’t believe in evolution and if you think humans have reached the maximum intelligence and highest organized form of energy possible – which would be a pretty solid egoic belief.The universe is nearly infinitely complex and our biological constructs that we get imprinted into when we’re born and our environment blocks us from being as open and connected to everything.Good chat.

          2. JamesHRH

            See, 3).

          3. Matt A. Myers

            My offer always stands – maybe once I’m soaring you’ll take me more seriously. 😛

          4. cavepainting

            3 is unknowable only if you believe so. If you have a longing to know and are sincere in your pursuit, and if your ego can melt or dissolve, it might reveal itself. And it is not something physical or “god like” outside of us looking down but the essence of what makes all of us and this universe work.To be clear, I have no solid experiential understanding myself but have had enough of a peek in certain circumstances to believe this is the case. Religion might be a bogus human creation but spirituality is not and is essentially what is present in the absence of self.

          5. JamesHRH

            You can feel it, but I don’t think humans are able to tap the capacity to know or understand that force.I think we are agreeing.

  3. harvestgrand

    Don’t forget the add politics to the belief/hatred discussion.

    1. fredwilson

      I did not forget it. But I did consciously leave it out. Politics has not led to civil dialog here at AVC so I am conscious about playing that card carefully

      1. harvestgrand

        Understood. I feel politics is also a religion whether you believe in a god or not. Religious people believe they are right and other religions are wrong. The same goes for politics. The issue as you have outlined is the hatred generated by not looking at both sides.

      2. ShanaC

        thank you

  4. awaldstein

    The history of tech adoption is the community adoption of de facto standards by the broader markets.At least in my career.And honestly, through all the market battles I’ve been in the trenches in, it is only in the last decade maybe less where this vitriol mirrored in tech and politics and ethics seems the status quo.Dunno know why but feels like the truth of it.

    1. falicon

      I know it feels enhanced, but I don’t think it’s all that new actually…maybe not as broadcast as it used to be, but the “die on this hill” vitriol has been around forever.Used to be heated arguments over programming languages…operating systems…hosted service providers…internet connection providers…etc. etc. etc….and politics has *always* been a religious argument for some…I think it’s just gone more mainstream as of late (and so it feels worse — but honestly it’s always been that bad).Trick is to figure out how not to get sucked into the muck while still maintaining your own integrity and defending your beliefs (if you feel compelled to even do so — you can also just quietly live your beliefs and not feel the need to defend them at all [side note: that’s generally my goal, though I often fail at it]).

      1. awaldstein

        Yup….It takes all we got to focus and move forward to make new things a major part of a world that as yet, doesn’t know them.That coolaid is necessary.How to make that inclusive as an attitude is by nature crazy.

  5. Mike Chan

    Crypto Twitter is the most welcoming, nurturing community ever. <sarcasm>

  6. Bill Bochynski

    So, it’s okay then to “…reject…” violent, coercive men and women who call themselves “government” because violent, coercive men and women who call themselves “government” continually engage in “…hatred, nastiness, and ridicule,…”?Thank you; that’s what I’ve been.

  7. falicon

    Unfort. this is true in religion, crypto, politics, tech, programming languages, and really almost anything humans can make a “choice” about.Disagreeing – to the extreme – seems to be a fundamental human trait (I would even argue flaw).

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. Very true. But we can also agree that while it is human nature it is also not good

      1. falicon


      2. JamesHRH

        +1000 on disagreeing via orthodoxy.

  8. kidmercury

    I always associated maximalism as related to the question of whether there wull be many base layer chains or just a monopoly or duopoly with many tokens atop each (much like smartphones). I think we will see a few hundred base chains of note over time, but I think the question is very valid, and not necessarily related to vitriolic behavior.

    1. fredwilson

      The question is valid. The vitriolic behavior is not

  9. Guy Lepage

    Very well said Fred. This is why I am blockchain agnostic and why I started a community to work on assisting the growth of the entire ecosystem.. As well as combat the “cultness” I have seen forming within the platform communities.Over the past year I have been talking to founders from quite a few of the major platforms. The one common thread with all of them is what you call Orthodoxy. Some more so than others. I have been taken back by the discovery that all the blockchain founders I have spoken with to date seem to blindly ignore nor accept that there will probably be more than one winner.Thanks for bringing this up. It’s an important topic.

    1. DJL

      Can you point to some (any) use cases where crypto was used to solve an existing business problem, better, faster and cheaper? Some company or industry that threw out the old system and replaced it with a crypto solution?If those exist – I certainly don’t see them. I would sincerely be interested.

      1. sigmaalgebra

        Party pooper!!!!

        1. DJL

          I’m still waiting ;>) Thought for sure I was going to be directed to a web site full of success stories.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            Something new?If don’t do very well with new, then can be like IBM shrinking while Intel, Microsoft, Cisco, Linux, Oracle, Google, Facebook, Western Digital, etc. do well.Can be like much of the mainstream media shrinking while the Internet does well and, in particular, Google and Facebook soak up a lot of the ad revenue.But is old always bad? Well, copper is old, for a while had to shrink some from optical fibers, but now if electric cars catch on will need quite a lot of copper for the power cables. Lithium is old, but now with Li batteries it seems new again!But generally need to pay attention to new: Also generally large corporations just manage what they have and ignore or even resist change.So new is nearly necessary. With a lot of hype, stirring up dust, tweaking the media that always wants stories to tell, can for a while get attention and maybe some revenue, company value, etc. without anything very new. E.g., nearly all of current artificial intelligence is just old curve fitting — the best of the new parts are based on large scale.But for something new to last, it’s much better to do better than just hype and have some solid value. Especially for the business community, evaluating new is not easy.So commonly the business community is stuck with evaluating based on not much more than just hype.So, to play well, if the game is hype, then play hype well..

  10. William Mougayar

    What clouds the market today is uncertainty over whether there will be a few dominant blockchains or several. Whether there will be several smart contract platforms or one. How many special-purpose blockchains will there be and how they will interact with each other.Will all cryptocurrencies survive and have enough critical mass to do so?How many blockchain-based apps and new brands can the consumer really use on a daily basis?Will blockchains become a commodity as a utility or will the various layers above them become the differentiation points?These are a few of the contentious thoughts pertaining to the evolution of the space, as I see it. That’s why the competitive climate is heating up, leading to some turf protectionism.What we need instead, is to make the whole pie bigger. Blockchain understanding and adoption is still tiny, perhaps even less than the Web in 1995, in relative terms.

    1. JamesHRH

      You need to add ‘if any’.Orthodoxy is politics under extreme pressure. Politics is based on fear of loss. Ergo – orthodoxy derives from extreme fear of loss.Blockchain is like OOP or any other programming philosophy. There won’t be any dominant platforms; there will be millions of blockchains and they will all store no more value than the cost it takes to build them.How much money does Apple make from Apple Mail?

      1. William Mougayar

        It’s more complicated than comparing it to email.

        1. JamesHRH

          Warren Buffet on CDOs:’ The average mortgage is 150 pages long. You bundle 1000 mortgages and sell slices of it in a CDO. Everyone is getting a slice of something that is too complicated to actually know what it is. Did anyone ever read the 150,000 pages that made up any CDO? Of course not. No one knew what was going on. ”Its complicated’ is a great FB status but a bad answer.Let’s try this:Why is OO programming a bad analogy? Nobody makes $ directly from OO. They use it to provide a more robust SW service.Sounds pretty Blockchainy to me.

          1. sigmaalgebra

            OOP has some advantages, by analogy, maybe like a pair of channel locks or vice grips in a tool box!I like PL/I structures better, or would if they were slightly tweaked, than objects of OOP, but I use OPP essentially like I would use PL/I structures.But the OOP part kept talking about inheritance hierarchies, and to me that was not much more than smoke blowing. E.g., in the 100,000 lines of typing for the main code of my startup, I have some use of objects but no use of inheritance!For polymorphism, that’s much the same as entry variables in both PL/I and Fortran, and that means that often it will be SLOOOOOW.That the software objects were in any useful way close to physical objects always struck me as fraud.Objects likely have an advantage, implicit and doable in PL/I: Say want to sort an array of instances of a class. Okay, but from the object implementations it looks like essentially naturally and automatically can do the sort while moving essentially no data. Cute. E.g., in the array of instances of a class, the array itself is just some pointers to the storage of the instance. So, reason to move the instances; moreover trying to move them could cause problems or at least some goofy semantics.Some of my recommendations on programming would be (A) use the KISS technique, keep it simple, stupid; (B) use divide and conquer; (C) understand the real problem well enough to design the code with good versions of (A)-(B).

    2. Donald McIntyre⚡️

      Thank you for being rational. What many here lack.

      1. Matt A. Myers

        William is only rational if you speak in a positive light about Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies. He’s a self-professed spokesperson for “the cause” – and any thought that threatens its existence is met by unreasonable, illogical, or dismissive behaviour. They’ve created such a bubble of ignorance for themselves.Many, including Fred, are in fact part of this “religion” he speaks of – they’re just positioned as popes, cardinals, priests – who have the role of keeping “their” followers in-check, or at least attempting to keep that rational perception; you don’t want the people with no self-control getting too vocal and making it obvious that cryptocurrencies are a Ponzi-Pyramid scam. “Control the narrative!”It’s no surprise the lack of critical thinking with cryptocurrencies – which leads to ideology and indoctrination, as Fred touches on.And let’s extend Fred’s thoughtful concern further: won’t it be great when bad actors decides to really manipulate this self-described “army of HODLers” – we could call the religion this – to attack or murder those who are strongly opposed to the Ponzi-Pyramid scheme cryptocurrencies? And perhaps just as bad and effective – perhaps even guide them to just brigade them or other suppression tactics – however the army of HODLers are all already financially incentivized to brigade and shutdown “disbelievers.”Anyone else remember when Bitcoin was illegal in Russia, Putin made a statement, and then months later it was legal again?This is what Putin said: “We have seen how Bitcoin has transformed a payment unit into an asset, which is bought in order to obtain a high yield in a short period of time. This is the definition of a pyramid. Opportunities to launder funds acquired through criminal activities, tax evasion, even terrorism financing, as well as the spread of fraud schemes.”These bad actors aren’t imaginary, they’re real – like Putin. And we know what tactics they use – and they’re relatively good at it.I recently got into a discussion with someone who was pro Bitcoin. Their arguments kept falling apart, and using illogical tactics. Eventually it lead to the reasoning why they were supporting Bitcoin – the belief that it will give a chance to help those who are poor to increase the quality of their life (via investing now and waiting for the value to go up). When I pointed out that it is only early adopters who benefit – and asked them to put themselves in the shoes of say the last 50% of population who likely would be forced at some point, likely through democratic process, to adopt Bitcoin, there was no answer. The conversation jumped to another “but what about” cascading through shallow beliefs and not understanding what the blockchain technology actually is good for.We’re not at attacks and murder yet, however being more subtle is the better long game strategy: controlling the narrative of financial regulators, getting people into political power who are pro-Bitcoin et al for a lack of understanding (how many politicians understand the majority of our issues already with technology?), meanwhile as time passes the size of the army of HODLers increases – who all will continue to promote the “religion” for their personal financial gain.What I want someone to do is long-term calculations showing scenarios of once 40%+ of the population as adopted cryptocurrencies (who will mostly be the super rich, and bad actors) – to gamblers – to the more poor and gullible, and say when the value at that time per Bitcoin et al are let’s say at $10,000,000 per Bitcoin – to then calculate the unreasonable wealth transfer from the final 60% or less. The problem is no one is incentivized to counterbalance the dishonest and biased narrative pushed by this “religion.”Likewise, if you mention it as a Ponzi-Pyramid scheme – you’re ignored or aggressively with shallow unfounded arguments to try to put you down – I’m sure there would be some, especially the fanatics that Fred is highlighting as a concern – the Orthodoxy – who could easily turn this into a witch hunt at some point, and burn as the stake – or try to brigade and ruin our livelihoods or reputation.An important note: this “religion” is much more powerful than and far more capable than any other religions in the past due to the financial incentive of its followers/hodlers. It’s really terrifying if you understand the implications.

        1. Richard

          Well stated. The bitcoin cryptocurrency to asset switch was well played by a group of the promoters. The nakomoto bitcoin paper wasn’t the brilliance of this dangerous scam (blocked well by Fred’s early pleas to the NY regulators that hey not let a little crime, drugs and blackmail get in the way of the best ponzi scheme in history), it was the full court press by the media cabal. Want a best seller, investigate / uncover the early payoffs to media et al.

    3. sigmaalgebra

      VCs funding crypto should have been pushing barrels of $1000 bills on me for my startup: By analogy, crypto is like an imaginary bear skin canoe and my start is at least like a well designed destroyer.

    4. Matt A. Myers

      Is blockchain being used synonymously with cryptocurrency – even though they are different things?

  11. curtissumpter

    Two questions:1. Then can you explain what does back crypto? With a national currency it’s the ‘full faith and credit’ of the nation but in reality there is some assessment of the economy and the GDP within the territory that the issuing government controls. But crypto doesn’t have that. So what is the actual value of crypto?2. Associated point: Catherine Wood of Ark Investment (they have a newsletter that I think is really great … and a podcast for that matter) says that crypto is growing in Africa and other regions that have extremely high currency exchange costs. What’s your take on this toward the global adoption (including G7 countries) of crypto?

    1. fredwilson

      Same thing as 1. It is a belief system

      1. Richard

        Wrong: crypto has nothing in common with the dollar. The full faith and credit of the dollar is based upon the the government’s power to make laws, tax income, tax assets and tax and commerce and MAINTAIN borders and have citizens willing to put their lives on the line to enforces the same.CRYPTO is based upon a greater fool theory.

  12. Twain Twain

    I’m not into blockchain on scientific structure grounds.In AI, we’ve discovered tree structures are cumbersome and inefficient.https://uploads.disquscdn.c…So I see the same mistakes being replicated and repeated in blockchains. https://uploads.disquscdn.c…We’ve started to head towards embedded graph networks but even that isn’t sufficiently intelligent to support decision-making.

  13. DJL

    I would propose this is happening because to much of crypto so far is based on “belief” and hype about a future that has not materialized. (Crypto heaven?) Once one of these platforms starts producing material (ie. monetary) value beyond the appreciation of the underlying coin, then winners and losers will naturally break out.Every church needs a donation plate to survive. People put their money in the plate of the “religion” that benefits them most. Call it spiritual capitalism.

    1. Matt A. Myers

      Revisiting this post. This is a great insight – which I realize I already liked. The issue is blockchain – not structured inherently as a Ponzi-Pyramid scheme – will have value, however there will be no investment opportunity within owning the tokens themselves as they will be trusted partners who work together and essentially own/operate it at cost like a co-operative – and then between companies that offer similar blockchain technology platforms they can compete on price and offerings.It’s so interesting to see the similarities between ideologies, anything people are indoctrinated into like religion (however people can come to religion and believe in God on their own – which is good then and how it should be), however then terrifying to realize the power of ideologies to create a movement – and then extremely terrifying to tie ideology to greed with every indoctrinated member being incentivized financially. Terrifying.

      1. DJL

        Indeed. Actually, that is what drives radical Islam. The soldiers are paid to enforce their ideology. So you were even more accurate than you thought with the term “terrifying!”

        1. Matt A. Myers

          Right! I forgot about that. Those who are most desperate are most willing to kill. This is exactly why Jordan Peterson is so strongly opposed to ideologies and trying his best to help guide society away from it, and likewise talks about the difference between equality of opportunity vs. equality of outcome. He knows from his study that societies collapse when equality becomes too imbalanced, when there are too many poor and too many become poor, that they will go after and kill the “rich” – the rich however the poor have access to are actually only medium and lower class individuals, not the top % and bad actors who are the ones pulling the levers for their own selfish benefit.

  14. JamesHRH

    I don’t recall a web orthodoxy moment.I certainly recall an anti-MS orthodoxy.It sounds like an existential crie de coeur.

  15. KB

    When speaking about combative religious beliefs, “Fundamentalism” would be more accurate than “Orthodoxy”

  16. jason wright

    This is exactly how the Brexit/ Remain debate has developed in the UK. I’m for leaving the EU, which is what the people narrowly voted for, but that result is being sabotaged by extremists who do not accept it and are prepared to throw democracy under a bus to get their way. That is anti democracy.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      I see where you’re coming from and of course you have every right to your opinion.But IMHO there are extremists on both sides.Furthermore whilst the notion of democracy is bandied about by those who wish to leave on the grounds that the people have spoken I would point out the following:At the time of the vote people knew X about the situation. Some people knew more and others less. Some people were misled others not. Some lobbies were effective whilst others where rudderless. BUT since the referendum a good deal has changed and everyone has a good deal more information available to them to reevaluate the situation. And I am quite unaware of any principle that guides any political regime, including democracy, that insists that decisions must be adhered to blindly irrespective of any pertinent information that has since come to light.Reevaluation one’s situation is normal in government, statecraft, business, medicine and everyday life. Pity the patient whose surgeon opens him up to fix a heart valve, spots another critical problem but doesn’t address it because that’s not what the patients signed up for. Pity the soldiers whose general adheres rigidly to the battle plan when new intelligence reveals it to be doomed to failure. And pity the business that persists with an expensive marketing plan that isn’t getting results. Everyone takes new data into account and only the dogmatic inflict change irrespective of such data.The question then is – has new information come to light in pursuing the narrowly selected course or not? The question is not do some people still want it or not want it in principle but what are the costs and benefits that are now apparent and do these alter the equation. Appealing to democracy in a way that pays no attention whatsoever to new facts on the ground is naive or disingenuous. And IMHO there have been plenty of such new facts that warrant serious attention.

      1. jason wright

        My view is that people voted for Brexit understanding that they couldn’t possibly know the full implications of their decision before the fact, but decided that they were willing to accept whatever the consequences of leaving would be, good and bad, as part of the deal to free the UK. Remain is so wrong to now dumb down 17.4 million voters as a means to overturn the result. What’s so shocking is that Remain MPs want a second referendum with’no deal’ not on the ballot paper, only a ‘soft leave’ (which is to remain in all but name), or ‘remain’ as the binary choice. That is craven.This is why the UK urgently needs to leave the EU. Click ‘MAX’ in the time bar. 20+ years of GDP stagnation;https://tradingeconomics.co

        1. Pete Griffiths

          My concern with this point is that it completely ignores the substance of my point about what to do if you gain new facts/knowledge/understanding as you pursue a course of action.1. “they were willing to accept whatever the consequences of leaving would be, good and bad” But were they? What if the costs turned out to be enormously greater than they could have reasonably anticipated. Let’s have a thought experiment – what if continuing would result in nuclear war? I would hope we can agree that most sane people would change their minds. But once you agree that point, as any sane person should, then the question is no longer one of an inviolable principle bur rather only a matter of where you draw the line. As I pointed out, we compromise and revise decisions constantly in life without thinking we are overthrowing families, subverting authority in businesses, undermining generals or overthrowing democracy. What makes this decision so different.2. the above point has absolutely nothing to do with dumbing people down. A parent, CEO, general or politician who considers changing course or changes course if circumstances unfold in an unanticipated manner is not dumb, they are realistic, and their ‘underlings’ are not dumb either. This is just another false premise.3. “This is why the UK urgently needs to leave the EU.” What is? The idea that we should plough on with decisions no matter the cost?4. 20+ years of GDP stagnation; You think that disappointing economic performance is primarily the fault of membership in the EU? I fear that if that is what you believe you are in for an extremely unpleasant surprise. The biggest factor in the evolving global economy is globalization and the associated emergence of massive countries/markets like China. The strategic challenge for all advanced economies is how to thread the needle of benefiting from the opportunities and evading the challenges/threats and it is hard to see how being a small fish will make that easier.

          1. jason wright

            No sane person wants nuclear war. Brexit is not nuclear war.I believe it is dumbing down, that typically condescending attitude from metropolitan (London) elites, instructing people on what is and what is not good for them. It is just so deeply patronising.All good 🙂

          2. Pete Griffiths

            I know it isn’t nuclear war. I deliberately picked an extreme example hoping that it would make my point clear. The point, to reiterate, is that I can’t think of a field of human endeavor where reviewing decisions in the light of new data is seen as being unacceptable and that to so review is to insult the intelligence of anyone (on either side of the original decision). So I guess my question to you remains unanswered – what is there about this decision that is so very different from countless other decisions that means that it should be above informed review? I think that is a perfectly sensible question deserving of a real answer.It isn’t patronizing to have an opinion. It can be presented in a patronizing way to be sure and to do that is a mistake. But if you are suggesting that to resent being patronized is good enough reason to hold a contrary opinion I can’t agree.

          3. jason wright

            Two years after a general election do we then analyse the ‘new data’, conclude that the elected party of government has failed to deliver on its manifesto promises, and move to rerun the election but exclude the party of government from the ballot paper? No, we do not. We accept the original result as a democratic decision taken by the electorate. Brexit has not yet happened. There is no new data to analyse. There are only presumptions, based on subjective political and economic class affiliations.The UK is dominated by the technocratic London centred elite, and they pay lip service to ‘democracy’, a process they control and manipulate to serve their selfish interests. They are one class. Example. David Cameron, PPE, Oxford. Yvette Cooper, PPE, Oxford. The same mindset, just presented in different ‘wrappers’. They have nothing in common with the average citizen.

          4. Pete Griffiths

            An election is different in kind because liberal democracy is not directly representative. A key dimension is that the electorate selects individuals to represent them who they trust to do the best that they can in the interest of all. This notion has deep roots – the notion of ‘virtue’ goes right back to the Greeks.A referendum is quite different – this is direct ‘democracy’ in action with all its strengths and weaknesses. And one of its weaknesses is that ordinary people have the right to vote but are not policy analysts – they can and should suggest the direction in which they want to move but overwhelmingly they are not astute analysts.”There is no new data to analyze. There are only presumptions, based on subjective political and economic class affiliations.” I think this is just flat out wrong. We have an enormous amount of new data. We can certainly get into this in more detail but I am surprised that you feel that we are truly none the wiser for having been exploring Brexit for so long. I assume it is because you think nothing has been learned is why you feel that there is nothing to be learned and/or reevaluated. I would point out however that it would be a staggeringly unusual human activity if there truly was no new data after embarking on such a road – a road that no other nation had ever travelled and with extremely complicated social, political, economic and security implications. It would be, for example, quite unlike our human experience in families, churches, social groups, political parties, businesses, charities and the armed forces. I’m very unclear what it is that would make it so glaringly unusual in this regard.”The UK is dominated by the technocratic London centred elite” This may well be true. But the fact that this elite has made such a spectacular balls up of Brexit hardly suggest that they are a competent cabal. The most striking thing for me about the whole business has been the monumental executive incompetence.

          5. Pete Griffiths

            Interesting article. I’m very familiar with the degree, have friends who took it, was interested in it when I came across it… But what is your point?

          6. jason wright

            Ways to change Britain to make it fit for for the people to live their lives for their benefit and not for the benefit of a class clique. Brexit isn’t really about the EU. It’s a proxy for dissatisfaction with domestic policies imposed by the class clique.

          7. Pete Griffiths

            I’m not sure that PPE scholars constitute a class clique but they are certainly vulnerable to group think. And I agree totally that Brexit is primarily a reaction to failed policies, most notably Osbourne’s crazy austerity program.

          8. Pete Griffiths

            Read with care. Interesting though familiar.But I remain unclear why suspicions about the merits and demerits of a specific Oxford degree and the influence of its holders bears directly and importantly on the matter in hand. Furthermore, I would point out that the idea that our leaders should have a good deal in common with the average citizen is, to say the least, highly questionable. They must of course be sensitive to the lives and concerns of others but I would hope for example that they would be better informed and have mastery of better analytical tools. Leadership is not simple and there is a technical dimension and it is no longer enough to be a working class hero.The article certainly reinforces your point about UK policy making being dominated by an elite but I never disputed that. So I remain unclear why this fact should exempt policy makers from reviewing a course of action, no matter how popular it may have been at inception, in the light of new information. It appears to me that that is responsible leadership. One does not insist on staying aboard a ship if it transpires it is sinking.

          9. jason wright

            PPE is an authoritarian doctrine used for population control to serve the interests of a class clique. It’s a ‘religion’ that needs to be eradicated.”policy makers” – it is not their right to defy democracy. They have their instruction from the British people, and we are not sinking. Employment is increasing, the economy is growing.

          10. Pete Griffiths

            PPE isn’t “an authoritarian doctrine etc”. It just isn’t.As for the role of policy makers…all an electorate can do is suggest a direction, they are not able to direct meaningful policies.

          11. sigmaalgebra

            > opportunitiesIIRC, one of the fastest IBM water cooled, “water heater”, mainframes had a processor clock of 153 MHz. when I was at IBM’s Watson lab, there were six IBM water heater mainframes for our general use.For the server I just plugged together, there are 8 processors (cores) and a clock of 4.0 GHz. So, let’s take a ratio:(8 * 4 * 10**9 ) / (6 * 153 * 10**6 ) = 35So, first cut, my little server is 35 times faster than all 6 of the mainframes. The processor cost me about $100.But, wait, there’s more! I just read today some stuff that makes it appear that there is some real progress on 5 nm line width microprocessor lithography!Were we talking about opportunity???WOW!

  17. Will Luttrell

    Ridiculing, hating, and “othering” those who believe differently than us are staples of modern discourse. The radical fringes control the conversation, while the sensible middle remains mostly silent and disengaged.

    1. Pete Griffiths

      I don’t think there is anything especially ‘modern’ about these characteristics.

  18. Pete Griffiths

    I observe a good deal of confusion in popular discussions about the role(s) of crypto currencies. IMHO at least some of this confusion stems from the fact that most participants have never studied economics, or more specifically the economic history and theory of money. For those with an interest in redressing this I recommend the excellent:Money and Government: The Past and Future of Economicsby Robert Skidelsky

  19. Tom Labus

    Those guys out in the desert in hairshirts wailing about the future are sometimes prophets and sometimes pretty crazy.

  20. Kirsten Lambertsen

    If you don’t forge an intentional culture, a culture will form on its own. None of this will be accessible to the next wave of developers and users until entities with intentionally inclusive cultures emerge. (BlockStack seems to be paying attention to this and doing a nice job, which isn’t easy given some of the folks that blockchain attracts!)

  21. Pointsandfigures

    Just a question, some orthodoxy like religion is an article of faith. Faith isn’t constrained by data. What data would change the opinion of one side in the crypto debate Fred highlights above? And, if the bar for data is so high that you wouldn’t change your opinion, then you aren’t following the data in your beliefs you are following faith; which like some have commented is a cult.

  22. Gambino

    I believe that we will see many cryptoassets emerge to solve different kinds of problemsThat sounds like polytheism.I would be a multicoiner if I found an altcoin that solved a problem for me. So far I’ve only seen coins with niche use cases like Monero, which is more private than BTC, or Litecoin which has lower fees. I’ve given some ot these other coins a try but then I realized they didn’t have very good liquidity, merchant acceptance, and they weren’t as decentralized or censorship resistant as Bitcoin. Maybe people will consider me a toxic maximalist for thinking that Bitcoin is enough for me, so be it.

  23. sigmaalgebra

    Well done; well phrased; you stepped quickly, accurately, and successfully through a mine field.I believe that we will see many crypto assets emerge to solve different kinds of problems, just as we have seen many different religions develop to serve different groups of people….If someone wants to believe deeply in one thing and nothing else, we should understand and appreciate it.Presumably they are adults and have been told that in new things about money, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose, i.e., without losing sleep, but in practice that will conflict with your “Orthodoxy”, “belief system”, ….Religion, that is a God? I used to say no way. But I’ve changed my mind: I see what is close by and via the Internet see what’s back to the 3 K radiation left over from the big bang and ask, where the heck did that come from? A lot of the laws of physics are tricky, and who, what, how designed and nearly continually in time enforces those laws? And, then, how come from just those laws, and apparently nothing else, we got quarks, protons, electrons, helium, stars, the rest of the periodic table, suns, planets, life, life intelligent enough to understand at least the basics. I’ve seen some really amazing, tricky pool shots in my life, but that one is beyond comprehension. Maybe “The universe is not only stranger than we suppose but stranger than we can suppose.”. Gotta be SOMETHING behind that curtain.What continuing involvement in our daily lives does that power have? Is there enough freedom in the randomness of quantum mechanics in effect to be able to control our lives without our ability to detect it?Why is math so “unreasonably” effective in describing the universe?Did the power deliberately put IBM in deep trouble so that I’d have to do a startup? Far fetched to believe any such thing, but can’t disprove it at all easily.Comfort? Would be nice! But why do all this, big bang to now, for no good reason? So, maybe suspect there is a purpose and take some “comfort” in that?Ah, my first router didn’t work, but now it does! I’ll read some more on the various cases of “network address translation” (NAT) and associated network security. My internet access provider (ISP) confirmed right away that they can easily give me a static IP address!Ah, tomorrow I get my startup’s EIN!That stuff of religious wars was grim. But maybe much of the reason for those wars was just the power of tribalism — comforting on the inside and hostile on the outside — and a lot of tribalism remains.

  24. Shaun Sims

    This is a bit of a sleight of hand. Of course most people will agree with your starting point here, but unlike religion there is a verifiable origin here —> bitcoin. Everything else is a derivative with dubious utility and value.

    1. fredwilson

      I saw your tweet. Now I understand. You are a victim of the issue I wrote about today

      1. Shaun Sims

        I don’t view btc maximalists or myself as a victim. Sticking with the religion theme here, it is others that have fallen for false prophets and they are the victims.

        1. Gayatri Sarkar

          I like your thought process.

  25. jason wright

    ‘maximalism’ = ‘all in’ strategy. risky.perhaps that’s the technical reason why you don’t like it. you construct a portfolio that derisks. maximalism is unwise from an ‘investment’ point of view, which could be financial, but also emotional, psychological, et.c., there are so many false gods that we can so easily fall victim to in our pursuit of certainty. we are all flawed in one way or another, and we should recognise it in ourselves and each other.

  26. Pete Griffiths

    Good stuff…but…as you succinctly put it :)”Spare us all the offensive and condescending idea that “…Those who have not confronted or otherwise developed their spirituality may be lesser persons.”But putting teasing aside…”In a religious context the word “orthodox” simply means a belief in the original founding precepts of the religion. Used correctly, it connotes no negative implication of any kind whatsoever.”This is important. And correct. What is perhaps not so well understood is that the overwhelming majority of believers are not orthodox in this sense and praise the lord for that. The major religions were brought into being in harsh times and a good deal of their content reflects that fact. The faith of most currently believers is not orthodox but is religion ‘lite.’ This was extremely well discussed by Sam Harris in ‘End of Faith.’ He makes the point that today’s orthodox believers who criticize others for having fallen off the true path are actually right. They are religious ‘originalists.’ For today’s believers however they come across as unhinged zealots. In other words because the form of today’s faith is so taken for granted that it is the originalists who seem overly zealous and perhaps a little nuts.Careful out there.

  27. Lawrence Brass

    I am a very proud atheist and an enthusiast respect trader, marveled at the universe we all are part of. Pleased to serve the cross and fight for Jerusalem, which I understand as having western core values, but man, please don’t mess with my brain. I am sufficiently grown up to decide on my own.Lesser soul perhaps because my imminent death doesn’t make me particularly happy, but thankful enough to have a clear an open mind willing to learn anything old or new, free of dogma and ready to pick the better parts of everything and ditch the bad parts.

  28. sigmaalgebra

    WOW! I thought that Fred’s post was good. For what you explained about some of his word usage, etc. is right on target, and I sensed that (but without your excellent use of words and clear distinctions) but was willing to let it slide for what was good there.Your post rises to “the next level” several times.Since I went to Rhodes College (with a heck of a good math department), partially supported by the Presbyterian Church, I got a big dose of religion, from Sunday school lessons all the way to Tillich, Buber, etc.; my brother and his wife are deeply Christian; my wife’s family, also. So I got exposed to a LOT [back in those days I thought that math and physics were superior alternatives; that’s just wrong], but you have gone deeper, still.For a dimly lit Fred’s Bar and Grill, some good stuff.With the Internet, actually we are not hogtied by ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, NBC, NYT, WAPO, etc.I don’t know how long it will take for such old mainstream media (MSM), so dedicated to bad entertainment and sewage for information, getting cold slaps in the face losing a billion here and a billion there, to catch on and change.My guess is they won’t; they will be like the adding machine companies that never became computer companies, typewriter companies that never did any computer based word processing or letter quality printing, etc.

  29. Lawrence Brass

    I was right there trying to combine how the two paragraphs worked together. 🙂

  30. Richard

    This was never about the CDO as much as the credit derivatives – leverage – on the CDO and the political power of the sellers.

  31. Chimpwithcans

    “I am not focused on your relationship with God, but mine. It is personal” I’m not religious, but Hallelujah to this sentence!As a pretty ardent Atheist, I was sure I had religion fitting into a tidy box right up until I met my wife. She and her Catholicism made me curious again and I now see the value in Orthodoxy, Religion and having something greater than yourself to aim for. I drive my wife to church every Sunday. Still a little spooked to take part. Not sure I ever will.Bitcoin saga has some fine parallels with religion for a juicy blog post, no?

  32. Chimpwithcans

    A very good marketing ploy. Makes y’all work hard like mules too.

  33. sigmaalgebra

    Best ploy? How about transgression, retribution, redemption (via sacrifice?).

  34. sigmaalgebra

    > It is always about land.When I saw in WWII history what looked like that was Hitler’s intentions, I didn’t get it: Why the heck go to that much trouble in blood and treasure just to take the land in the polygon from Berlin to Dantzig, Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad, Baku, …, Kiev, …, Berlin was beyond me.Rommel heading east across North Africa, across Egypt, the Suez Canal, and all the way to the Persian Gulf, and maybe then to Iran and the back door to Baku to take the oil, maybe I could see Hitler doing that, but Rommel was not very well supported, and then Hitler charged east.And it appears similarly for what Japan was trying to do in WWII.Today, both Germany and Japan seem to be doing fine.E.g., in the US, in the “fly-over” states there is LOT of land with good farm land, weather, water, growing conditions, etc., but I don’t see NYC, Chicago, SF, LA rushing there for the advantages.If just land is so good, then just go and buy1000 acres in, Wyoming????

  35. Lawrence Brass