You and whose army? The Many Maxi Militias of the Crypto World

The cryptocurrency space is divided into dozens of niche subgroups. Each digital asset spawns its own devout community of investors, evangelists, and accomplices, all working to increase the value of their chosen token and pave the way for mass adoption.

When it comes to large-cap coins and tokens, like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Chainlink (LINK), communities can reach such scale that they use their collective power to mobilize and influence the development and policy of the asset. In doing so, they take on distinct group IDs: clubs, maximalists, armies. Below are some of the most prominent, along with a brief description of the tactics they use to achieve their goals.

1.
Bitcoin Maximalists
“I only have eyes for Bitcoin.” Image: Shutterstock

They are the loudest, most militant, and (somehow) the most geopolitically influential of all the crypto groups. Maximalists generally believe that Bitcoin is the only valid asset in the crypto sphere (it was the first, after all) and everything else is a scam and should be ignored.

Jack Dorsey is one. Just like Michael Saylor. Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele is another. For the maximalist, Bitcoin is a truly transformative and game-changing asset that functions as an uncensorable “store of value” for people who have seen their wealth destroyed by hyperinflationary policy or government regimes (like the US Fed) that preside over the written press. “fiat” currency by decree.

Like gold, bitcoin is limited in supply and cannot be manipulated by any middlemen, and bitcoin maximalists, also known as “maxis”, believe it is a numerical expression of the you– the economic theory of “hard money” of the libertarian Friedrich Hayek. They treat Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto with religious reverence and advocate for a new “Bitcoin standard” (also the name of a book written by maximalist scholar Saifedean Ammous), sometimes in tandem with an ascetic lifestyle and frugal and, supposedly, a counterpoint to reckless consumerism in the Fiat World: no carbs, no seed oils, no short-term transitional goals, no promiscuity – just the steady, endless hoarding of Bitcoin.

Tactical:

Many Bitcoin Maximalists are the oldest of OG Bitcoin investors and consider it their divine duty to vigorously disparage all other segments of the crypto world, believing it to be a harmful distraction to the cause. Bitcoin.

They regularly work to expose scams and criticize what they perceive to be flaws with other major cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum, and you’ll often see them invading the Twitter comments of any public figure, including Donald Trump and JK Rowling, who mentions Bitcoin – praising them if they support it, lambasting them or trying to “educate” them if they criticize it.

Much of their advocacy takes the form of affirmative and epigrammatic tweets (“Fiat spends money, Bitcoin saves money”) and memes signaling group membership, the most famous being the laser eyes seen on many Twitter profile pictures. They recently helped persuade Bukele to adopt Bitcoin in his country as legal tender.

Call to Arms:

“The pile sits down;” “Have fun staying poor;” “digital gold;” “don’t trust, verify”

2.
XRP Army
“These coins will protect you from the stench of fiat.” Image: Shutterstock

The XRP Army is the original large-scale Twitter collective, the one that spawned a thousand imitators. It is centered around cryptocurrency XRP (just don’t call it “ripple”, says Ripple), whose developers’ densely technical plan to replace the international banking payment system has won a huge cohort of admirers.

XRP was, and is, controversial, having hit an all-time high in 2018 (briefly overtaking ETH as the #2 cryptocurrency by market capitalization) before a long, slow crash and a lengthy securities fraud case filed by the SEC. The XRP Army saw its goal as fighting the endless streams of what it believed to be misinformation about its chosen asset, thereby affirming the value of XRP. While XRP’s ranking among crypto assets has dwindled over the years, many of its followers have moved on. Thus, the mobilizations of the army are less important and frequent.

Tactical:

Army was primarily based on Twitter and Reddit and coalesced around a coterie of hugely popular influencers like Tiffany Hayden (which later defected) and XRP_Trump, which would materialize in the comments of literally anyone who questioned the value of XRP (or failed to mention XRP in any given article or blog) and spun endless statistics and hyperlinks, along with announcements of high-profile partnerships and clips from their key thought leader, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, which was treated with near-religious deference.

The military was also notorious for its strategy of “brigading” adversaries into a social media argument, which involves tagging well-followed comrades who then attract hundreds or even thousands of followers to harangue, or even harass, target. This has often led to controversies, such as doxxing (exposing a person’s private details) and death threats. The scale of the XRP Army’s response to any criticism was so broad that many suspected its members to be bots paid for by Ripple itself; it has never been proven.

Call to Arms:

Shout “FUD!” (short for “fear, uncertainty and doubt”) to any comments questioning the value of XRP

3.
LINK Marines
The LINK Marine Initiation Ceremony

The LINK Marines are a more capable and, to some extent, more sophisticated successor to the XRP Army. As with the XRP army, this is a group of fanatics who have invested in a technically complex asset, this time the Ethereum-based oracle service. Chain linkwhich connects blockchains with real-world off-chain data.

They have a sense of humor about themselves, ironically using military titles like “Brigadier” and “Field Marshal”, and their most popular representative is “Brigadier-General” Chainlink_God, an unnamed American computer science student.

The Marines have their roots in the notoriously wild forum /biz/ on 4chan, where a mysterious anonymous poster known only as “Assblaster” and claiming to be a Chainlink insider is said to post lengthy descriptions of the company’s technology. Legend has it that the inhabitants of the /biz/ forum, known for being able to dissect any high-tech project, could offer no valid criticism of Chainlink’s technology. In 2020, Ethereum-based decentralized finance has become very popular, and Chainlink, along with its token, LINK, has become widely used, increasing the value of the token and the importance of the Chainlink army.

Tactical:

While LINK Marines are known to engage in the same below-the-belt tactics deployed by the XRP army, such as brigadier and doxxing, Chainlink’s success has made them calmer and more comfortable over the years. Many of them prefer to engage with the outside world in an informative way, writing long Medium articles on, for example, Chainlink’s path to wide-scale adoption, or workarounds for various technical difficulties. Marines became more generally integrated into the crypto/Ethereum community, unlike members of the XRP army, who were often treated as outcasts.

Call to Arms:

” I did not read ; never sold”

Honorable mention.
Bored Ape Yacht Club
Image: Bored Ape Yacht Club

Holders of the ubiquitous and now insanely expensive bored monkeys NFT (or ApeCoin) and members of various associated decentralized autonomous organizations like ApeDAO, which can usually be found in Discord groups accessible only to them.

Tactical:

Affirmative posting about the benefits of being part of the Bored Apes community, as well as eliminating fraudulent Bored Ape counterfeits commanding perceived deceptively high returns.

Honorable mention.
Cardan’s Army
Image: Decrypt

Investors in the Cardano ADA cryptocurrency, a rival of Ethereum developed by peer review.

Tactical:

Defend the reputation of the prickly gimbal founder (and co-founder of Ethereum) Charles Hoskinson, a talkative and outspoken character who is often under scrutiny and defensive.

Honorable Mention.
Bitcoin Satoshi Vision
Image: CoinGeek

Followers of self-proclaimed Bitcoin inventor Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist who claims his fork fork, S.V. Bitcoin, is the only Bitcoin that fulfills the original purpose of the protocol. Group rallies around pro-BSV post CoinGeek and common on Twetch, a Twitter-like social network built on the BSV blockchain.

Tactical:

Going up against the Bitcoin maximalists on which the “real” Bitcoin is; create applications in the BSV ecosystem; find and relay counterpoints to reports on Wright’s many legal proceedings.

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