At this point, we’ll leave the crypto section and turn to more general topics. I have a fixed idea that there are certain character traits, milieus, preferences or world views that characterize the crypto scene. But it’s hard for me to define these precisely, and even harder to prove them.
So I asked, in fairly general terms, what makes you happy, and gave eight answer choices for you to sort through. Unfortunately, your answers seem as general as the question – but that doesn’t mean they are uninteresting:
Health makes you the happiest, God the least. Could this be taken to mean that health is the new religion? Yoga, interval fasting, Nordic walking, mucking out, low-carb, organic, Demeter, superfoods – I suspect there’s a connection: when a society loses faith in God, it also loses faith in the afterlife and an afterlife, which makes life before death all the more important, fragile, precious and worth protecting.
Can this be? Could it be that the most realistic future totalitarian threat is a health dictatorship? And at the risk of sounding something wrong or cross-thinking – is this reflected in the Corona crisis? Is this the trap into which an overly enlightened, materialistic society can slip? Well – back to the survey: in second to fourth place we find the social happiness goods: love, family and friends. This confirms threefold that happiness is above all the sum of the relationships one has in life.
After that comes nature, and only then, by a wide margin, money. This seems a bit strange to me, since this is a blog about virtual money, and I know that cryptocurrencies also arouse passion in many of you. If money already makes you so unhappy – what is it like for other people? Can you even call it capitalism anymore?
Or are “money” and “money” two different things? On the one hand, the mere, cold and dead number that tells you how much purchasing power you have, which is of course a rather subordinate number for a post-materialistic German citizen living in affluence and drowning in abundance. And on the other hand, money as an idealistic thing, like Bitcoin: a fascinating, epoch-making technology that questions the system, and is less about personal prosperity than positive change in the world?
That’s quite a few questions. I hope to find a bit of clarity in the next question. Because I followed up the happiness question with one about importance, which had almost the same answer options. The intent was to double check your statements, and along the way learn more about the differences between happiness and importance.
When it comes to health, you remain true to yourselves – this continues to be in the top spot, this time by even more of a margin. To me, this suggests that indulging in health fetishism is socially approved.
This is followed by family, which moves up a bit, while love, which made you very happy a moment ago, slips and even lands behind freedom. So if I understand this correctly, you would leave your partner even though you love her if it meant gaining freedom, even if it made you more unhappy?
It is also interesting that faith comes before money this time. Money may make you somewhat happy, but it doesn’t make it important; conversely, God or faith in something higher or spiritual is more important to you than happiness-fulfilling. Happiness is not everything? Or is that just because faith is a broader category than God?
Overall, though, your answers strike me as anything but crypto or bitcoin specific. Maybe the freedom thing, which is typical of the scene; maybe the low importance of faith, which is also typical of a tech-oriented milieu; maybe the strong focus on health, which also seems typical of the milieu of rich techies, such as when Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin donates $336 million to a foundation for longevity research.
Freedom, security and money
We’ll stick to the thematic focus. In the following three questions, I have asked how important freedom, security and money are to you. All three “things” have a value for you.
But freedom has by far the highest. I think if 372 people land on an average of more than nine on a scale of 1-10, that’s quite a lot. It would be extremely interesting to find out how people outside the crypto scene respond to this question.
- Security is also important to you guys. However, “only” with an average of 7.17, which is still a lot, but much less than for freedom.
- Since cryptocurrencies  have cryptography in them and are about computer SECURITY, and since health, which you value so highly, is in itself SECURITY of physical consistency, one might have expected more.
- Once again, however, the least important factor is money. With an average of 6.61, it is already approaching the border of “tending to be unimportant” at 5, but it is not that far away from safety.
- Since shortly before you chose money as the least important of the goods available for selection, this small distance is somewhat surprising.
But I have also secured this question complex several times. So far you could say for free how important something is to you; nothing spoke against helping yourselves everywhere, freedom, security and money, why not everything? With the following questions I tried to raise the costs a little bit and to make you weigh security and freedom against each other.
On the one hand, you find it very one-deductive that bureaucracy is stifling our society, and that, more generally, we need more freedom. So the status quo is anything but ok.
After that, I asked if you think more security and order should be created in our situation, even if it comes at the expense of freedom. At the end of the day, that’s exactly what’s been happening for a good year. This question forced you to choose between security and freedom, and the choice was clear – for freedom.
Politics, economics and trust
Admittedly, I’ve been riding more on generalities with the questions about happiness, importance, freedom and security. With the following two questions, I have now tried to be a bit more theory-based: Namely, I suspect that many in the Bitcoin scene tend toward libertarianism. And a typical symptom of a liberal is that they distrust politicians much more than economic actors.
So I asked, to what extent do you think our politicians are failing? Given the many scandals and scandals of recent months, given the strong division in society that Corona has produced, and given the presumed liberal to libertarian attitude among you, I would have guessed to get a strong “yes” here. The “yes” is there, it is also relatively strong – but nowhere near as strong as I expected. Your distrust of politics is moderate, perhaps healthy, but in no case paranoid to radical.
If, as I suspected, liberalism is so strong among you, the economic elites should do better, right? But when I asked if you agree that the economic elites are failing, you gave relatively similar answers. The agreement is a bit weaker, but not as clearly as one might have thought. So there is a tilt toward liberalism, but it is by no means extreme.
Since we’re already on the subject of trust, I’ve tapped this topic again explicitly: Who do you trust? Here it turns out that the majority of you draw trust from personal ties – family and friends – as well as science – including mathematics.
Bitcoin, the market, and open-source developers  also enjoy your trust to some extent, but are comparatively far behind. But when you consider that Bitcoin, as money, needs nothing so much as trust; when you further consider that Bitcoin  is also, in a sense, a bet on the integrity of the open-source community and the invisible hand of the market – and when you finally consider that not even you, as early adopters and insiders, have much trust for this: then you do wonder if this currency revolution can ever become something.
But still better than the media. Television, unsurprisingly, is not trusted by anyone; the newspaper does a little better, but still pretty lousy. You also react to politics with a distrust that, it seems to me, comes through more strongly here than in the question earlier.