The crypto world, we are told, is brimming with “communities.” 

There are Bitcoiners, Ethereans, the Dogecoin army, LINK marines. There are communities around NFTs, like Bored Apes, CrypToadz and JPEGS of rocks. There are communities around complex financial instruments like Compound, Aave, and the algorithmic stablecoin Terra. There is even, somehow, a “community” around Tether, presumably for fans of the stablecoin and its dubious dollar reserves. 

At first blush, it is hard to square these “communities” with the more accepted definition of a community as a group of people bound by something tangible and persistent: shared values, political beliefs, heritage, language, even a hobby or a skill. Think Zoroastrians, Esperanto speakers, competitive Starcraft II players, trombonists, devout believers in the Gnostic Demiurge. These are true-blue communities whose ties will stand the test of time.

My instinctive reaction towards crypto “communities,” by contrast, is that they are illusory and hollow, that they spring up cynically to put a communal shine on what amount to fleeting investment cults, and that the bonds between members are expressions of nothing more than shared financial interest.

Look at any large Telegram group built around a small-cap cryptocurrency and you will see that the “community” is little but a collection of desperate individuals pumping their rapidly depreciating token. Almost all communal back-and-forth takes the form of frenzied demands for “roadmaps” and bullish price predictions. It’s the same with many communities…

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