Joseph Poon and the Hug

I can be a real annoying asshole. Sometimes I say stuff that makes people upset. Sometimes I do things that confound my colleagues and friends. Sometimes I jump through big ass hoops just to make someone laugh at a joke that isn’t funny. But every so often they find that I’m a caring, passionate, borderline obsessive guy who wants to get stuff done and cares deeply about the people that he interacts with. I’ve grown a lot by working in Bitcoin, but I’ve learned more about human nature than technology and that’s probably a good thing.

The last few years have been a very tumultuous time for the Internet. We’ve seen the rise of 4chan and their /b/tards, the black swan election of Trump and the return of Bitcoin to 4-digit prices, which many of us weren’t sure would ever happen even though we’d never admit that to our friends and family who had to sit through our near religious evangelism of the protocol. Will there ever be normalcy in cyberspace again or are we doomed to bury ourselves in memes?

Blockchain Week was a follow up to DEVCON 2 in Shanghai, China last September and it was an amazing chance to meet up with some of my favorite people in person. Juan Benet and his amazing IPFS team, various Ethereum folks, Bitcoin devs and just everyday followers of the projects. We all shook hands, but when I ran into Joseph Poon he gave me a hug. There wasn’t any awkwardness to the hug, but it immediately set off something in my brain that I realized was missing from our whole situation evolving around the block size debate. Humanity.

It sounds stupid as Hell. A hug, but at the same time I couldn’t let it go. To me it signified a unity and dedication to helping each other. Why are we letting others tear us apart when we have a community so dedicated to making things move forward? I haven’t met a Bitcoin person I really hate. If Alphonse Pace or MrHodl want to meet up I’m willing to change my mind.

Recently I had a teammate ask me why I did a Bitcoin Uncensored interview. I had to think twice about why I did choose to do it. Why did I choose to go on a podcast that ridicules and insults it’s guests or tears apart groups working on new technology? Maybe it’s because I see so much of myself in all these people. Maybe it’s because we’re all just trying to find our place in this crazy stupid world. There’s one thing that binds us though. We all believe that Bitcoin is going to change the world and we can’t live without being a part of it. No matter how flawed we are as humans. Some of us are drug dealers and some of us are just bored ass Enterprise Software Consultants.

Ever since that hug in Shanghai I started looking people in the eye more, trying to show my gratitude for hard work, and understand other positions no matter how far they were from what I believed. It’s tough and I certainly fail constantly at being the compassionate, understanding persona I pontificate about, but I’m trying. Trying is better than trolling or criticizing or attacking.

Maybe everyone should just talk it out with another fellow dev or community member and give a hug. If we started thinking about each other as humans instead of Twitter eggs or sockpuppets maybe we have a chance to survive this craziness. If we choose to keep battling we won’t stop being obsessed with Bitcoin, we’ll just enjoy it less. Remember when we didn’t know about any of the politics? Remember when we just wanted to know how we could help or find out more?

It’s time we brought back respect. Until we show respect we’ll never receive respect.

Thank a core dev. Thank a Coinbase employee. Thank a Blockstream employee. Thank Purse. Thank an Ethereum dev. Thank those crazy Dogecoin devs. Thank Charlie Lee and his Litecoin project. Thank Nick Szabo. Thank Z-Cash. Thank the DAO.

You just had the most entertaining 7 years of your life with Bitcoin and it’s only going to get crazier. Stop dwelling on the past and help create the future. We’re all humans and the only reason this thing even exists is because we believe there’s a better tomorrow.

We revere Satoshi not for his/her ingenuity but their humbleness and willingness to contribute without demand for gratitude. We all strive to be so humble, but it’s a hard example to follow. Don’t sweat the small stuff. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.