Decred’s Name Sucks and I’m Glad!

Dustin LeFebvre
Nov 13, 2019 · 3 min read

dea prefix from Latin (decide); used to indicate privation, removal, and separation, negation, reversal, etc.

It’s a negative — straight up.

credshort for credit, as is credit cards, credit crisis, credit history, credit score.

You still there, or did your financial anxieties get the best of you? There’s obviously meaning in the name, Decred, other than to torment you in perpetuity. Though you may be one to enjoy that kind of thing — you’re in crypto, after all. Many have defended the name, short for Decentralized Credits, arguing it correctly focuses on decentralization and is futuristic. I argue it’s great, because it sucks.

Negative brand names can work, because they force a brand to be great. They give the world rope that can be used for hanging, forcing a brand to excel to avoid this convenient and harsh treatment.

Virgin Airlines: you really going to fly with a first timer?

Banana Republic: what happens when they don’t have your size?

For Decred, every software release, social engagement, and conference presentation places it on the cliff’s edge. It sets a ruthlessly high bar, because it’s so easy to end up DickRed or even DickRekt, if things veer really far off course.

Given the origins of Decred as old school Bitcoiners, there’s a serious cypherpunk streak that needs to live on the precipice of destruction, on the fringes of society, fingers crossed and breath held so as not to fly too close to the sun. They couldn’t possibly have chosen a boring name, a conventional name, or any name that would have neglected the glaring, collective chip on their shoulder. The one that still, and will always, believe the legacy financial system is unfairly constructed and that a new one needs to be fully built in its place.

Decred is gonna Decred, and I’m glad it’s that way. Was Decred going to hire a branding agency, brainstorm and do focus groups? Hell no, because tacotime, _ingsoc and jy-p don’t work like that. They chose a name with a strongly negative connotation to tattoo that chip permanently onto Decred’s shoulder. The name, Decred, ensures it would never forget its origins, mission, and that it would live on the edge in perpetuity.

Now, when someone questions the name Decred, I welcome it. It agitates an old wound, lays bare the dramatic chip that drives the Decred community to tirelessly build the infrastructure that makes it a superior long-term store of value. That chip drives the development of DAO systems that ensure the project’s security, the DEX that ensures Decred remains permissionless, Politeia, which makes Decred adaptable for the long horizon, even after you awake from that coma.

That same chip focuses the team to lay the rails for Decred to be used as a medium of exchange in a new, fairer, financial system. The SPV, Lightning Network interoperability with Bitcoin and Litecoin, ticket splitting via Lightning Network — anything goes wrong, and we’re totally DickRekt. Decred sucks, but it drives us to be great. In time, Decred will become accepted like a Virgin or a Banana Republic — I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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