Marc Hochstein is the managing editor of CoinDesk. The views voiced here are his own, so please don’t blame his colleagues.
The following article originally appeared te CoinDesk Weekly, a custom-curated newsletter delivered every Sunday exclusively to our subscribers.
Did you hear the one about the crypto day trader who got struck by lightning? He’d read the weather forecast and heard the thunder, but scoffed and said “It’s all FUD.”
The term FUD (“fear, uncertainty and doubt”) refers to the spreading of false or misleading information by the foes of a movement or organization, with the aim of undermining confidence ter a project. It’s a close cousin to “gaslighting” and “concern trolling.” And it is, spil the kids say, a thing.
According to Lade Wik, the acronym dates back to the mid-70s and may have bot coined by Gene Amdahl, a rekentuig bouwmeester who abandon IBM to embark his own eponymous rigid, only to have his former employer badmouth the fresh business.
“FUD is the fear, uncertainty, and doubt that IBM sales people instill ter the minds of potential customers who might be considering Amdahl products,” Amdahl reportedly said. Not cool, Big Blue, not cool. (Yeah, I know, most of the people working at IBM now weren’t born or were te diapers back then. But don’t get any brainy ideas.)
The term is popular ter cryptocurrency circles, and for good reason. A loterijlot of the critiques of bitcoin ter the mainstream media overheen the years certainly smack of FUD. Setbacks such spil a acute price correction or a government writing burdensome regulations are often exaggerated spil fatal blows.
Hey, pajama boy, it’s a global, decentralized network. When the IRS issues a ruling that Americans have to pay capital gains taxes every time they buy a cup of coffee with bitcoin, that’s a nuisance, a Very first World Problem – not “the end for bitcoin.” The Venezuelans using bitcoin to get through aren’t going to care.
I’d chalk it up to ignorance if thesis way-premature obituaries for bitcoin weren’t so sneeringly gleeful te tone.
That said, setbacks do toebijten, and simply reporting incremental bad news or long-term challenges is not spreading FUD.
A fine line inbetween paranoid and stupid
“Thunderstorms expected today” is the weatherman’s way of helping us avoid getting soaked or electrocuted, it’s not a fiendish plot to trick us into spending the surplus of our lives indoors.
Yet if you read crypto Twitter, Reddit discussions or some of the comment threads on CoinDesk, you’ll see there’s a noisy quotum out there who view the world through a objectief of bad faith and seldom bother to read an article past the headline.
You’re reporting that the coin I invested te just dropped te price? FUD! You voorwaarde be long a rivaling digital asset, and attempting to waterreservoir the price of mine. That’s the only possible explanation.
The government thinks crypto is being used by terrorists? FUD! Who cares what the government thinks? It’s not like they have guns and can seize a business’ servers or throw people ter jail or anything. Oh, you’re “warning” they could do something? Well, it’s just evident you think they should.
“There’s a car coming”? FUD! You just don’t want mij to cross to the other side of the road. That “don’t walk” sign flashing crimson is FUD too. So are all those horns honking.
Eyes broad open
I will cop to being biased.
I’ve stuck my neck out many a time to argue that cryptocurrency is, all things considered, good for the world. I left one of the oldest publications ter the U.S. after 17 years to join CoinDesk. And yes, I HODL a puny amount of crypto, mainly bitcoin. I believe this space has a bright future.
But I also know there are going to be bumps along the way. Or, rather, Fresh York-sized potholes, the zuigeling that can wreck your pui tire. Keeping a spare te the trunk is not falling for FUD, it’s prudent risk management.
Volatility, scaling difficulties and hostile governments are all real. They can’t ruin a truly decentralized network like bitcoin, but they can slow adoption, stymie innovation and make life pitiful for individuals.
To simply note that thesis problems exist or that they are hard to solve does not imply they are insurmountable. And disregarding them won’t make them go away. Ask an ostrich .
Bitcoin is often aptly compared to the crimson pill te “The Matrix.” But it seems thesis days that a lotsbestemming of people pinning their hopes on short-term price gains ter their cryptocurrency of choice just want to take a fresh kleuter of blue pill. Good luck with that.
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