Why are some of Twitter’s biggest Bitcoin maximalists shilling Tron?
As crazy as it sounds, there are now Bitcoin maximalists (Bitcoiners) “shilling” Tron, the controversial cryptocurrency of enigmatic Chinese entrepreneur Justin Sun. Yes, you read that right, some of Bitcoin’s biggest proponents are promoting an altcoin.
But why? Why would this subset of the community do something seemingly so out of character?
Well, that’s a bit of a story.
It began with Udi Wertheimer
If you’ve been on Crypto Twitter at all, you likely know of Udi Wertheimer, a self-described “Bitcoiner,” “Coder,” and “Troll.” For the longest time, Wertheimer has been vocal against Ethereum, which he has branded as “slow,” “inefficient,” and “inflexible” on multiple occasions.
✅proven to be censorship resistant so far
❌complete lack of business skills
❌tyrants censoring whatever they dislike
— Udi Wertheimer (@udiWertheimer) November 12, 2019
Alongside bashing the second-largest cryptocurrency, Wertheimer has shilled Tron, touting the altcoin’s high block throughput, transaction count, fast development, and so on and so forth—as a seeming joke, no less.
The commentators’ Twitter trolling even reached a point where Justin Sun (potentially jokingly) offered to send Wertheimer one million TRX tokens — valued at over $20,000 as of the time of this article’s writing.
Wertheimer’s “pro-Tron” rhetoric, so to say, has created quite some buzz within Bitcoin circles over recent months.
The reason: by promoting Tron, Bitcoin maximalists had managed to strike a nerve of Ethereum’s largest proponents (Ethereans), who have long been at a digital war with the maximalists. Also, Bitcoiners have found it quite fun to troll Tron.
But, the level of Tron trolling reached new heights this weekend, when a single fateful tweet was shared online, giving Bitcoiners even more fuel to start online quibbles with the Ethereans.
“Ethereum is over”
On Feb. 7, Canadian Bitcoiner Rodolfo “NVK” Novak, creator of hardware devices the OpenDime and ColdCard, posted the below tweet.
— NVK (@nvk) February 8, 2020
Depicted is himself (left), Blockstream co-founder Adam Back (middle), and Justin Sun (right) at The Satoshi Roundtable—an event so secret that no one knows the location of it, or what is discussed there.
While Sun’s appearance at the event was crazy enough—the event is normally dominated by the biggest of Bitcoiners, no “shitcoiners”—NVK’s message in the tweet was even crazier:
“We have a plan. Ethereum is over. Tron [is] moving to the Liquid Network on Bitcoin.”
While there has been no confirmation if or if not Sun is actually working with Bitcoiners to integrate Tron with Bitcoin (it likely isn’t happening), this single picture started something.
After NVK’s tweet, every Bitcoiner wanted to talk about Tron. Blockstream’s Samson Mow, for instance, made this comparison between Ethereum and Tron, trying the paint the latter of what he seemingly sees as the lesser of two evils.
❌ Never rolled back (ETC)
❌ Secure (DAO & Parity hacks)
❌ Dinner with Warren Buffett
❌ Fast blockchain computation
❌ ETH 2.0#Tron
✅ Never rolled back
✅ Dinner with Warren Buffett
✅ Fast blockchain computation
✅ ETH 2.0
— Samson Mow (@Excellion) February 8, 2020
The drawn-out joke even reached a point where Peter McCormack, an industry podcaster, managed to secure this “exclusive interview” with Justin Sun at a Satoshi Roundtable event. In said “interview,” the Tron CEO branded his own cryptocurrency a “shitcoin,” before saying that “Tron is still more valid than Ethereum.”
My exclusive interview with @justinsuntron is now available.
Hot tip for a Pulitzer. pic.twitter.com/TZaedkezOX
— Peter McCormack (@PeterMcCormack) February 9, 2020
Let’s just say that Ethereans were not all too pleased with this comment, nor with this debacle as a whole.
Not all fun and games
While many in the cryptocurrency community have been taking this online banter as pure fun and games, some have started to speak out against the weird synergy between Tron and Bitcoin, calling it misguided.
Dovey Wan, a partner at crypto-friendly fund Primitive Ventures, recently wrote that “it is a REALLY bad idea to ‘troll’ like this” (emphasis Dovey’s). Wan gave a number of reasons to back her assertion:
- She first wrote that “All attention is good attention to any scam,” referencing the long-held belief by many members of the cryptocurrency space that Tron isn’t as above board as Sun says it is.
- Secondly, Wan argued that there are many that won’t get this 3d-chess-like “joke,” and may actually take Bitcoiners’ propensity to advocate for Tron as serious.
- Thirdly, she explained that a “bad asset” will die through zero market liquidity and no awareness, not by trolling.
It’s a REALLY bad idea to “troll” like this
1. All attention is good attention to any scam
2. Most ppl don’t get the 3D chess play or the “joke”, many will be confused, even take it seriously
3. Bad asset dies out of 0 liquidity and awareness, not trolling
Can we stop ASAP? https://t.co/zXBLdpRcRx
— Dovey 以德服人 Wan ?? (@DoveyWan) February 9, 2020
Wan’s comment has garnered support from some.
Though, she and her ilk currently seem to be in a minority, with Bitcoin advocates all across Twitter still singing the high praises of Tron, only perpetuating the joke.