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It’s Time to Quit “Bitcoin, Not Crypto”

"Bitcoin, not Crypto" not only stifles the growth and understanding of Bitcoin but also alienates potential enthusiasts and innovators in the broader crypto space.
7 min read
It’s Time to Quit “Bitcoin, Not Crypto”

When I first joined the crypto industry in 2017, the welcome message I received was simple: "We've got Bitcoin and Ethereum. Bitcoin is digital money. Ethereum is a platform that people build cool apps on."

Fair enough. I was in.

There was no negativity. No trying to push me to one blockchain or another. No tribalism.

The welcome was simple but intriguing. It made me hungry to learn as much as I could.

Times have changed. With polarity at an all-time high and blockchain disputes raging online daily, the crypto industry has never been so hostile and unwelcoming to new participants taking their first glimpse inside.

"Bitcoin maximalists" are largely to blame. The subgroup of Bitcoin participants, some of whom have amassed huge followings, have spread hate, incorrect and damaging information, and the worst possible Bitcoin slogan—"Bitcoin, not Crypto"—across the industry.

For Bitcoin's sake, the slogan needs to end. We need a new welcome message.

Let's explore why from a communications perspective.

Bitcoin as a Religion Offers Clarity

The comparison that likens Bitcoin to a religion is well-founded; it's one we can elaborate upon to show just how terrible "Bitcoin, not crypto" is as a message.

Take yourself back to the times of the early Christian Church. A relatively small (in comparison to the global population) group of people was on a mission to convert non-believers into followers of Christ.

With Bitcoin today, a relatively small (in comparison to the global population) group of people is on a mission to convert non-believers into adopters of a new form of currency.

The parallels are clear as day—two grassroots movements led by people pouring their hearts and souls into making the world a better place.

Now, picture the following scene:

A group of early Christians invite curious non-believers to a meeting place to discuss Jesus Christ.

A non-believer named Joshua asks: "Why is Christianity the best religion? Why should I choose Christianity instead of converting to Judaism?

"Christianity, not Judaism," replies one of the Christians with boastful pride.

"Judaism is a scam!" another Christian shouts in support.

The room falls silent; the non-believers are clearly nervous and confused.

One of them bravely speaks up after a moment, asking, "Well, can you at least give us some context into why you believe that?" He continues, "I'm a Muslim, but I'm curious about several religions currently and am trying to figure out what each offers."

The Christians become more rowdy:

"You should go to prison for considering those scams!"

"Think of the children, what are you doing?"

"Christianity, not Judaism, not Islam!"

Now picture that same scene, but replace Christians with Bitcoiners and replace the non-believers with altcoin users and Bitcoin-curious people.

I think you get the point.

Attacking other crypto participants' beliefs, telling Bitcoin-curious people that everything else in crypto is a scam, and shouting "Bitcoin, not crypto" from the mountaintops is no way to convert people to Bitcoin.

It's no way to sustain and grow a movement that ties so closely to peoples' beliefs.

To bring people to Bitcoin, it's essential that we be respectful of their current activities and beliefs centered around other cryptocurrencies and use sound reasoning to educate them on why Bitcoin is the best option.

Act with grace, not hate.

Promoting a Lie Hurts Trust in Bitcoin

Anyone in the world can Google "Is Bitcoin a cryptocurrency?" and find that the factual, undeniable truth is that yes, Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency.

There is an endless list of evidence that supports this.

Oxford Languages, the source of Google's English dictionary and the world's leading dictionary publisher with over 150 years of experience, defines a "cryptocurrency" as the following:

"a digital currency in which transactions are verified and records maintained by a decentralized system using cryptography, rather than by a centralized authority."

Cross-reference that definition with the Bitcoin whitepaper and, like magic, Bitcoin is confirmed as a cryptocurrency. Imagine that.

To anyone who isn't a brainwashed Bitcoin maximalist, this is the most basic concept in the industry. The first thing everyone learns about Bitcoin is that it's a cryptocurrency.

For a moment, put yourself in the shoes of someone discovering Bitcoin for the first time.

You check out social media to learn more about Bitcoin and the industry, and come across tweets like this:

Can you imagine how confused you'd be? Would you want to learn more and dive deeper into an industry with such an identity crisis at its fundamental level?

Stirring up controversy and generating confusion is no way to improve Bitcoin education or adoption. As an industry, it's essential that we make learning as straightforward as possible.

Instead, Focus on Differentiation and Familiarity

In claiming that Bitcoin isn't crypto, Bitcoiners resort to a juvenile argument that sounds a lot like bullying, or like there's nothing better to say.

"Bitcoin, not Crypto" is the "Your Mom" comeback of Web3. It's a middle school-level last resort that causes two fundamental problems:

  1. It indicates that Bitcoin can't effectively differentiate itself from other cryptocurrencies.
  2. It compares two Web3 concepts, making it difficult for novices to understand.


There's no scenario in which "Bitcoin, not crypto" is used that a sound argument couldn't be used instead. Using "Bitcoin, not crypto" is a cop-out argument that signals that Bitcoin isn't worth using the energy to properly defend. Worse even, it's a complete failure to take advantage of a moment to differentiate Bitcoin from other cryptocurrencies.

If someone asks why they should choose Bitcoin instead of Ethereum, the answer should relate to proof of work and Bitcoin's fundamentals as ultrasound money. "Bitcoin, not crypto" is a psychotic answer to such an important question.

Thinking back to my own onboarding experience, if I had been told "Bitcoin, not crypto" and that everything in crypto aside from Bitcoin was a scam, I don't think I would've been so keen to get involved in the industry. Why would anyone want to join an industry where all but one product is a scam?

People's questions about the crypto industry deserve genuine, well-founded answers. They deserve much more than claims that projects clearly run with good intentions and a humanity-first mission are evil scams. They deserve a proper welcome and room to explore everything the industry has to offer.

That is how we have grown as an industry for years and how we should continue to do so. Be an information resource and let people choose what they align to on their own.


For a novice, Bitcoin and Crypto are two foreign concepts. Telling them Bitcoin isn't crypto doesn't further their understanding of Bitcoin; it's a path to confusion and doubt. Those aren't emotions that we should want anyone to feel when they first find Bitcoin.

Trust is vital to onboarding. Clear, unbiased information is vital to establishing trust.

Bitcoin vs Gold

The message Bitcoiners propagated years ago, "Bitcoin is digital gold," was far better than "Bitcoin, not crypto." The gold metaphor is much more effective to spread because it brings familiarity to an extremely complicated subject. Almost everyone understands gold; at the very least, they know it is valuable due to its rarity and commonly serves as a safe store of value.

That's how genuine curiosity is sparked. It opens the door for adoption.

Moving Beyond "Bitcoin, Not Crypto"

The crypto industry's current atmosphere of divisiveness and hostility, epitomized by the "Bitcoin, not Crypto" slogan, is detrimental not just to Bitcoin, but to the entire crypto space. This approach alienates newcomers and muddies the waters of understanding and trust. The early ethos of inclusivity and eagerness to educate, which once welcomed and intrigued many of us, including myself, has been overshadowed by a tribal mentality that does more harm than good.

As an industry, we must return to our roots of open-mindedness and informative dialogue. The focus should be on providing clear, factual information, celebrating the unique attributes of various cryptocurrencies, and fostering an environment where curiosity and learning are encouraged. Only by adopting a more welcoming and constructive approach can we hope to see the crypto industry thrive and evolve, inviting participation from a diverse range of thinkers and innovators. This change is not just necessary; it's crucial for the future and the growth of the entire crypto ecosystem.

We must be better.

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