Comments made this week by Mark Cuban, famed owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and a regular host on Shark Tank, have ruffled the feathers of prominent Bitcoiners.
Veteran Bitcoin programmer Jimmy Song tweeted to dispute Cuban’s claims that Bitcoin lacks convenience and security:
Looks like @mcuban is still living in 2011
too difficult to use – wallets make it easy, especially as SoV
too easy to hack, way too easy to lose – backups make it easy
too hard to understand – @LittleBitcoinBk makes it easy
too hard to assess a value – s2f makes it easy
— Jimmy Song (송재준) (@jimmysong) December 10, 2019
On Tuesday, Forbes published comments from Cuban in which he stated that there is, “no chance” Bitcoin will ever become a dependable currency system:
“Not because it can’t work technically, although there are challenges, it could, but rather because it’s too difficult to use, too easy to hack, way too easy to lose, too hard to understand, too hard to assess a value.”
The comments come as a PR-blow to crypto, which, though originally conceived as an anarchist proposition, is currently struggling to go mainstream and become more relevant to average citizens.
Other pro-Bitcoin pundits weighed in on Cuban’s remarks.
Computer scientist, legal scholar and prominent Bitcoiner Nick Szabo tweeted, “Sounds like Cuban had (and has?) the wrong idea about Bitcoin, seeing it as primarily a means of retail payment rather than as a trust-minimized store of value and globally seamless medium of transfer.”
Szabo also tweeted:
“Bitcoin is the best form of money ever created, but it hardly fixes every problem instantly.”
Cuban also had supporters.
Jarret Link tweeted:
“If the play is SoV— news flash, people outside of bitcoin/gold twitter don’t get excited about ‘hard money’. There’s not a mass awakening of Austrian economics throughout society.”
Technical myopia, libertarian orthodoxy and straight up dreaminess often supplant practicality in Bitcoin and crypto, as Unix systems administrator and author David Gerard notes in his essay, “Debunking ‘But Bitcoin is like the early Internet!'” (There is also the conscious or unconscious desire to attract new money to pyramid-style cryptocurrency systems.)
In the passage below, Gerard talks about why two early iterations of anarcho/libertarian systems on the Internet have remained more-or-less boutique:
“Freenet is a vastly more sensible idea than Bitcoin — it’s a simple concept, it had a real-life threat model, etc. And it still failed to gain users, because it sucked to use — it was very slow and, as a Java program in the late 1990s, very resource-intensive. The network itself rapidly filled with illegal content and puerile trash…Even a hugely successful idea like BitTorrent turned out to be sort of annoying and inconvenient in practice. Netflix and Spotify won over BitTorrent because they were more convenient than piracy. Convenience wins, every time.”