Where Does Crypto Live?
The monolithic Bitcointalk and the infamous 4chan’s /biz/ imageboard stand as go-to platforms for cryptocurrency veterans to share information and catch the inside line on shifts in the cryptospace. While these forums are excellent for discussing the greater culture and movement of the cryptocommunity at large, there is virtually no room on them for differentiated communities to thrive. Bitcointalk is a general forum for the discussion of the Bitcoin ecosystem only and the high turnover of /biz/’s imageboard format makes discussions lasting more than a handful of days possible.
So where might a burgeoning cryptocurrency find ground to plant its roots? In the early 2000’s, a collaborative, community based project (as most crypto projects tend to be) would set up their own website and forum to serve as a basecamp. Through this project home base, any interested parties could find space to interact with each other and further the culture and technology of the project. In the modern day, this practice has been largely supplanted by the popularization of Reddit, the self styled “Front Page of the Internet.” As the majority of internet denizens know, Reddit is a site comprised of myriad sub-board, each dedicated to a unique topic, ranging in specificity from cute animals[r/aww hyperlink] to photographing depictions of monks looking at beer found in users’ everyday lives. There’s an internet truism that’s arisen in the last decade that “if it exists, there is a sub for it.”
Blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies are included in the set of “things that exist” so, naturally, hundreds of subreddits have sprung up to serve as platforms upon which enthusiasts and traders alike can debate, discuss, and mislead each other on all things crypto. As cryptocurrency has entered mainstream consciousness, it is highly unusual to find an active project without a community hub established on the Reddit platform. To add another layer of communication vectors, subreddits often refer users to sister communities based in other social platforms like Discord and Telegram. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, with the general rule of thumb being that the faster the inter-user interaction is, the more difficult it is for content to be curated and disseminated.
The multithreaded format and upvote/downvote system inherent to Reddit allows important information rated as “high value” by the community to have top page visibility in a way that the chatroom style of Discord and Telegram interaction do not. Top rated posts in aggregation or generalist subreddits with heavy daily traffic, like r/Cryptocurrency, can garner incredibly large amounts of attention for a project or event. A single well received post on r/Cryptocurrency can catapult a young coin into the spotlight, pumping its price and causing an influx of interested users into its community.
With so many financially invested parties operating in relative anonymity, attempts to manipulate the visibility of projects are an ever-present threat. Reddit has rules forbidding the practice of “brigading,” a practice in which users from an outside community coordinate to strategically upvote posts furthering their interests and downvoting all others, regardless of content. These rules, and measures taken to detect infractions, are far from perfectly enforced. Manipulations are difficult to accurately detect until they run out of control. The ultimate solution that has been implemented in the past is a blanket ban on the discussion or mention of a particular subject or project. Such a hard line was taken with VeChain in March of this year, when moderators strictly prohibited any discussion of the coin on the r/Cryptocurrency subreddit and its associated Discord server for a month.
In the last two years, Reddit has become the dominant hub for the greater cryptocurrency community, boasting hundreds of thousands of users and thousands of crypto related posts a day. It’s easy to consider the platform a one stop shop for cryptospace information but, as with any large community of users with unconfirmable credentials and unclear motivations, it is critical to enter these communities with a healthy dose of skepticism. This skepticism is especially important when money is on the line. The sage advice that a seasoned crypto investor will often dispense is DYOR, Do Your Own Research. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet and ferreting out the truth often comes down to discerning context. This understanding is something you can only reach for yourself, relying on the financial advice of a faceless stranger on the internet instead of your own educated reasoning is setting yourself up for failure.
The /r/CryptoTraderNetwork subreddit was created with this problem in mind. The CTN is a gestalt of small, mindful communities dedicated to realistic speculation and honest discussion, with clear guidelines established to ensure things stay that way. The CTN is backed by no business or advertisement interests, touting itself as a community built to be a middle-ground for Redditors. The project is a young one, and is still establishing the branches of its network, but its mission statement and early progress are very promising. We here at XtraBYtes are happy to be a part of the network! If you’re interested in learning more about us, feel free to visit us on r/XtraBYtes!