We seldom have a boring day in crypto, and this Friday the 13th has been quite interesting. No Voorhees has come out to slash the body parts of horny teenagers, but an interesting hashtag appeared out of nowhere: #LookAtMeImNaval.
At the avant-garde of this movement you could find three of the Magical Crypto Friends (Whale Panda, FluffyPony, and Excellion), BTC maximalist John Carvalho, and plenty of other Bitcoin fans who were either triggered by the “free rider” statement of AngelList co-founder and blockchain investor Naval Ravikant.
More precisely, on July 1st, Mr. Ravikant tweeted that solid cryptocurrencies and tokenized decentralized applications (dApps) can coexist and become successful together.
It’s possible that both censorship-resistant sound money and permissionlessly-programmable computing platforms are going to be huge.
— Naval (@naval) July 1, 2018
While this looks like common sense and an idea that manages to blend in both the Bitcoin maximalist aspirations and the hopes of decentralized applications for various purposes, the exchange of comments that followed led to a slightly controversial statement in regards to maximalists who simply HODL their coins without participating to the process of validating transactions or mining coins.
Bitcoin maximalism ignores developer incentives and the free rider problem. And incentives are the most powerful force in human society.
— Naval (@naval) July 1, 2018
Bringing Out Inner Trolls
Presumably, though the reason was not confirmed and this is pure speculation, it was this reference of the free rider problem which triggered the maximalists and brought out their inner trolls.
And it took 12 days until a hashtag campaign called #LookAtMeImNaval started. According to Twitter’s chronological sorting, it was actually John Carvalho (you know, the guy who said “Bcash” so often that he angered Roger Ver to the point that Bitcoin Jesus himself flipped the bird and rage quit) who made the first post using this obscure hashtag. The maximalist wrote a short piece of wisdom that’s equally inspired by classical liberal philosophy, the tradition of Confucius, and Naval Ravikant’s tweeting style.
Freedom ends where the bullet begins. #LookAtMeImNaval
— John Carvalho (@BitcoinErrorLog) July 13, 2018
This particular post is weird and seems as if it came out of nowhere, but soon enough other BTC advocates jumped the comedic ship of mocking the angel investor’s rhetorics. While the entire movement seems to be a rather mean-spirited attack, everybody involved took it rather lightly and capitalized on the opportunity of exercising their inner motivational speaker.
The second big account to embrace the hashtag belongs to Vortex, the host of the Bitcoin show on World Crypto Net. But instead of referring to freedom aspirations, he chose to provide a clear definition of success.
To be successful one must first have success. #LookAtMeImNaval
— Vortex [Not giving away crypto] (@theonevortex) July 13, 2018
Software engineer Medium Squeeze (aka Ride The Lightning), who takes pride in having been around the Bitcoin scene since 2012, has further apropriated the tweeting style in order to remind CryptoTwitter about the importance of conquering your own fears.
Before you conquer your fears, you must first allow your fears to conquer you. #LookAtMeImNaval
— RideTheLightning⚡️ (@MediumSqueeze) July 13, 2018
The hashtag didn’t get mainstream adoption until an hour later, when the adorable FluffyPony (possibly intoxicated by yet another bottle of fine wine he drank while wearing a Lambo-priced watch) picked up the humorous movement and decided to speak about greatness in entrepreneurship.
To be a truly great entrepreneur you must first embrace your own greatness. #LookAtMeImNaval
— Riccardo Spagni (@fluffypony) July 13, 2018
Minutes later, what started as a small movement turned into a bona fide competition of wisdom. All Magical Crypto Friends, with the exception of the more considerate and moderate Chikun who chose to stay away from this kind of trolling, embraced the hashtag in order to make their best impression of Naval Ravikant. The Belgian bitcoinist WhalePanda, who unlike the corporate suits is wise, has chosen to lecture us all on the key steps towards learning mathematics.
The first step to mastering math is learning how to count. #LookAtMeImNaval
— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) July 13, 2018
Just to prove to every big blockhead on CryptoTwitter that this is part of the occult Blockstream propaganda, Excellion, Blockstream’s CSO Samson Mow, decided to manifest his kingship over the animal kingdom. However, his topic of choice had nothing to do with explaining why the Lightning Network is an excellent scaling solution for Bitcoin or shilling Blockstream merchandise. Instead, the lion decided to show us his heart by reminding us all about what should and what shouldn’t be decentralized.
Decentralize your blockchain, but centralize your loved ones. #LookAtMeImNaval
— Samson Mow (@Excellion) July 13, 2018
It wasn’t long until clueless douchebags emerged and took swings without knowing exactly what they were getting into, while searching for loud lulz and validation from strangers. Some of them even went as far as putting their BTC addresses into the tweets as a reminder that this space is greedy. Pretty pathetic, isn’t it?
The essence of charity is to be charitable 339CDL8rGTx5zGki9SYY8tDejEwWvsRknB#LookAtMeImNaval
— Vlad Costea ⚡️ (@TheVladCostea) July 13, 2018
What should we make out of this?
This Friday the 13th, we have all been reminded that CryptoTwitter is weird. Sometimes people get offended for the most irrational reasons, and then exchange jabs that can never exceed 280 characters. In order to explain the phenomenon, I shall refer to what I like to call “the pressure valve theory”: sometimes people get tense and need to slightly offend each other just to be able to take out all the negativity and move on with their lives knowing that they’ve expressed their feelings.
Furthermore, all of this seemed as light-hearted as a Comedy Central episode of “The Roast Of…”, except that the jokes only referred to the tweeting style of Naval Ravikant. So in context, it was like a long series of bad impersonations done within the safety of an irrational circlejerk. Mocking someone’s style isn’t a personal offsense, but rather an acknowledgement of a unique personality that stands out from the rest. If any of the people who tweeted with the #LookAtMeImNaval hashtag did it in bad faith, then I shall present my apologies for misunderstanding the whole movement.
Many people ask me what I studied at university. I tell them: “life”. #LookAtMeImNaval
— Riccardo Spagni (@fluffypony) July 13, 2018
At best, this was just as mature as middleschool name-calling. It’s mean, but not in the way that it’s mean to offend. It’s just a way for people to have fun by laughing at each other. Whether they like it or not, those who mocked @Naval lack the same distinct style and consistency – so anyone trying to imitate Samson Mow would be less successful just because his tweets are more related to specific topics and less philosophical.
The beauty of CryptoTwitter is that most participants are highly educated and always seem to have interesting points to make, but very few take themselves too seriously and can easily engage in funny exchanges. Being able to laugh at yourself is a virtue that only the most brilliant minds and most brave of characters possess .