Confirmation bias and Bitcoin

A week ago I did an interview with Adam and Stephanie over at Let’s Talk Bitcoin.  The interview was actually done ad hoc as we were supposed to interview someone else entirely but due to a scheduling issue at the last moment, he did not arrive.  Instead, Adam asked me what I was working on, I started talking, he started recording, Stephanie asked some follow-up questions and one thing led to another:

This interview was not planned and as a consequence I wrote a lengthier follow-up that explains more of these issues in detail including data from the blockchain:  A Marginal Economy versus a Growth Economy

And again, I’m not anti-Bitcoin, but a lot of the “facts” that some advocates say about how many bitcoin users there are — most of which are widely exaggerated —  and this will not help data-driven companies who are on the fence of adopting the protocol.  At some point these same companies will figure out that adoption rates are actually relatively low, so might as well be upfront about it.  In addition, I think many of these challenges are surmountable, especially the technical ones.  Lastly, I like the tech, I still go to meet-ups and start-up presentations on a weekly basis to meet more in this space too.  And, I could also be incorrect.

I have also begun receiving some messages and mail.  The one below is one I received from Bob moments ago:

I was going to tweet but I chose to go private.

I had to stop listening to the show because I just couldnt believe the nonesense that was coming out of your mouth. I was cringing because I know you are actually very intelligent. You sounded like a daft fundamentalist politician from the deep south. You make sweeping value judgements, logical fallacies and aspersions. If you continue on like this, no-one will take you seriously. I’m frankly stunned – you know what it sounded like? Like someone arguing the earth is flat and that the sun revolves the earth.

I don’t care if you dont drink the koolaid, dont invest or hodl (sic) bitcoins, but you have to stop talking nonesense or you will end up branded the next Professor Bitcorn

I’m going to promptly forget I ever listened to that because I usually find your writings intelligent and well thought out.

It is fine to disagree with me, in fact, my skeptical views are held by a mere a small minority.  However, the blockchain is public and the data reinforces all of the claims in the interview which I later in A Marginal Economy versus a Growth Economy.  And in terms of what Bob is looking for — someone to confirm his Bitcoin-to-the-moon views —  this just creates an echo chamber, a confirmation bias that happens a lot in ideologically driven organizations.  This technology is open-sourced and institutions will likely just cobble together the parts that provide utility to them and not drink the kool-aid, just as they did with the F/OSS community in the mid to late 90s.

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