Vitalik Buterin said “shame on bitcoin maximalists” who uncritically praise El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele.
Making businesses accept a specific coin goes against the “ideals of freedom” important to crypto, the ethereum co-founder said.
Pushing bitcoin to millions of people without educating them is “reckless” and could lead to scams, the crypto billionaire said.
The 27-year-old crypto billionaire criticized enthusiastic proponents of bitcoin who back the Salvadorean leader, in comments suggesting he doesn’t believe Bukele’s enthusiasm for enforcement should be applauded.
“Shame on everyone (ok, fine, I’ll call out the main people responsible: shame on Bitcoin maximalists) who are uncritically praising him,” Buterin said in a response to a Reddit post on Friday.
When bitcoin officially became legal tender in El Salvador on September 7, the government pushed its millions of citizens to use the official “Chivo” digital wallet, and forced businesses to accept the cryptocurrency as payment.
Buterin spoke up against these moves, alluding to the idea of cryptocurrencies as a government-free zone popular in the community.
“Making it mandatory for businesses to accept a specific cryptocurrency is contrary to the ideals of freedom that are supposed to be so important to the crypto space,” Buterin said.
“Additionally, this tactic of pushing BTC to millions of people in El Salvador at the same time with almost no attempt at prior education is reckless, and risks a large number of innocent people getting hacked or scammed.”
One Redditor speculated that Bukele bought bitcoin when it was cheaper, in hopes of scoring gains, as a countrywide adoption would make its value soar. But Buterin dismissed that theory as a “simpler and dumber hypothesis.”
“Both for political reasons and because he’s a human being like the rest of us, he just loves being praised by people he considers powerful (ie. Americans),” he wrote.
“Bitcoin maximalists are a very easy community to get to praise you: you just have to be in a position of power and do or say nice things about them and their coin.”
Another Redditor asked whether Buterin would have taken the same approach to ethereum maximalists, had Bukele chosen to make ether legal tender instead of bitcoin. The crypto’s cofounder responded with examples of when he had slammed usage of ethereum, with at least three different cases.
Bitcoin was last trading 2% higher at $56,440 per coin on Monday, and is up 94% so far this year, according to data from CoinDesk.
Read More: A 15-year fintech veteran-turned crypto trader explains why ethereum has a strong likelihood of outperforming bitcoin in the next 6 to 12 months – and shares how he mined helium and 40,000 dogecoins by accident
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