Comments made 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
“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 was originally conceived as an anarchist proposition, but which is currently struggling to “go mainstream” and become relevant for average citizens.
Other pro-Bitcoin and pro-crypto pundits also weighed in on Cuban’s remarks.
Computer scientist and legal scholar 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.”
Practicality often seems to take a back seat to technical myopia and ideology in Bitcoin and crypto, as Unix systems administrator and author David Gerard points out in his essay, “Debunking ‘But Bitcoin is like the early Internet!’”
In this passage, Gerard talks about two early iterations of anarcho/libertarian systems on the Internet before eluding to a comparison between Bitcoin and traditional payments systems:
“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.”