Why Tribalism in Crypto Could Hold Us All Back

Why Tribalism in Crypto Could Hold Us All Back

The passionate communities of the crypto space are one of its shining lights – but coupled with that passion is often a faultlessly loyal, one-above-all mindset. Rob explains how fervour doesn’t have to, and cannot, equal division.


Crypto has one of the most impassioned and warm communities I’ve ever been a part of. It is, of course, housing some miscreants and beacons of hostility, but for the most part, it is welcoming and positive. It’s refreshing really, in a time where it feels as if toxicity has engulfed much of the internet.

That said, crypto is not without its flaws and one is based in the very community I hold in such high regard. It’s a breed of linear thinking that if not corrected, will weigh down on the industry’s progress, hamstringing innovation. I’m talking of tribalism in blockchain.

This is a subject I’ve soapboxed about for 4 years on a monthly basis, in articles, on the podcast, and in private. It’s a blight that too many people inflict upon themselves and its damage is far-reaching.

Multi-Chain Support is Not Cognitive Dissonance

In 2018, I made my first investments in blockchain; one was in Enjin and one was in WAX.

These two chains are considered competitors, and many of the investors, influential community members, and even the occasional employee, will throw stones at whichever of the two they aren’t invested in.

These two chains are pioneering, early developers of gaming-centric blockchains. That is, they have broadly the same vision: blockchain can and will revolutionize gaming.

I was once on a call with a senior figure at another blockchain I won’t name, but they’re also a top 100 coin. Whilst discussing some of this person’s points of excitement for the future, I mentioned the functionality of another chain and how well they had achieved it too. This person instantly fired back with light-hearted but genuine derision; the chain I’d mentioned is far inferior.

Is it? I gently pushed the topic more, supporting my argument, to which this person replied “to be honest, I don’t know anything about them.”

Here lies the problem. Somebody senior in the space, highly experienced, passionate about blockchain’s role in a better future, had tunnel vision, for what? Loyalty? Imagine the opportunities to be missed with this kind of linear thinking. Imagine the inaccuracies in self-reflection. I am the most attractive man on earth if I never look at another human.

I’m not blind as to why rivalry forms. I realize that McDonald’s and Burger King’s board members are unlikely to be going on team-building holidays together. I also realize that competition is inevitable, and McDonald’s success leads to Burger King’s strife.

But, we’re not discussing opposing companies battling over the same piece of the pie. Two blockchains with similar aspirations can happily co-exist and enrich each other’s ecosystems through collaboration, rather than diminish them.

Not only can they enrich each other by collaboration, they ought to – it will be central to much of the crypto world, NFTs and blockchain gaming, in particular, going forward.

Blockchain Interoperability Will Be Foundational to the Space

In 2021, a lot changed in the blockchain gaming space. For the first time, it came to the forefront and garnered the attention of major studios and mainstream media.

As we neared the end of last year, the term “interoperability” became in vogue. This refers to the ability of a blockchain to interact with one or more other blockchains, typically through bridges or similar means.

In fact, many NFT collections and blockchain games have started to broaden their scopes. One of the leading games of 2021, Splinterlands, is on WAX and Hive, for instance. Similarly, Crazy Defense Heroes is ETH and Polygon, DeFi Kingdoms is Harmony and AVAX, and of course Alien Worlds is on WAX and BSC.

The last example, Alien Worlds, utilizes WAX and BSC, no doubt in part due to the bridge being built between the two and the relationship the two chains have formed.

This relationship could have raised eyebrows given WAX and BSC have been the two primary chains fighting over DappRadar’s gaming charts dominance. Instead, they announced a portal between the two, and a cross-chain game, Blockchain Brawlers, released yesterday on 30th March, 2022.

This sort of interaction between chains must be encouraged and tribal thinking is entirely undesirable. Blockchain games, in particular, stand to gain a lot from multiple chains, not least because it opens projects up to a larger potential player base – though this problem goes a way to solving itself with the removal of tribalism!

Blockchains ought to focus on their niche, their products, and what they bring to the space, but trying to fence themselves off from the wider crypto community is short-sighted.

The Community’s Role Going Forwards

When it comes to NFTs and blockchain games, maximalism doesn’t make much sense.

For a digital currency, I’m sure you could argue that Bitcoin maximalism is the right stance, but when it comes to the plethora of utility that blockchain provides outside of money, we want widespread innovation.

To hold that only one blockchain should run all games is flawed in numerous ways, from current technological limitations through to a psychological level. Whilst in theory, one chain to rule them all might be best, it’s almost certainly never going to happen – and I don’t believe we want it to, either.

If capitalism has taught us anything, it’s that a monopoly is not in the best interests of the end user.

As a community, passionate and enthused as we are, we must move on from this “my chain’s going to the moon, your chain’s a scam” mindset.

Diversify your interest and support, dip a toe in other waters, and revel in the sunshine of chain-agnosticism. Back networks based on merit as opposed to loyalty and the desire for ludicrous gains from the chain you got into early.

We’re at the start of something big and I want us, the community, to continue to be a positive feature of this fledgling industry, rather than an anchor through antiquated thinking.

Robert Baggs
Full-time professional crypto writer and Editor of Token Gamer. Obsessed with MMOs. London based. Once ate lobster with Lionel Richie.
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