Ads for blockchain, NFTs and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin seem to be everywhere. Crypto technologies are being promoted as a replacement for banks; a new way to buy art; the next big investment opportunity, and an essential part of the metaverse.
As a cybersecurity and social media researcher, I’ve found that behind the hype is an ideology about social change: Hardcore enthusiasts argue that crypto will get people to trust in technology rather than government, which they see as inherently untrustworthy. This ideology leads people to encourage its use while downplaying its risks.
The true believers
My colleagues and I studied almost three months of discussions on Reddit forums about cryptocurrencies to try to understand how people talk about crypto and Bitcoin. The loudest voices on the forum were a group of crypto enthusiasts who called themselves “True Bitcoiners.” Unlike…