Bitcoin Maximalism Cost Pantera Capital Founder a Chance on Ethereum


In the world of cryptocurrencies there is a lot of tribalism and preferences for different coins and projects. This was well highlighted in the so-called civil war between those who stuck with the original Bitcoin, and those who went with Bitcoin Cash — and that even caused another divide. 

The original Bitcoin soon spawned an ecosystem of other coins, and all of these coins have birthed their own, partisan, community which means they are quick to turn on other coins that do not suit them. Mostly this tribalism is aimed at altcoins, and not so much at Bitcoin, but there is something known as Bitcoin Maximalism which is not seen as being too detrimental to a person;s perception. 

However, Dr. Steven Waterhouse, a founding partner of Pantera Capital, says that his biggest regret as a VC is not investing in the Ethereum Initial Coin Offering because of his Bitcoin maximalism.

Not good advice to be a maximalist.

Waterhouse said, in response to a question on his biggest mistake as a venture capitalist, his response was — Ethereum. He had the opportunity to invest in its ICO, but his proximity to the Bitcoin core team marred his judgement:

“And I wouldn’t say we were Bitcoin maximalists, but it was just kind of like, oh, it feels like maybe these guys on the Bitcoin side might figure this one out. And this kind of anarchistic guys doing the crowd sale, is not really going to work out? So we were close enough to have exposure. But we didn’t do it. That was a mistake,” he said

Waterhouse did learn from his mistake, however. A couple of years later, the ICO market was booming with various ERC20 token offerings. Ethereum maximalists advised Waterhouse not to invest in these new projects:

“And then I was cautioned by my Ethereum maximalists friends that these ERC20 things weren’t going to go anywhere. You just need to use Ethereum. And I was like “I don’t know, maybe something’s in this.” And I just remember the lessons of missing on Ethereum. And so I dove into it more and concluded that I thought it was potential that it was on the right way.”

Ethereum at the moment is in a strange place at the moment as it is a position where it is looking to make a big change but there have been various delays and issues.

“I still believe in decentralized smart counteract platforms, and I think that Ethereum is still a leading example of that from a development standpoint. If you have been to DevCon versus any of the other developer conferences. You’ll see in person what I mean. There are orders of magnitude more developers working on Ethereum,” Waterhouse added. 

Darryn Pollock
Darryn has been interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space since he heard about Bitcoin in 2015. He then decided to use his journalism degree to report on this fascinating fintech space in 2016, and has not looked back since.

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