Why does cryptocurrency spread like a virus?

Why do people want to be extremists? Why can't they socially support technology-driven social well-being or socially support cryptocurrencies in general? The nature of large sports tells us that a follower of a large sport cannot be a follower of another. And large sports are the winners. This is consistent with the situation in cryptocurrencies – the largest cryptocurrency exchange is also in the winner's position.

A gang will naturally form around the cryptocurrency. In order to attract new members (usually from the gangs they compete with), the true believers in these gangs are engaged in anxious competition. They know that increasing their membership (ie adding the most important, true believers) will increase the likelihood that their cryptocurrency will win.

These gangs are everywhere in places where members of the encryption world often appear, such as Twitter, Reddit, and Discord, where they often pull others into their cryptocurrency camp. There is an English vocabulary called Maximalist, which is used to describe this type of behavior and label the group. (Translator's Note: According to the literal meaning, Maximalist should be translated as "extremely multi-ethnic", but in order to facilitate the understanding of Chinese readers, it seems better to translate "extremists".) I have always criticized such behavior because it is right Others are not kind. Fred Wilson recently complained about the extremist behavior of cryptocurrencies, he said:

"If someone wants to believe in one thing, we should understand and appreciate it. But if this conviction leads to hatred, filth and ridicule, we should reject it. We should call for it to return to normal. And refused to accept this."

I agree that hatred, filth and ridicule are bad. We should call for it to return to normal. But from the standpoint of extremists, I expect more extremists to emerge. If you hold a cryptocurrency and want it to succeed, obviously you want more people to hold it like you. Being a prominent extremist can make this idea happen.

The following is a study entitled "Friendship Paradox and Systematic Prejudice in Perception and Social Norms" (2016), which presents a theory that explains why as a conspicuous extremist may be more than people imagine Better.

For most people, their friends always have more friends than them. This is called the "friendship paradox." Why is this paradox? Obviously, people with more friends have a greater chance of being observed by people in his circles. Suppose a person has 1000 friends, he will dangle in front of the 1000 people, and give him 1000 friends a feeling: my friends are really wide. Suppose a person has no friends, because no one is his friend, so he is no longer in sight of anyone, and no one will classify him as a "friends less than me" collection.

For an intuitive understanding of this theory, take a look at the picture below. The picture data comes from James Coleman's 1961 study on the friendship of middle school students. The above nodes represent girls, while the connections indicate that they have mutual friends. The first number that each girl is labeled represents the number of friends she has, and the second number represents the average number of friends her friends have. Take the girl in the lower left corner as an example. The figures show that she has two friends, and each of these friends has two and five friends, the average of the latter two is 3.5. As can be seen from the figure, except for a few particularly active social elements, for the vast majority of people, the average number of friends of their friends is higher than the number of their friends.

The picture shows why your friend may have more friends than you.

This phenomenon leads people to believe that a particular behavior is more common than it actually is. It creates a reality distortion that encourages the emergence of more such behaviors (finding friends). This ultimately creates a feedback loop. Let's consider this phenomenon with the scene of Twitter's followers.

1. An ordinary Twitter user, Steve, found that the vast majority of users he cares about have more followers than him;

2. Steve believes that his number of followers is below average;

3. Steve is more involved and using Twitter, which drives his followers to do the same;

4. This in turn drives more users to participate.

This is a feedback loop that leads more people to participate in Twitter. In fact, the authors of the above survey emphasized that friendship paradoxes will be amplified by social media.

A study of Twitter behavior by Hodas, Kooti and Leman in 2013 showed that more than 98% of Twitter users have more followers than they are concerned about. Fewer people: Usually, a user has 1000% more "friends" than their followers. Given the growing number of social media users, especially younger users, the fact that a handful of the most popular users are exposed to extreme exposure is becoming overwhelming.

Due to the accumulation of previous research work, researchers such as Hordas have already understood the feedback loop. But these researchers want to know more connected inividuals—for example, people with more friends, whether they behave differently than individuals with weaker connections.

They found that more connected individuals were more likely to be affected by the behavior they saw in social networks, and if they would benefit from similar behavior, they would actively connect with more people. And these natural individual behaviors affect the overall behavior.

The researchers summed up their findings like this:

There are two basic forces at work. The first is that people with the most contacts are the easiest to interact with others, so their behavior is most affected in any environment where the strategy complements (or replaces). Second, if people have different preferences for an activity, then the person who benefits the most from the activity has the most relationships.

Those with more contacts are more likely to show such behavior. People who like this behavior are more likely to find more contacts. These two forces have made more people pay attention to this behavior, and actually enhance their universality.

They use the example of adolescent drinking to prove this argument:

Because adolescent drinking (or mass drinking) is part of social activities, teenagers who spend more time socializing with others have more reasons to start drinking when they are younger, and are more likely to be those who drink earlier. As a result, students who are often seen as friends by others are more likely to drink alcohol, which leads to sample bias and prejudice, which is consistent with the data, which is fed back to other students and makes the whole more biased towards drinking.

Just like people who have friends (or people who like to drink), when more people have friends or drink, people with cryptocurrency like other people to have the same cryptocurrency.

This is the "extremist paradox":

1. The more connected people are, the more likely they are to support extremism, because the latter is obvious to them;

2. Extremists look for more contacts because the increase in extremist behavior is contrary to extremists;

3. Increased perceived extremist behavior;

4. Lead to an increase in de facto extremist behavior.

Why do people have to be extremists? Why can't they socially support technology-driven social well-being or socially support cryptocurrencies in general? The nature of large sports tells us that a follower of a large sport cannot be a follower of another. And large sports are the winners. This is consistent with the situation in cryptocurrencies – the largest cryptocurrency exchange is also in the winner's position.

In short, extremists exist, and their existence may be better than what extremists think.

In our globalized world, buying cryptocurrencies is a social act like drinking. The natural motivation for people to buy cryptocurrencies is to connect with more people, which makes ordinary people feel that more people buy cryptocurrencies, which in turn leads to more purchases of cryptocurrencies.

In other words, this "virus" is spreading.

Note: The extremist (Maximalist) is a tentative name, and its ruin may mean too much. This is not my intention. If there is a better name suggestion, please let me know!


Author: Tony Sheng

Translator: Wang Zelong, Diana