Jordan Peterson’s Intellectual Dark Web are Bitcoin Maximalists: Fees Will Change That

Last year when Patreon decided to excise the account of conservative public figures, it triggered a chain of events that ultimately the ‘Intellectual Dark Web’ on the road to Bitcoin.

Within weeks of Sargon of Akkad’s abrupt removal from the donation service, Jordan Peterson and Dave Rubin exited in protest. The intellectual dark web (IDW) members then set up Bitcoin wallets to receive donations directly, free from the arbitrary whims of a politically motivated overseer.

But six months on from Peterson and Co’s adoption of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin remains the only coin they accept. Is that because Peterson and Rubin elected to become Bitcoin maximalists? Or is it a basic reflection of the giant familiarity gap between Bitcoin and the 2,000+ other altcoins?

Either way, the IDW might want to consider broadening their crypto horizons. In the months since Peterson and Rubin began accepting BTC, transaction fees have skyrocketed 2,626%.

Bitcoin Has Little Utility as a Donation Tool

If the aim is to receive donations, then Bitcoin simply isn’t the best tool for that right now. The average BTC transaction fee peaked at $5.78 a few days ago on June 3rd. That’s 2,626% more than the fees of $0.21 when the IDW launched their Bitcoin addresses at the turn of the year.

bitcoin fees
Since Bitcoin’s adoption by the intellectual dark web, network fees have risen 2,626%

Proponents of the current Bitcoin direction argue BTC is supposed to be a store of value – not an everyday transactional currency. Yet that’s in direct opposition to the title of the Bitcoin whitepaper: “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”

For much of the past week, if a person wanted to donate $10 to Jordan Peterson or Dave Rubin, they’d instantly lose more than half that sum to network fees.

Average BTC fees haven’t been lower than $1 since April. For people donating what little they can to support causes they believe in, these fees matter. Under these conditions, would a BTC holder bother sending a crypto donation, even if they agreed with the cause?

Under these conditions, Bitcoin’s promise as an alternative to bloated financial institutions seems highly speculative at best.

Enter the Altcoins: Low Fee Alternatives to BTC

Not only are there other cryptocurrencies capable of doing Bitcoin’s job, many of them share the same codebase. Coins which have hardforked from the Bitcoin blockchain are often viewed with suspicion. Yet the average person doesn’t realise that hardforks are a natural part of blockchain’s democratic processes.

When Litecoin (LTC) forked from Bitcoin in 2011, it was because creator Charlie Lee wanted an increase to transaction times. When Bitcoin Cash (BCH) forked in 2017, it was because the community was split over technical and philosophical disagreements.

Both Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash have substantially lower fees than Bitcoin. Taking the same data from Bitinfocharts above, we see that LTC fees averaged around $0.06 for the past month. In the same time period BCH fees averaged less than one cent, breaking the $0.01 barrier only once.

crypto fees


Other major altcoins such as Ethereum and XRP are also substantially cheaper to use than BTC, to varying degrees. XRP fees rarely breach $0.001, while ETH fees have averaged around $0.15 for the past month.

In Defence of the Accused

One thing that Bitcoin does have going for it is size, security and brand recognition. But the busier it gets the more expensive it becomes. That’s why fees have skyrocketed since the turn of the year, when Bitcoin restarted its ascension and gained popularity once more.

The hashpower backing up BTC’s blockchain means it’s the most secure cryptocurrency in the world. And that’s not to be sniffed at when you’re a world renowned academic with more things to worry about than the block size debate.

However, it cannot be stated more plainly than this: Bitcoin’s fees render it useless as a donation tool. My message to the intellectual dark web: expand your crypto portfolio.

I’m not asking you to buy into the cryptocurrency religion. Cryptocurrencies are tools: pick the right ones for the job.

Disclaimer: The author owns Bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Greg Thomson is a freelance writer who contributes to leading cryptocurrency and blockchain publications like CCN, Hacked, and others.