Many centralized cryptocurrency platforms that have collapsed this year had one thing in common: a young, outspoken, and arrogant leader. Each has gained outsized influence not because of outsized intellect or talent, but because of their stacks of cash and large Twitter followings. And each time, misplaced confidence in their abilities has led to disastrous consequences.
If crypto is to avoid similar disasters in the future, it’s time for us to revamp our leadership priorities. We must abandon personality cults.
Crypto Theater on Twitter
Prior to FTX’s collapse, founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) had earned a reputation as one of the loudest voices in the industry. He was active in the political world and frequently commented on what was happening on the Web3.
But perhaps most notable was his active involvement in myriad Twitter feuds and shows. SBF first emerged into the limelight as the successor to SushiSwap after Chef Nomi abruptly dropped the project – a drama that unfolded almost entirely in the public Twitter arena. His ensuing Twitter antics, combined with the image of an unstoppable success that FTX was spreading everywhere, earned him over a million followers.
But even as SBF’s influence grew, it seemed he just couldn’t resist the shitposting, regularly engaging with fellow rock-throwing Twitter users.
Indeed, SBF’s penchant for drama on Twitter played a significant role in exposing FTX’s insolvency. It was his recent spat with CZ that ultimately led to FTX’s deposit rush. His gripping antics continued throughout the current ordeal, culminating in a strange series of cryptic tweets.
The loudest voices in the room
While SBF is the latest example of an industry figure whose very public presence on Twitter has led to a very public downfall, he’s certainly not the first. Do Kwon and Su Zu, who were both at the center of monumental meltdowns earlier this year, were also notorious trolls. Do Kwon infamously sent out a series of cocky tweets just before Terra fell, while Su Zhu’s infamously elusive comments during the 2021 bull run haven’t aged well either.
In our offsite business this week with all the drama going on. Debating who is the biggest bad guy in crypto:
a) Do Kwon – $58 billion loss from UST & LUNA
b) SBF – $10 billion missing deposits in FTX
c) Su Zhu – Loss of $3.5 billion from borrowers
d) Alex Mashinsky – Missing $2.8 Billion Celsius Deposits
— Bobby Ong (@bobbyong) November 10, 2022
But the leaders of the failing platforms aren’t the only culprits of social media bluster. Binance’s CZ, after all, was just as guilty as SBF for engaging in their public Twitter feud earlier this month. Digital Currency Group’s Barry Silbert, who has been at the center of the FTX fallout alarm, has also gained a reputation as a shitposter.
There are many, many more tweeters who have used online spectacle and trolling as a way to control the industry conversation. Think Ben Armstrong (aka “Bitboy”) and Jim Cramer, to name a few others. There is a small army of them. And, though many are purged in each bear markettheir successors are increasingly turning into powers too loud and influential to ignore in space.
Jim Cramer said he sold all his cryptos.
Then he accused @APompliano to “put it in” BlockFi.
So he… lied?
Now he’s on a crusade to blame everyone he can find for his own bad decisions, even the “digital finance people,” which is literally a made-up term. https://t.co/NTojFohvFQ
– The wolf of all the streets (@scottmelker) November 18, 2022
We must put an end to personality cults
So what is the solution ? How can we better identify this personality type and use this recognition to avoid future pain?
Instead of focusing on creating cults of personality, the crypto community needs to focus on platforms and leaders who create products that use Web3 primitives to solve problems in a way that’s far better than everything we’ve known before. The crypto community needs to stop listening to the loudest voices in the room and start listening to the wisest and most experienced, even if they are sometimes quieter. And at the same time, we need builders who are experienced in creating real value so that users can express themselves more.
Ultimately, the answer is up to us and the people we as an industry choose to brag about. We need to learn how to identify and help builders build transparent, secure, high-quality apps and decentralized apps, regardless of their number of subscribers.
Corey Wilton is the co-founder and CEO of Mirai Labs, the international game studio behind Pegaxy. A renowned speaker and Play-to-Win thought leader, he launched his first crypto venture in 2018, a customer support service designed to help cryptocurrency businesses with their customer service.
This article is for general informational purposes and is not intended to be and should not be considered legal or investment advice. The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.