Many of the centralized cryptocurrency platforms that failed this year had one thing in common: a leader who was young, outspoken, and cocky. Each achieved outsized influence not through superior intellect or talent but through large sums of money and large Twitter followings. And each time, misplaced confidence in their abilities had disastrous consequences.

If crypto is to avoid similar disasters in the future, we must reorganize our leadership priorities. 

Twitter's cryptocurrency theater

Before FTX went bankrupt, founder Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) was known as one of the industry's most outspoken figures. He was politically active and frequently commented on what was going on in Web3.

But perhaps most notable was his active participation in a slew of Twitter feuds and spectacles. SBF rose to prominence as the project's replacement after Chef Nomi abruptly dropped out — a drama that unfolded almost entirely on Twitter's public stage. His subsequent Twitter antics, combined with FTX's image of unstoppable success, earned him over a million followers.

Even as SBF's influence grew, it seemed he couldn't stop posting and engaging with other Twitter users who throw rocks on a regular basis.

Indeed, SBF's penchant for Twitter drama was crucial in exposing insolvency. His recent spat with CZ was the catalyst for the run on FTX's deposits. His eye-catching antics continued throughout the ordeal, resulting in a bizarre series of random tweets.

The most audible voices in the room

While SBF is the most recent example of an industry figure whose highly visible Twitter presence resulted in a highly visible downfall, he is far from the first. Both Do Kwon and Su Zu, who were at the center of massive collapses earlier this year, were notorious trolls. Do Kwon famously sent an arrogant series of tweets just before Terra's demise, and Su Zhu's notoriously evasive comments during the 2021 bull run didn't age well either.

However, failed platform leaders aren't the ones who engage in social media braggadocio. After all, Binance's CZ was just as responsible as SBF for their public Twitter feud earlier this month.

Many more tweeters have used online spectacle and trolling to exert control over the industry conversation. Consider Ben Armstrong (aka "Bitboy") and Jim Cramer, to name a few. They've gathered a small army. And, while many are purged in each bear market, their successors are progressively becoming powerhouses in the space, too vocal and influential to ignore.

Rather than focusing on personality cults, the crypto community should concentrate on platforms and leaders who create products that use web3 primitives to solve problems orders of magnitude better than we've ever seen before. The crypto community must stop listening to the loudest voices and begin paying attention to the wiser, more experienced players — even if they are sometimes quieter. Likewise, we need more builders with experience creating real value for users to speak up.

Finally, the answer lies with the people we choose to idolize as an industry and us. We need to learn how to recognize and support builders who are creating transparent, secure, high-quality, and decentralized applications — regardless of their number of followers.

So, what's the answer? How can we better recognize this personality type and use that knowledge to avoid future misery? 

*The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Defi Decomplicated.*

Nov 30, 2022
Digital Lifestyle

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