“A drunk tank for bitcoin and crypto-asset fanatics. This is how some users present r/Buttcoin, an active discussion channel since July 2011 on the Reddit community platform. A small, openly critical enclave on a web that regularly touts the benefits of cryptoassets and blockchain, this 137,000-member “subreddit” is one of the oldest watchdogs in the crypto-skeptical community. . On September 17, as the internet of blockchain communes around “The Merge”, Ethereum’s successful transition to a less energy-intensive protocol, “buttcoiners”, as they call themselves, rather like to poke fun at this excitement .

Sarcasm, cynicism and shitposting (pollution of online discussions with ironic or surly comments) are the cardinal points of the buttcoin culture. This online forum constantly seeks to feed its followers with comedy gold, absurd stories relating to dodgy crypto projects. Pro-cryptocurrency slogans such as “Have fun staying poor” or “Buy the dip” are also misused to mock the get-rich-quick culture. “Few understand”, an expression intended to refer to the technical shortcomings of neophytes, is also misused to mock the elitism of the technophile discourse of certain champions of cryptos.

Chroniclers of a frenzy around cryptoassets

The diversity of sources shared and the age of this channel also make it “one of the oldest sites devoted to bitcoin news”, likes u/border patrol, a member who helped launch the website. and associated community channels. Now inactive, Buttcoin.org went live in May 2011, following in the footsteps of another popular satirical site, Something Awful, when the very first pro-bitcoin outlet only began publishing in May 2012.

At that time, the frenzy around cryptoassets was just beginning. Some Reddit users, the majority of whom work in the IT and new technology industry, are watching this burgeoning with suspicion. As early as 2012, u/Killhamster, one of the channel’s co-founders and moderators, convinced himself that cryptoassets were a new opportunity for “old-school hustlers” and “get-rich-quick-obsessed libertarians.” “. For these skeptics, r/Buttcoin is a way to “chronicize the hacks, scams, and all the dumb rhetoric that accompanies the crypto-asset explosion.”

For David Gerard (u/davidgerard), crypto-critic and regular user since 2014, r/Buttcoin has become over time the collective memory of an industry that delights in a glorified vision of itself. “Bitcoin proponents never talk about the past, their talk is anchored in the eternal present or a promising future. We are here to remind them that their history is paved with repeated failures. »

Behind the taunts, real concerns

But r/Buttcoin is not just an antibitcoin dumpster. On the channel, exchanges between users also report serious concerns about the proliferation of scams, often Ponzi schemes, which are constantly claiming more victims. Recently, the news of the issuance of an arrest warrant against Do Kwon, Korean engineer behind the crash of the Terraform Labs ecosystem and its flagship tokens, Luna and TerraUSD, showed the different facets of this community. When some saw it as an opportunity for shitposting, others were delighted to see justice take hold of a case that led to thousands of small holders losing all of their savings.

Can we laugh at everything and everyone on r/Buttcoin? “Hideous profiteers, yes. Victims in themselves, no, “answers to World David Gerard. In fact, the discussions often oscillate between sarcasm and frank consternation. This is the whole ambivalence of this channel. Last May, a user reported the suicide attempt of one of his colleagues who bet everything on the Luna token. In response, the “buttcoiners” were able to show respect and concern.

Today, r/Buttcoin claims to be one of the few spaces where criticism of the crypto-asset industry can flourish freely and independently, without risking censorship or banishment. “Specialized subreddits, such as r/bitcoin or r/cryptocurrencies, do not tolerate divergent opinions or bearers of bad news who are very quickly accused of FUD, a way of destabilizing the market”, points out Karl, a French user, member of the channel since 2013. Lately the Reddit channel has grown to several thousand members. “It even welcomes repentant investors or confused people who seek advice,” notes u/Hsybdocate, a user living in Quebec. Some have decided to turn the page on cryptos and announced it on the forum. The “buttcoiners” are convinced of this, their chat channel is “useful”. It would even “save” some people.