Overall, social media has helped cryptocurrency and blockchain technology grow. Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter allow for open, honest and clear discussion about cryptocurrencies and also give users a platform through which they can learn from each other and collaborate. As a result, social media is generally leading a charge for the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrency thanks to it’s liberal and open nature.
A drawback to this however is that because social media is so open and often anonymous, it is used as a platform to share hate and to create challenges to others. Various social networks are used to streamline abuse to individuals through trolling and hate campaigns designed to make some people uncomfortable. This can happen with or without reason, and it’s driving blockchain developers underground.
In order to ensure true transparency, it’s easy to find blockchain developers on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter because they have links to their networks on the website of the crypto-company that they represent. This is good, because it’s democratic, however it also exposes the developers to a point of contact, which means if the community aren’t happy with something they say or do (even honest mistakes) they are susceptible to a lot of abuse and ‘hate’. According to new reports, this sort of thing is starting to get out of hand and we are now seeing several blockchain developers take themselves off social media altogether, in a bid to protect themselves from online trolls.
According to Coindesk, Afri Schoedon, an Ethereum blockchain developer is the latest to announce their retirement from social media as a result of an onslaught of unfair communications from people within the Ethereum community. Schoedon took to Twitter (ironically) to state that they will:
“No longer respond on Gitter, Skype, Discord, Slack, Wire, Twitter and Reddit.”
Hudson Jameson, the community relations manager at the Ethereum Foundation bounced back in defence of Schoedon, saying that:
“I’m so angry and disappointed in the Ethereum community. You ran out one of our best contributors for the dumbest reasons. More people should have spoken up in support and there needs to be less vitriol.”
What needs to be done here?
Trolls and people displaying threatening behaviour should be held more accountable for their actions online in order to ensure the safety and security of more prolific people within the industry on social media. Yes, mistakes happen, but as members of the same community, we should be helping developers learn from their mistakes in order to help fix them, not make it worse for them.