This is a detailed proposal I planned to have put up for vote on Politeia. But was told it would need a more detailed plan of execution (budget, marketing, devs etc) which is beyond my expertise. I invite everyone in the DCR community to read it and contribute to make it a reality. Intro:
Warm greetings to everyone! I am a DCR supporter with a background in law and media. For years I was a news reporter in one of China's largest television networks, during that time I have accumulated a solid understanding of mass communication and presentation.
I fell down the Bitcoin rabbit hole in 2017 and has not look back since. But I believe DCR is a superior store-of-value and a decentralised organism capable of long-term adaptability thus securing the long term financial sovereignty and organisation of people around the world. Problem:
However, there is a growing sense in the community that Decred has a name recognition barrier to overcome. That was expressed by the DEX developers saying the concern they have is 'getting the word out there'(Decred in Depth May 15th), a concern echoed by many others. The community also appears to be debating and experimenting with various outreach strategies. I have confidence in our vision, developers and contributors. However, they are not the only factors determining the success of a project. When it comes to the expansion of name recognition, adoption and network effects, the competition is fierce and likely winner takes most or even all (see Matthew effect, "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them." Bible Matt 13:12 ).
If we do not present our project in the most approachable way possible, I do believe we are at risk of missing out on the golden window of adoption, and the project might never really catch on. That would be a big shame because the world would never be able to adopt our superior vision of Bitcoin sound money, and if the governance issues of bitcoin does flare up further down the road, there is a risk of it being corrupted, neutralised or captured by some predatory governments and the international fiat financiers, and they will never allow something like Bitcoin to develop among the masses again, if that happens, Decred would not be large enough to deter them either. Reasons for Proposal: I would like to lay out reasons why the name 'Decred' is not a good name for our project and is holding us back at the moment.
I obviously have great respect all the design and planning that has gone before and my fellow Decredees already working on design projects will be incentivised to vote against my proposal. But I am offering constructive criticism and we all want the project to succeed and do not want proposals to just validate whatever we have been doing before. So I hope you would consider this carefully and objectively. I suggest that the name of our project 'Decred' should be reviewed and rebranded. Firstly
, the name 'Decred (decentralized credits)' is manifestly tech and developer centred, it reflects the perspective and values of the brilliant minds that conceived our project. I understand the monumental importance of decentralization, but for the newcomer the word is hard to grasp.
When introducing the name of a project, we want to communicate what would register as substance that can be easily grasped by people. 'Bitcoin' emphasizes that it is digital and has value. The word 'Coin' is easily understood as substance, 'Coin' is a classic word communicating value that appeals to the most primordial circuits of our brains as something you want( to hold in your hand), something of value, something that jingles in your pocket, something shiny that you want to accumulate and collect.
In contrast, the "De" in Decred gives a notion of negation and negativity, not of substance and affirmation, as is common in the English language (for example: devalue, dethrone, debunk, devolve, dejected). I fully appreciated that to us insiders 'de' signifies 'decentralized' and is of enormous substance and value, but that is not apparent to the newcomer and even implies the opposite. Secondly
, 'Cred (as in credit)' is also very intangible compared to 'Coin', credit only developed later in human economy and do not register with the same force as 'Coin' in our neural circuitry that identifies value. In our day and age, the word 'credit' also has a negative connotations (for example: credit bubble, credit card fraud, credit crunch, credit crisis). In short, credit is associated with volatility and fragility, which is very contrary to the nature of our robust project that values reliability and long-term adaptability. So with all due respect, "Decred" is not a good name to communicate what we stand for.
Compared to 'Bitcoin', it does not meet people where they are (we want people to come for the profit and stay for the vision and tech, most people are like that, for better or for worse), 'Decred' is a bit too self-obsessed with putting what's under-the-hood of the project right upfront in the name, it is not at all obvious what 'Decred' means to a curious person who wanders into cryptoland. In addition, "Decred" bears an unwelcome resemblance to the word "Discredit" which is also another minus.
We should focus more on how the name of our project makes people feel, rather than emphasising function and features that newcomers are unlikely to grasp easily. The majority of people make decisions based on how it makes them feel, not on utility and reason alone. Bitcoin understands this, it struck a more visceral part of the human psyche, people want 'Coins' that can go up in value, but in fact that hopeful speculation and hopium was the Trojan's horse for the masses to adopt a more decentralized, censorship-resistance and secure form of monetary system. Our project should do the same, starting with the name. Thirdly
, I would like to put forward my idea about what should replace the name "Decred'. There can be little doubt that Decred is building on the brilliance and vision of Bitcoin (PoW, 21 million supply cap, transparency and decentralization). In a way, our project aims to be more 'Bitcoin' than Bitcoin, PoW+PoS improves security, the governance mechanism + treasury ventures to where Bitcoin has not gone before, which is building decentralization and transparency in the governance and evolutionary process of the project itself.
Our project lead Jacob Yocom-Piat, whom I really respect, shared how he discovered a 'central planning committee' running things in Bitcoin and believed it was contrary to the spirit of Bitcoin, that helped give birth to the name 'Decred'.
Therefore I believe the 'De' in Decred is a further doubling down of the principle of decentralization ('like it or not, we are taking this all the way, Bitcoin!') , it is a protest. 'Cred' could also be a reaction against the more tangible name 'Coin' signifying that we are moving further beyond it in the digital economy with 'decentralised credits'. However, as I have already laid out above, it is not an approachable name from the perspective of the new adopter. Decred is in essence a reactionary name, and is not optimal for presenting a project that is already digital, intangible and hard to grasp.
History shaped the name 'Decred' and that is a beautiful thing, we would not be here without it. But I suggest it is time to move beyond by taking a step back.
We do not want to be going against the grain of two things: 1) human nature and the learning curve towards the tangible and affirmative as opposed the the negational and negative. 2) the already established network effect of the name recognition of 'Bitcoin'. Going against these two grains will make it unnecessarily harder for our outreach, thus hamstringing adoption, instead we should go with the grain and ride the wave of already established network effects by tapping into people's familiarity with the word 'Bitcoin' . Therefore I propose the new name of our project should at least include the word 'Bitcoin" followed by a word to describe the unique way our project has taken Bitcoin forward.
Bitcoiner Dan Held mention in his blog how: "Bitcoin is the Apex predator of money" https://www.danheld.com/blog/2019/1/6/planting-bitcoinspecies-14
I truly believe that title actually belongs to our project. With our treasury, potential consensus rule changes through politeia and extra security compared to Bitcoin, we will evolve our way up the monetary food-chain because we are robust and superiorly adaptable. As Chris Buriske says: "In #crypto, so long as you have good governance, you can have any feature you want." Thus, I further suggest our rebranded name be: Bitcoin Evolution (Bitcoin E/BTE).
I believe this faithfully reflects our ethos of being true to the spirit of Bitcoin while also being future-proof and adaptable (Although the vote in this proposal itself is not a referendum on Bitcoin Evolution
, I will explain at the end).
For people looking into our project, trying to figure out what we are about, 'Bitcoin Evolution' really speaks for itself.
The famous Bitcoin educator Andreas Antonopoulos once said that "the next Bitcoin is Bitcoin". I take it to mean that the idea of Bitcoin is larger than the specific chain Satoshi Nakamoto started himself. If that's true, it is justified for a later project that takes the spirit of Bitcoin even further to adopt the name Bitcoin E
. E means Evolution.
Also on the off chance that we turn out to be more wrong about Bitcoin's governance than we think and Bitcoin's rough consensus works out just fine (no more hard forks, successfully implements privacy, no VC corruption etc). Then Bitcoin will become the indisputable 'gold standard' and likely take most of the pie, in that case if our name highlights our similarity to Bitcoin and our governance model also hold its own, we will likely end up doing better than sticking to our protest name 'Decred'. This is from a risk management perspective that we might want to consider.
Also on the off chance that we turn out to be more wrong about Bitcoin's governance than we think and Bitcoin's rough consensus works out just fine (no more hard forks, successfully implements privacy, no VC corruption etc). Then Bitcoin will become the indisputable 'gold standard' and likely take most of the pie, in that case if our name highlights our similarity to Bitcoin and our governance model also hold its own, we will likely end up doing better than sticking to our protest name 'Decred'. This is from a risk management perspective that we might want to consider. Possible Objections:
I am happy to engage with any question or objections in the comments sections. But allow me to first anticipate some objections I foresee here.
Q1) "Rebranding now will undo too much of the work we have done before. It is too late."
A1: By all the indicators that matter, we are still very early. With the upcoming bull market in this money printer go brrr macro economics setting, a new wave of new investors will be flooding into the crypto sphere in the next 2-3 years, and they will be coming for Bitcoin. By not going against the grain of the established Bitcoin name, the attention Bitcoin Evolution
will receive down the years would far outweigh what loss we incur from rebranding. Short term pain, long term gain.
Q2) "Won't we be making an opportunistic gambit and look like scammy or weak projects like Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Diamond and Bitcoin Gold ? What if we attract all the wrong people and destroy our community culture?"
A2: I believe regardless of others think, our rebranding is not an opportunistic gambit. Bitcoin Diamond, Gold and etc are forks of Bitcoin that misses the point of what BTC was about. We are not a fork of Bitcoin (and we aim precisely to avoid contentious hard forks). Nevertheless, the spirit of Bitcoin is faithfully implemented in our chain.
We preserve the immutability and robustness of BTC and take the decentralization principle to its full logical conclusion, which is for it to permeant development and community decision -making. One can say we are the true heirs of Bitcoin and we should carry the mantle proudly if we really believe in our vision.
I also do not believe "Bitcoin Evolution" will attract all the wrong people. We will have a huge influx for sure, and that will put us under pressure. But unlike Bitcoin 'Cash' Gold or Diamond', people will coming to us will understand we have the long term and adaptability in mind, 'evolution' suggests it is a long game. The quick buck at all costs bunch will not find ours to be the most enticing name.
I also have faith in our incredible community of communicators and educators to bring new people onboard to our long term mindset.
In addition, when we rebrand, the people who know Decred well and support it will not abandon ship just because they don't like the new name.
The people who are already critical of Decred will no doubt seize the opportunity to attack and insinuate. Haters gonna hate. We did not care before and should not start fretting. I invite all to focus on all the new and curious adopters and explorers who will be flocking to us because of the Bitcoin name, and rightly so.
Q3) "If the fundamentals are sound, won't the project catch on even if the name 'Decred' is unrelatable? Just a matter of time right?"
A3: No. The history of other network effects has shown, the success of a project depends on many factors, it is not just a simple framework of a sifting mechanism eventually singling out the best tech and best ideas.** Sometimes it is not the best idea that wins, but the idea that is good enough at the right time and the right place wins.*\
* Think of the internet protocol TCP/IP. We have to have the right ideas at the right time and meet growth goals at an appropriate speed to break out of bottlenecks and achieve network adoption.
With Bitcoin there is the added risk of entrenched centralised establishments exploiting the weaknesses in its governance to neutralised it, if they succeed, we will likely not get a second chance. We should not leave that to chance and refine our project in as many ways as possible.
I believe precisely because we have sound fundamentals of decentralized governance, that when time is ripe to consider a rebrand, we will meet the need together and start this conversation to get the job done. But the project won't automatically catch on by itself, we need to explore and make decisions together to improve it. In conclusion: In our name, let us not present to the world what we are against (centralisation), but what we are for(Adaptive future-proof Bitcoin with all its classic strengths).
Let us go with the grain of human nature and the network effects of name recognition and not unnecessarily strive against it.
I believe just like a teenager transitioning into adulthood, we are coming of age in a new era of growth and self-awareness. And sometimes, growth means taking a step back to recalibrate and orient ourselves. What you are voting on:
I hope to ignite a constructive discussion about a serious plan to rebrand for the better. I do not ask for any funding as it is not up to me to implement anything, I just hope my insights can help us on the journey of changing the world for the better with our superior vision of an unstoppable decentralised organism. The How, Who and When questions concerning rebranding should be explored by the community together. If you Vote 'Yes' you are not necessarily saying we are just going to rebrand to "Bitcoin Evolution" or even a new name with "Bitcoin" in it. Voting 'Yes' means you see the merits of my arguments and want to seriously consider rebranding and turning the page from the current name 'Decred'.
I have been engaging with the Chinese Decred community but I am not known to the community at large, so I understand there will be a lot of questions and scepticism and I welcome all constructive feedback.
I also want to pay my deep respects to all the developers, contributors and everyone who has dedicated their time and passion to our project. Let's keep building together!
If you appreciate the work I put into this, feel free to make a voluntary donation:
You can follow me on twitter: https://twitter.com/decredinator
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