Many people believe that cryptocurrency is populated by flinty libertarians and Shiba-chasing degens. However, anyone who has spent time in the crypto world knows that the community is politically and economically diverse. Builders, gig laborers, socialists, meme lords, grannies, and everything in between are all represented. We’ll finally put some statistics on that variety in this post.
The results of the Cryptopolitical Typology Quiz, an 18-question online poll we published during LisCon 2021 to study the crypto community’s political-economic inclinations, are shown below. The poll includes a set of Cryptopolitics non-fungible coins, as well as ten factions and four classes (descriptions here).
Note: The preliminary results of the Cryptopolitical Typology Quiz are presented in this post. If you haven’t already, we strongly advise you to take the quiz and, if you appreciate it, to share it on Twitter. You may see a live summary of the survey findings in this Typeform report if you’d rather skip the takeaways and examine the facts for yourself. The survey’s final results will be released later in 2022.
The factions are introduced.
The factions are the first thing you’ll notice about the quiz.
The top line of factions (crypto-leftist, DAOist, true neutral, crypto-libertarian, crypto-ancap) represents the full range of political opinions in crypto; these factions are derived from a set of questions based on the Pew Research Center’s long-running Political Typology Quiz.
The bottom line (earner, cryptopunk, NPC, techtrepreneur, degen) symbolizes the most common way to make money with cryptocurrency.
Finally, four “classes” (Szabian, Gavinist, Zamfirist, and Walchian) that capture people’s views on governance and government regulation are not represented. (After Nick Szabo, Gavin Wood, Vlad Zamfir, and Angela Walch, to be exact.)
These early factions were gathered from a diverse group of people (a few who didn’t make the cut: crypto-ancoms, cypherpunks, and crypto-feudalists). Read also; How to Stay Sane During a Crypto Crash The factions’ entire descriptions may be found here. Each respondent was assigned a political faction, an economic faction, and a governance class based on their survey results.
Takeaway 1: Crypto is full of libertarians, but only a small percentage of them are “conservative.”
Crypto is frequently connected with right-libertarian ideology, and the majority of survey respondents identified as libertarians or the more radical anarcho-capitalists. It’s crucial to remember, too, that crypto communities are incredibly diverse politically: some developers are pro-capitalist libertarians, while others are anti-capitalist anarchists and socialists.
Despite the prevalence of crypto-libertarians and crypto-ancaps, only 5.9% of respondents described themselves as conservative or right wing, 51.6 percent as liberal or left wing, and 42.6 percent as neither. One reason for this could be that many libertarians equate the term “conservative” with social conservatism, whereas crypto-libertarianism emphasizes economic libertarianism. We’d like to compare results across geographic regions in future iterations of the poll, because the definitions of “conservative” and “liberal” differ greatly by region (e.g. Europe vs. United States).
Takeaway 2: On-chain governance is slightly more popular than off-chain governance.
Governance is a divisive topic both within and between blockchains, especially when existing regulatory or legal agencies are involved. Respondents are particularly divided on whether they want on-chain or off-chain governance: Nearly 40% of respondents were on the Gavinist or Szabian “on-chain” side of the scale, while more than half were on the opposite side. Nearly a third of respondents hold extreme opinions (Szabians, who reject off-chain politics entirely, and Walchians, who are adamant about the need for government regulation).
Only 3.2 percent of people in crypto today seem to agree with Satoshi Nakomoto’s original concept of a protocol mostly regulated by a group of core engineers and technical personnel, according to question 16. (which is still, in many ways, an accurate description of how changes and improvements are rolled out on both Bitcoin and Ethereum). That’s fewer than the 3.4 percent of individuals who believe the blockchain should be governed by a traditional government!
Takeaway 3: Builders are disproportionately represented.
Over two-thirds of respondents fit the description of techtrepeneur — someone interested in building or contributing to commercial applications of crypto – on the economic side. While it’s encouraging to see so many developers in crypto, we believe this suggests that the poll hasn’t reached a representative sample of the whole crypto community (yet!).
After all, degens — YOLO profit-maximalists who merely want crypto to go high – accounted for only 2% of respondents. Even when we look at the questions that look for degeneracy, only 7.2 percent say “My goal in crypto is to make as much money as possible” (Q4), 3.5 percent say “In order to grow, the crypto ecosystem should: Provide financial instruments for maximum wealth creation” (Q9), and 8.5 percent say “I’m here for: the airdrops” (Q9) (Q17). You had to select at least two of the three options above to qualify as a degen. Read more; Trends in Africa Crypto Sector to Expect in 2022
You beloved degens, where have you gone?
Takeaway 4: Cryptocurrency has no categories… yet.
We manually created the first set of factions, but we were wondering if more factions and features would emerge naturally from the data. As a result, we pounded the data with a variety of clustering and feature selection approaches (e.g., affinity propagation, agglomerative clustering) (e.g. PCA, feature agglomeration). When you ask n persons in the crypto community about their thoughts on the subject, you’ll get (almost) n unique responses… at least when n = 500. While this does not exclude out the formation of opinion clusters, it may explain why the clustering results are still inconclusive. You may see examples of our work here.
To be honest, we were surprised by this outcome — is there really no consolidation of political views in crypto? For the time being, we’re hopeful that more data will allow us to distinguish between different schools of thought in the community. (Please take the quiz or share it with your friends if you haven’t already!) We’re also interested in seeing if other data scientists can come to alternative conclusions from the data, possibly by merging it with other data sets. Reach out if you have any ideas!
Takeaway 5: The majority of individuals believe that cryptography is a political ideology, among other things.
The following are some further survey findings. Check out the Typeform live summary to see whether these findings remain true as additional people fill out the poll.
What does the term “crypto” imply to you? Crypto, according to a slim majority of respondents (56.6 percent), is mostly a political philosophy/lifestyle, rather than an economic technology (Q3). This astonished us, especially given the proportion of builders in the poll (as opposed to users, artists, memers, and so on)!
Respondents were given the option of affiliating with one of several layer 1 protocols, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. We examined the responses of the two main groups, Ethereum and Bitcoin, and discovered that (1) they agree on the majority of issues, and (2) the gender question was the most contentious: Bitcoiners are less likely than Ethereum users to believe that cryptocurrency has a gender problem (Q15). Bitcoiners were also slightly more distrustful of regulation (Q7) and, as a result, less willing to cooperate with regulatory initiatives or be concerned about legal compliance (Q14).
Is cryptoeconomics equitable? The question of whether crypto teams make a fair and reasonable amount of profit or too much profit (Q11), as well as whether the crypto economic system is usually fair to most of its participants or unfairly favors powerful interests, has polarized respondents (Q12).
What is the future of cryptocurrency? The general consensus is that in order for crypto to expand, it must develop valuable technology that addresses real-world problems for a certain group of people (Q9).
Getting to the data
The Cryptopolitical Typology Quiz responses are anonymised and stored in Govbase, an open data warehouse for online governance. If you want to learn more about the data, start with this Jupyter notebook.
What comes next?
More degens are required! In summary:
- More information is needed, particularly from the Bitcoin community.
- We’re seeking partners in the following areas: Is there anyone in your group who would benefit from doing the survey together? We’d love to see comparisons between Solana and Gitcoin, Uniswap and SushiSwap, and so on.
This quiz was created with the intention of educating and assisting the crypto community in its understanding of itself. We also believe that this information will have an impact on regulatory considerations, and we would be delighted to collaborate with groups already working in this field to customize future iterations of the survey to that end.
In terms of future editions, we’d like to conduct a second poll in 2022, this time with a more rigorous sampling approach and a bank of demographic questions. That would provide us with a lot greater understanding of who is participating in crypto, as well as historical data on the political economy of the cryptocurrency. Because sampling in this manner can be costly, we’d like to collaborate with other efforts in this field (shill, shill). Not only would you be helping the ecology, but the survey may also be used as community research for your product (e.g. comparing the cultures of Solana vs. Ethereum, or of Uniswap vs. SushiSwap).
Please contact email@example.com, donate to our Gitcoin grant, or join us in the Metagov Discord if you’re interested in helping the Cryptopolitics project.
We appreciate Michael Zargham, Seth Frey, Lane Rettig, Ellie Rennie, Kelsie Nabben, Scott Moore, and Ivan Fartunov’s contributions to the project’s development. We’d want to express our gratitude to Joe Hirsch, who created the drawings for the Cryptopolitics NFTs. The Cryptopolitical Typology Quiz is a Metagovernance Project project with University of Oxford ethical approval.