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Proposal: Cryptocurrency

We already have four dedicated Crypto SEs. Stellar, Ethereum, Bitcoin, Monero. Why this site? What sets it apart?

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Instead of having an own site for each (still emerging) cryptocurrency, it might be quite reasonable to have just one site, where you can easily create tags for each (still emerging) cryptocurrency.

New proposals for particular cryptocurrency sites nearly come in on a daily basis. Often, they won't make it into commitment or beta phase. And if they do, they don't perform very good (just to name some):

In my opinion, this is why a more general site might be quite useful. Furthermore, I assume that most cryptocurrency sites share some knowldege/Q&A about cryptocurrency in general, which currently might lead to duplicated effort or on the other side to distributed/scattered and hard to find info.

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  • So would you say we should delete/merge all other sites and replace it with this one?
    – Luke Hill
    Dec 9 '21 at 21:13
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    I'm not a SME concerning cryptocurrency/blockchain stuff. And I am also not aware of what exactly is currently on topic on each cryptocurrency site. So, I cannot tell if they can or should be merged. But I know that nearly all programming and scripting languages are on topic on Stack Overflow, even if C++ and Ansible, for example, are completely different things. That's why I don't quite follow, why there is and has been a need for different sites for different cryptocurrencies. Dec 10 '21 at 6:44
  • I also don't understand why there needs to be four cryptocurrency SEs. It made sense for there to be a bitcoin SE when bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency that had any use, but that should've just expanded to include all cryptocurrencies. For the matter, I don't agree why Ubuntu gets its own SE over all other linux distros (history as a separate site?) or why Mathematica has its own SE but not say Maple.
    – qwr
    Jan 10 at 8:52
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    @qwr: Bitcoin.SE previously expanded its scope to include cryptocurrencies in general, then narrowed its scope again at a later point. See Nick ODell's answer, which discusses that.
    – V2Blast StaffMod
    Jan 22 at 0:02
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Believe it or not, we used to have a general cryptocurrency site. I was a moderator there, about four years ago.

Back when the Bitcoin.se site was defined, a decision was made late in the Area 51 process to broaden the definition to Bitcoin derivatives such as Namecoin, as well as non-Bitcoin derived cryptocurrencies.

This decision created two problems:

  1. Branding. Some people wanted a "Bitcoin" site to be solely about Bitcoin, and wanted the policy changed to make non-Bitcoin questions off-topic. Others wanted the name changed to "Cryptocurrency" or "Blockchain" to reflect the true scope of the site.
  2. Bootstrapping. People would come to the site and ask questions about cryptocurrencies which none of the site regulars had any experience with. During my tenure, I recall NXT having this problem in particular. Unless the question was very basic, or touched on general cryptocurrency theory, those questions didn't get answered.

You've already avoided the branding problem by choosing the "Cryptocurrency" name.

However, the bootstrapping problem is really hard to solve. It's hard to recruit new users of a particular cryptocurrency and get them to post high-quality questions if their questions won't get answered. It's hard to recruit expert users of a cryptocurrency if most questions are low-quality. This is the advantage of narrowly-focused sites around each cryptocurrency: the definition and commitment phases on Area 51 solve the bootstrapping problem.

In the end, Bitcoin.se couldn't solve the bootstrapping problem. In 2019, Bitcoin.se decided to narrow the scope of the site, because they lacked a critical mass to answer non-Bitcoin questions well.

I don't say this to discourage you from making this site. Instead, I want to encourage you to think seriously about the bootstrapping problem, so you avoid the mistakes of the past.

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  • Even with the bootstrapping problem, I think there should be a place for users to ask generic questions about blockchain or cryptocurrency basics without being specific to Bitcoin.
    – qwr
    Jan 22 at 1:10
  • Yes, but many of the questions posted during the definitional phase don't seem like they can be answered in a generic way. e.g. "What kind of mathematical computations are done by miners?" is not a question that you can answer except by referring to a specific cryptocurrency or family of cryptocurrencies. If the goal is to provide a place for questions not specific to any cryptocurrency, the definition questions should communicate that.
    – Nick ODell
    Jan 22 at 3:40
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If I search for "Zero Knowledge" I get https://cs.stackexchange.com/ (54 hits), https://math.stackexchange.com (61 hits), and https://crypto.stackexchange.com/ (500 hits).

The space needs good reasoned arguments about the pros/cons of choosing one technique over another. There's too much fud and not enough well reasoned clarity. I'm not against the proposal but the scope needs to be well defined.

Also are you limiting yourself in the name to currencies? It's pretty clear that currencies were just the tip of the iceberg.

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I created the proposal because there are many cryptocurrencies which are not relevant enough to have an exclusive site. This site would be sort of a "parent" site for all those smaller projects and, also, global questions. It is clear you cannot go in the Cardano site and ask, for example, How does the value of a cryptocurrency get determined? (by StackProtector- thanks!). @Squirrel, you were right about the iceberg- now blockchain is included, as it is very important.

Thence I proposed the Cryptocurrency & Blockchain site. I trust it will not be a failure.

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