If your first reaction to seeing a bichon-frise mincing sweetly up the sidewalk is, “mmm, that would pair well with the Sauvignon blanc,” you ought to consider being a Bitcoin Maximalist.
Last week, a vegetable partisan on Twitter challenged a group of the meat-loving ideologues who champion Bitcoin: would they take their carnivory to its logical conclusion and “eat your dog?”
It was a question that had powerful resonance for the Maximalists present. Though they have many thoughts on other things—journalists are bad, seigniorage is bad, social justice is bad—meat has long been the bloody glue that binds them. Recently, many have taken to peddling the fringe high-protein “keto” diet as an alternative to dirty “fiat food,” the byproduct of…state-backed currency, or something.
As such, Bitcoin developer Luke Dash Jr called the Twitter challenger’s bluff, responding: “I don’t have a dog, but I would totally try one and eat it if it tastes decent.” Then, unbidden, he went further: “Had a cat once. Planned to eat it, but something else got to it first…Currently have a pair of male & female bunny. Plan to eat some of the babies, but… we’re failing to get them to breed.”
From there began a bizarre interchange revealing just how closely Bitcoiner ideology overlaps with fringe nutritional theory, with Elaine Ou, an occasional Bloomberg Opinion columnist and full-time Bitcoin Maximalist, chiming in: “Haven’t tried cat, but want to.”
The inevitable chorus of SJW pearl-clutching followed suit. “Love the work you & Luke do,” said one commenter, “but neither of you are getting anywhere near my many emotional support animals!”
“After the animal has served its purpose, give it a dignified death by not letting its body go to waste,” Ou replied, sensitively.
What about the ANIMAL WELFARE ACT, asked distressed onlookers. “Sounds like an invalid ‘law,’” Dash Jr. scoffed.
In an interview, Dash Jr., who is from Florida, told me that his clinical approach to pet eating stems from his devout Christianity—as a Catholic, he believes animals were put on earth for our consumption.
“Animals exist for man’s usage, including as food,” he told me via DM. “Eating a cat is no different from eating a cow or pig.”
That view seems to gel—VERY tangentially—with that of my mother, Linda, who is a nutritional therapist. The nutritional value of cats and dogs is “probably the same as cows and goats,” she said. “Although not sure about the quality of their milk.”
She also pointed out that eating animals we consider, perhaps arbitrarily, to be “pets,” is common in other cultures. “In Peru the national delicacy is guinea pig,” she said. “Very nutritious.”
But still, aren’t there evolutionary reasons to not eat pets? Are there not bonds between us forged in the primordial hellfires of Earth’s genesis?
Dash Jr. dismisses outright the suggestion that humans and animals can have any sort of interspecies bond—“animals aren’t capable of human relationships”—and says any joy we get out of relating to them, like “emotional comfort,” is still a “human usage.”
That’s not to say he’d go psycho and grill a friend’s beloved German Shepherd, like some sort of cypherpunk Mrs. Lovett. “Unlikely,” he said. “First of all, it’s his property. Secondly, I don’t know if he is capable of getting over it even if he gives permission.”
But it does, nevertheless, have fascinating implications for Bitcoin. According to a pro-pet gastronomy BBC blog post published a balmy ten years ago, keeping a medium-sized dog has the same effect on the environment as “driving a 4.6 litre Land Cruiser 10,000km a year.” Which means eating dogs could very much offset the worrisome carbon emissions from Bitcoin mining. Of course, if the Maximalists are going to eat their dogs, they’ll have to eat their Lamborghinis, too. And that would be sick.