is the first and most popular Bitcoin and later cryptocurrency oriented forum. But unlike other cryptocurrency oriented publishing platforms and discussion boards, it is a highly toxic place. This article will reveal the downsides of this once very promising platform, show why it has lost its popularity over the years and why many new cryptocurrency users try to avoid it.

Cronyism and paranoia

I have never seen such cronyism and paranoia anywhere. Even the politicians would be astounded. The forum is run by the so-called “The Bitcointalk Elite” who have a very negative attitude towards new members. Thus all new members lack many forum features that are available for more senior users.

Merit system

The only way to get rid of “newbie” status and become a more senior member is to get Merit from other users.  A user can give Merit to others only if he has received Merit himself first. Merit is produced by the founding users of Bitcointalk and their close circle, who distribute it to the users they like so-called “The Bitcointalk Elite”. The problem is that this “Bitcointalk Elite” will never give Merit to a new user, and neither does other established users. It will require a very long chain of users until the Merit will reach a new user, so this happens very rarely. Established users give Merit only to each other, which boosts their ranking, while new users stay as newbies for a long time since no one gives them Merit.

The Merit system is the reason and cause for all unfairness on Bitcoitalk forum. It’s the tool that is used to separate users based on their “authority” and to give them different privileges.

Trust system

On the paper, the Trust system sounds like a good idea. People give positive trust as good feedback for a successful transaction and negative trust if someone scammed or tried to scam them. However, in reality, it doesn’t work like that.

First of all, Trust feedback from the senior member has more weight than Trust feedback from a junior member, especially a newbie. When total trust score is calculated only feedback from most senior members “The Bitcointalk Elite” is considered. Feedback from other members is ignored and does not affect the total score. Thus if a senior member, for example, an Escrow agent has scammer more junior member, his Trust score will not be affected the negative feedback.

Another problem is that senior members usually give negative Trust not because of scam, but because they simply didn’t like that the new member did or say.

These reasons completely ruin the idea of the Trust score and turn it into another tool for bullying new members.

Personal messages

Newbies cannot send personal messages to other users unless those users have particularly allowed newbies to write to them. Most don’t allow, since that’s the default setting. This often creates silly situations where two new members cannot message each other, since they both have that limitation set up.

Post signature

This is not such an important feature, as the post signature is mainly used for advertising. But it’s still unfair that new members cannot ad links, or images to their signature like more senior users can.

Other features that ruin the user experience for new members

  • Have to wait 6 minutes after sending messages or posting to post or send a message again. There’s also a bug that will not allow you to post/message for 6 minutes, even if the original post/message was not accepted/sent, and this type of error happens quite often.
  • Cannot delete your own posts.
  • Have to wait 90 seconds between doing searches.

Ransom fee for registration

Bitcoin IP ban

In some cases, if you try to sign-up from an IP that a suspended account has used before, you must pay a ransom to register. The fee is usually a few dollars, but in one case a user found it to be 3640453 satoshis, which is around $1300 at today’s rate; quite a large fee to use a “free” forum.

If that IP was really used for spam, why should the new user pay the fine, for something he didn’t do? This certainly does not sound fair and is a terrible way to welcome a new member.

General negative attitude

While some Bitcointalk members help new users and answer questions, all opinion, either right or wrong are met with bullying, laughs and even rude replies. Thus it’s hard to have any meaningful discussion or promote your new website or service. possibly has the most toxic cryptocurrency community.


While most of these methods were implemented to fight scam and spam, in reality, they do more harm than good. Internet is full of spam and scam, but other platforms have managed to fight both of them without being extremely negative towards new users. Somehow is the only platform that failed at this. It very clearly seems that wanted to be a small community of people who all knew each other, but was forced to grow and accept new members even when they didn’t want to do it. So why did they do it? Why didn’t Bitcointalk just close its doors and remained as a private forum? Money and power, all over again. Today Bitcointalk is one of the most popular cryptocurrency-related websites that makes a lot of money from ads and in addition to that forms the public opinion about different cryptocurrency projects, ICOs and other blockchain companies. It’s the money and power that Bitcointalk founders don’t want to give away.

The verdict

It’s better to avoid Bitcointalk. There are a lot other Bitcoin and cryptocurrency forums as well as other platforms where you can write and discuss about cryptocurrencies. Thus there’s no need to go to when you are obviously not welcome there.


Filip Poutintsev, the Chief Editor of Honest Pros and Cons, is a long term business writer, who has been featured in various online publications such as Forbes, CoinTelegraph and HackerNoon. Now he writes exclusively for Honest Pros and Cons.