Bitcointalk.org Review Overview
Founded by Bitcoin creator himself, Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcointalk is the largest public forum for anything related to Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. Having recently reached over 1 million account registrations, it has by far the biggest and most active community of forum users to date and continues to grow each day.
The forum has a comprehensive breakdown of sections, from technical discussions, project development and mining, there is a lot of material for new users to get into and veteran users to participate in.
With separate sections for economy, alternative cryptocurrencies and even local boards for more than 20 languages other than English, there’s very little wanting in this forum apart from a very dated design structure and difficult use of search functions.
Some of the brightest minds in crypto are also active in the forum and you’ll brush shoulders with expert developers, coders and business owners, albeit mostly operating under pseudonyms. A competent group of staff and moderators also keep the forum tidy, moderating the chatter and offering technical support to user-posted issues.
Apart from the discussions (and trolling, and flaming!) which happen at a rapid pace in bitcointalk, a lot of Bitcoins and alts actually change hands between users here. There are entire sub-sections dedicated to this under the Economy section, where you can discuss crypto-currency trading, buy and sell goods and services, and even promote your own businesses.
There are a number of freelancers you can find on this forum including writers and graphic designers who’ll deliver quick work for a bit of coin.
There is also a significant number of “signature campaigns” unique to the forum, where people are paid to advertise a product or service. These days, it’s usually a new ICO or new altcoin being launched but there are plenty of other new websites and services such as casinos and exchanges who use the forum as a launchpad to get the word out on their new business. A diligent user can earn a modest income simply by participating in forum discussions with contributive ideas – each post displaying an advertisement in their signature and earning them crypto.
The campaigns typically run with budgets of thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoin, but reportedly bring in more exposure than conventional internet advertising.
Also unique to the forum is a user-oriented trust system, which allows users to give positive or negative feedback to each other, while creating your own trust network. While it has its weaknesses (feedback can be false) it does generally serve a good purpose of determining if a user you’re about to deal with is trustworthy or not.
There’s a LOT of good and pertinent discussions that can be very informative to Bitcoin enthusiasts. However, there is also a lot of spam and noise that must be navigated to retrieve useful information. The search function is almost hopeless (Google search brings up better results) and there isn’t an easily usable system to file or manage information.
The forum has been pending an upgrade for a while now (it currently runs on Simple Machines Forum 1.1.19) and these issues will hopefully be resolved. The forum owners/admin reputedly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoin in hiring a development team so the expectation is that bitcointalk 2.0 will be impressive.
Bitcoin Garden Forum Overview
Bitcoin Garden is, among the lesser-known cryptopcurrency forums, one of the more active and steadily growing communities that, despite its Bitcoin-derived name, has quite a strong focus on alternative cryptocurrencies.
Dubbing themselves as a “Social Network of bitcoin/altcoin news”, the section of Bitcoin Garden most worth noting is its forum, which sees a lot of active chatter from the forum managers and developers. While most of this information is also replicated on Bitcointalk and Bitcoin.com, Bitcoin Garden prides itself on furthering the developmental ambitions of several altcoins, pushing for their listing on major exchanges and hosting some of the biggest faucets for alts.
It still has a way to go in terms of membership, still falling short of the 9,000 mark but still gets about 400-600 unique users online a day, a figure that is still growing. Design-wise, it is as clean and crisp as its rivals, using the same Simple Machines Forum software as bitcointalk, albeit on a cleaner, more stable 2.x version.
While Bitcoin Garden launched almost around the same time as its bigger brothers like Bitcointalk, it started out as a blog run by “Secco”, owner and admin of Bitcoin Garden. A self-professed “hacktivist, digital rights supporter and free speech evangelist”, Secco is an old hand in Internet technology, with programming experience from the 80s and 90s.
The personal care and devotion given to this project is evident from its slow yet steady growth from a blog/news aggregation to its present offerings such as a daily news site and forum. Their track record and success stories in getting an altcoin popular and listed is probably what gives Bitcoin Garden its most value.
Giving newcomers a head start on alts
As mentioned, Bitcoin Garden has become a launchpad for many enterprising altcoin developers. You’ll find an announcement thread with many new and old alts here, just like on other forums.
In addition, most new coins host a giveaway thread on Bitcoin Garden in its own Giveaway section, which is by far its most popular with over 100,000 individual threads! Just a quick look at the top 5 threads listed two alts we recognized, with relatively generous daily giveaways with simple actions such as Twitter re-tweets, voting and airdrops (usually hundreds or thousands of coins simply by installing a wallet for a newly-launched alt).
Many alts also have their own threads listing faucets giving out free altcoins. Just using the resources here can easily gain you generous sums of alts, especially if you participate in the giveaways.
Advertising on the websites is also clearly aimed at getting alts popular and in use, as we’ve noticed TradeSatoshi, NovaExchange and several China-based exchanges floating in and out of banner rotation. While the volumes on these exchanges are a fraction of the giants, they list a staggering number of alts and this helps contribute to a moving market for them.
More importantly, Bitcoin Garden aims to provide a professional-level service in promoting a new coin, including increasing its user base and getting it listed on exchanges. This is chiefly done through awareness and promotional campaigns on social media (it has close to 50,000 Twitter followers, for example).
Other unique forum offerings
Apart from its obvious angle at alternative cryptocurrencies, there are several other sections of the forum that deserve some mention.
One is the curiously named Crypto and Adult Entertainment Services, which seems to list out quite a bit of adult-themed crypto services, such as adult cams, erotic audio and sex performance pharmaceutical products which can be obtained for Bitcoin. While relatively inactive, most services and links were still accessible at time of writing.
Under Products and Services, you will also find dedicated areas for Jobs and Freelancers – while this isn’t very different from other forums, it does help that Bitcoin Garden manages these in their own separate sections. With positions like developers, bounties for integration and development, writers and local ambassadors, they certainly seem more relevant in here than in other forums where similar jobs are lost in the clutter of other services.
In terms of real and quality crypto discussion, Bitcoin Garden may yet be lagging far behind. But if you’re looking for a place to dip into a still under-explored world of alternative cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin Garden is probably your best bet for a one-stop shop.
Bitcoin.com Forum Review Overview
The Bitcoin.com forum is an extension of the Bitcoin.com news portal and falls under the same management and ownership of the same Roger Ver, one of the most well-known figures in Bitcoin.
It’s important to note once more that the forum brand does not imply any form of authority over Bitcoin and is simply an alternative venue for discussion and information related to Bitcoin.
Despite its prime www location, the Bitcoin.com forum does not have even 2% of bitcointalk’s membership, registering fewer than 20,000 accounts as of June 2017. However, it does benefit from a friendlier look, with a more modern layout and design and a much easier sign-up process – you can simply register using any existing account from a host of social media, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and reddit.
Same same but different
The forum greets the new user with the five most recent threads commented on, so you get an instant idea of what’s happening at the moment. At first glance, scrolling down to see the rest of the forum will show that most of the sections are similar to what you’ll find at bitcointalk: development, technical discussion, trading, mining and the like.
There is a significant focus on only Bitcoin, with only a single section dedicated to alternative cryptocurrencies. There are 30 other sections for foreign languages, with some of the less-known languages like Malay getting a lot more activity than their counterparts in bitcointalk.
Paying tribute to the cyberpunk roots of Bitcoin is a section on Crypto-Anarchy/Cyberpunks, where you are free to delve into deep philosophical debate on issues such as privacy and anonymity. Perhaps due to this, there is also significantly more “dark” topics on Bitcoin.com forum than on other public ones, as can be seen from traders selling stolen credit cards and pirated software.
Perhaps in congruent with the pseudonymous nature of Bitcoin and its users, you’re more likely to encounter the actual names and faces of personalities on Bitcoin.com forum, thanks to the business nature of Bitcoin.com
Unique to this forum is a section on Ask Me Anything (AMA) which features a few interesting discussions and conversations with the Bitcoin.com management and industry leaders about their involvement in the technology. Fancy a chat with Roger Ver? Or curious to learn the insights from personalities such as Ryan Rabaglia, Head Trader at Octagon Strategy Ltd. and Edward Miroslav, Founder of Prime Dice? Just head on in and ask away!
The team is also active on social media and you can see and talk with many of the same forum posters on Slack, or follow them on Twitter and reddit.
All in all, if you’re looking for a bit more personal engagement with other Bitcoiners, this forum is definitely worth a visit.