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Crypto Naysayer Nouriel Roubini Speaks Before Senate Committee

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New York University professor and economist Nouriel Roubini (aka “Dr. Doom“) testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking.  This detractor of cryptocurrency and blockchain presented his opinions about the failure of the system, and its lack of value.

Roubini has long spoken out against Bitcoin. He was given his nickname based on his predictions that it would fail.  He sees the 2018 market slump as proof of his convictions. And though his opinion is highly debatable, Roubini has gained popularity due to the current conditions.

Roubini had some strong words about crypto

The economist is notorious for his emphatic, often expletive language, and today was no exception. It may even seem a little unorthodox to curse before a Senate committee, but Roubini didn’t hold back. One example from his testimony is:

“Actually calling this useless vaporware garbage a ‘s—coin’ is a grave insult to manure that is a most useful, precious and productive good as a fertilizer in agriculture.”

 In his 35-page testimony, Roubini doesn’t mince words.  He details his views about how, overall, cryptocurrecy is “the mother of all scams”. Perhaps his most cutting criticism is that crypto doesn’t even deliver on its promises. He finds it hypocritical, and says it’s not decentralized at all.  In fact, he likened it to North Korea. As for the blockchain, he claimed it’s “nothing better than a glorified spreadsheet”.

Roubini considers the current state of the market to be sufficient evidence that blockchain has failed

Of course, proponents do not agree. Many innovators delve beyond currency exchange, applying blockchain to business operations, file sharing, and other systems and data chains. To them, the 2018 slump doesn’t detract from the persistence of the blockchain itself. Therefore, if more and more people use it, then it’s thriving, not failing.  To be fair, Roubini’s testimony doesn’t include this aspect since that’s not his goal in addressing the banking committee.  However, it may be something that begs consideration as part of the question on whether or not blockchain is succeeding.

The questions of decentralization and whether cryptocurrency’s value is truly independent of the stock market is up for debate. However, the technology is very new. Furthermore, Roubini criticizes the wastefulness of Bitcoin’s energy consumption. Moreover, the growing network is facing sustainability issues, but developers are working to solve them.

2019 might be a significant year to see how these issues develop.


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