There have been some voices in the banking community that are determined to undermine the legitimacy of cryptocurrencies; Jamie Dimon is one, but the loudest voice is that of Nouriel Roubini. This American economist, who made his name on the back of accurately predicting the global financial crisis of 2008 has been making sure that US government senators listen to his dire warnings about digital assets if they are adopted.
Roubini claims that crypto is all about greed; for him there is no case for democracy and decentralisation according to him. His actual words were: “Crypto is the mother or father of all scams and bubbles.” That is what he told the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Community Affairs.
His criticism of the industry is founded in some truth. Yes, there have been scams and some crypto assets will turn out to be worthless, but not all. Still, since when has everybody unilaterally agreed about everything? There is a point to debating the case, because it enables us to come to a clearer conclusion about the potential of the new technology.
Roubini is also an economist who likes to shout pretty loudly about it all being a ‘bubble’. Of course, he wasn’t alone in going on about the Dutch tulip fever of several hundred years ago. He said the bubble would burst, and some might think it has, because in 2018 the market hasn’t lived up to the hype of 2017. But what is happening now isn’t necessarily a bubble bursting; in the future we may look back and see that it was more a case of the market finding its own level before moving forward again. And, Roubini has ignored the potential of stablecoins, which could protect us from the kind of crash we experienced in 2008.
The mainstream media has supported Nouriel Roubini’s view. Crypto sceptics are more regularly interviewed than crypto supporters, and these anti-crypto talking heads fan the flames of the anti-crypto propaganda. But they may have egg on their face when crypto ETFs make their debut.
Roubini told CNBC, which gives him a lot of air time: “Folks with zero financial literacy — individuals who could not tell the difference between stocks and bonds — went into a literal manic frenzy of Bitcoin and Crypto buying.” Well, yes, because not everyone can invest in Wall Street! But this doesn’t make it a scam, or a bubble, or something to be feared.
Give crypto, blockchain and all the attendant new tech tools, such as AI, a chance, because it might deliver something unexpectedly good.