- By Pierre-Alexandre
April 6th, 2019
Nouriel Roubini, a New York University economics professor, has become popular over the past few months for his several attacks on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as he believes that they lack virtually everything they claim to stand for. The crypto critic was involved in a debate with perhaps the second most popular figure in the crypto space after Satoshi, Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of Ethereum:
Roubini still believes cryptos are ineffective
Nouriel Roubini’s attack on cryptos over the past few months was based on his claim that they are volatile, inefficient, prone to price manipulation, fake volumes recorded, non-scalable, suffer from hacks, and other vices.
Buterin meanwhile pointed out that the advent of crypto has significantly reduced censorship as the decentralized nature of digital currencies makes it impossible to do that. The second important aspect that crypto has been beneficial is how easy it has become to pay workers and contractors all over the world using digital currencies, Buterin noted.
Roubini believes that government and regulators would eventually take over the cryptocurrency space and it would no longer be anonymous. The critic pointed out that even in countries with hyperinflation, governments can ensure that cryptos’ entities are registered while they could also impose heavy taxes on cryptocurrency holders.
Roubini added that he is not a firm believer in privacy because there is a need for the government to know about people’s finances due to issues such as tax evasion and the funding of criminals and terrorists.
The Ethereum co-founder in his reply stated that whether the crypto space survives government interference or not, the advent of cryptocurrencies has created a new social awareness regarding privacy that regulators would have to adhere to. Central bank digital currency (CBDC) developers all over the world would have to put privacy into consideration when developing their cryptos if they expect those currencies to become acceptable, he added.
Buterin further said that privacy solutions like ZK-SNARK would allow people to make use of anonymous cryptocurrencies and make private payments while operating within the confinement of the law. He expressed his admiration for ZK-SNARK, adding that it is a legitimately really cool feature.
While discussing the issue of decentralization, Roubini stated that at the moment, there is massive centralization within the crypto space such as with cryptocurrency exchanges and project developers.
On his part, Buterin expressed concerns over the extreme centralization involved in the traditional payment systems. He pointed out that crypto is yet to reach its peak and is still under development. For that reason, Buterin expects some features such as sharding to reduce the centralization with the crypto industry, adding that the industry is still young and has time to develop further.
Was happy to wear together with @VitalikButerin the PTK tee-shirt at our debate in Seoul. PTK is the greatest of all shitcoins: now anyone can become Quadrillionaire overnight!— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) April 4, 2019
How I became a Crypto Quadrillionaire without writing a single line of code…https://t.co/IsQNlYESMx
Roubini did receive some boos from the crowd due to his negative views on cryptocurrencies. While he makes some valid points, it is worthy to note that the cryptocurrency space is still in its infancy and there is room for developments and improvements over the coming years.
Vitalik has a better understanding of the generation fueling the crypto tech. Roubini likely understands the generation of the current power brokers better.— Ladislav Stejskal (@ladislavtweet) April 5, 2019
Who would you place your bets on?https://t.co/UWp5OCn9Qw
No KOs. Ended essentially as predicted. Nouriel held his ground. Vitalik was on the defensive side.— Emin Gün Sirer (@el33th4xor) April 4, 2019
There are so many things that could have been said about Nouriel's stance that did but get said that a second debate is called for, IMO.https://t.co/UpkiLjPMtR
“@Nouriel makes some very strong points about the lack of current cryptocurrency and blockchain applications. Unfortunately, he looks at the crypto ecosystem on a look-backward basis, while @VitalikButerin views it on a look-forward basis." https://t.co/gVudwr8a0t— Mike Dudas (@mdudas) April 4, 2019