Impending crypto apocalypse? Or radicalised crypto critics?

  • “The price of Bitcoin has dropped in recent weeks, but cryptocurrencies are redefining and reshaping the financial system and their influence is growing. Denying this puts you on the wrong side of history.”

    This is the unequivocal message from the founder and CEO of the independent financial advisory deVere Group, Nigel Green.

    He is “speaking out” as the price of Bitcoin - the largest cryptocurrency by market cap - has fallen 6% since the beginning of November, prompting many critics to launch tirades against digital money.

    Last week American economist and known “hater” of cryptocurrency, Nouriel Roubini declared there to be a ‘total crypto-apocalypse.’ The Ethereum blockchain was the focus of his Twitter attack, when he posted “Crypto-Apocalypse: Ethereum down 90% from the peak, in free fall and now close to the 2018 low.  Still a long way from zero that is its fundamental value. Actually it is worth negative given all the toxic externalities of energy waste and pollution that its mining generates.”

    Mr Green disputed this with a lengthy speech. He said: “Many crypto critics are becoming radicalised in their attacks.

    “The reality is that there are peaks and troughs in all financial markets, the cryptocurrency market is not – and should not be - any different. Yet each time there is a dip in the market or bouts of volatility in cryptocurrencies, the crypto haters declare that digital currencies are finished - only for them to subsequently experience a rally.

    “The same people do not make such extreme and unfounded statements with most other financial markets. I would suggest that most people saying these things do not understand the crypto sector as it is relatively young and/or have vested interests in older, traditional ones.”

    “However, whether they like it or not, dyed-in-the-wool financial traditionalists need to accept that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. The world has changed in three significant ways that support the rise of cryptocurrencies.

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    “First is technological advancement. We are adopting more and more technology into our lives. And the rate at which we’re doing so is increasing rapidly.

    “Second are political shifts. There is an appetite, a huge and growing one, for currencies that are not controlled by central banks and governments. Supporters believe that these digital currencies are part of the antidote to what they see as the ills caused by the traditional system.

    “And third is globalization. We’re all becoming increasingly interdependent and internationally-minded, and this, when harnessed properly, is an immensely positive force for trade, commerce and prosperity across the world.

    “Temporary market dips or bouts of volatility can have negative outcomes, but to believe they are necessarily and entirely negative is misguided.

    “In the crypto market, as in all financial markets, movements of this nature create important buying opportunities and can be capitalised upon by investors for their long-term financial gain. Using them effectively can be a very rewarding strategy.”

    This is not the first time Roubini has declared war on cryptocurrency. In 2018 he delivered a 37-page long speech detailing how crypto could never compare to real money, in front of the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. In July of this year, he asserted that the price of bitcoin will go to zero in a debate with bitcoin futures exchange, BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes.

    He has previously stated that “blockchain is the most hyped technology in history and is no better than a spreadsheet” in a critique against the underlying tech behind digital currencies.

    Mr Roubini does not appear to have responded to Nigel Green’s comments at the time of this publication, but has still taken to Twitter to show his distaste for China’s recent “cryptocurrency crackdown”, and share articles suggesting that a “blockchain expert aided North Korea”.

    If you are undecided on whether you feel cryptocurrency is the future, or you are cynical of it like Roubini, read Sync’s previous article detailing crypto and the various arguments for and against it here.

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    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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