In crypto, hot Bitcoin takes come thick and fast. And often, it’s headstrong boomers serving them up.
Indeed, there’s just something about Bitcoin that prompts knee-jerk reactions from the older generation. This year has been no exception.
Here, we present a choice selection of anti-Bitcoin rhetoric from the past 12 months.
Steve Hanke: Crypto is fiat on steroids
Renowned academic and John Hopkins professor of applied economics Steve Hanke recently snubbed crypto during a video call with Yahoo! Finance.
“A lot of people in the crypto ecosystem claim that cryptos are an alternative to fiat money. Name one crypto that isn’t fiat money.”
“It’s ridiculous, cryptos are fiat — on steroids,” said Hanke without justification in a frustratingly short clip that made headlines nonetheless.
It’s likely Hanke is referring to cryptocurrencies with no supply cap or arbitrary governance. Hanke also called Argentine president Alberto Fernández “incompetence on steroids” in May.
In any case, he then took aim at crypto lobbyists in complementary one-minute-thirty clip. “They [crypto lobbyists] want to rig the casino so they can disintermediate the banks.”
“They want to eliminate the banks, and the best way to do that is to have the bank regulated one way and the digital banks regulated in another way. That’s the name of the game,” reasoned Hanke.
Hanke’s comments are consistent with his past analysis. Earlier this month, he laid into Square and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey for suggesting that Bitcoin will one day replace the US dollar.
And back in February, Hanke made the case that Bitcoin would eventually “death spiral” to $0 — its true intrinsic value.
Dr. Doom revels in price corrections
Notorious crypto skeptic Nouriel Roubini, also known as “Dr. Doom,” is well-known for super-bearish Bitcoin takes.
Back in November, he branded Bitcoin a “pseudo-asset,” denied it was a hedge against inflation, and warned investors are just “feeding the bubble.”
Also speaking to to Yahoo! Finance, Roubini said:
“People say Bitcoin’s a store of value against tail risk, but in February and March of last year when US stocks went down, say 35%, Bitcoin was not a hedge — it went down by 50%”.
“The reality is that no one knows what the value of this pseudo-asset is,” Roubini added.
He’s since stated that cryptocurrencies fail to meet the criteria for true currency.
Roubini also compared crypto tokens unfavorably with The Flintstones’ “shells-for-money” system, a rehashed version of a joke he made in 2018.
Peter Schiff wants to disinherit son for buying Bitcoin
Gold bug economist Peter Schiff’s problem with Bitcoin also comes down to its supposed lack of intrinsic value.
“At the end of the day, when you peel the onion and get to what’s really there, there’s nothing there,” Schiff told the Motley Fool in July.
A few months earlier, Schiff threatened to disinherit his son after he “drunk the Kool-Aid” and moved 100% of his asset portfolio into Bitcoin.
“[My son] sold the last of his silver stocks to raise the cash. If my own son is this brainwashed imagine how vulnerable most kids are,” tweeted Schiff in March.
Schiff then voiced disbelief at the people who seemed happy that his son had gone all-in on Bitcoin.
“They’re congratulating him for basically having no diversification whatsoever and for putting 100% of basically his personal net worth into a highly speculative and volatile crypto asset,” he said (via Motley Fool, our emphasis).
Although, Schiff did note there was one cryptocurrency he could get behind: a token backed by gold.
Bill Gates implies only world’s richest should be in crypto
In February, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates effectively told Bloomberg that only the world’s richest people should feel comfortable investing in Bitcoin.
According to Gates, unless your second name happens to be Musk, you should probably stay away altogether.
“Elon has tons of money and he’s very sophisticated, so I don’t worry that his Bitcoin will sort of randomly go up or down,” said Gates.
“I do think people get bought into these manias who may not have as much money to spare. My general thought would be that if you have less money than Elon, you should probably watch out.”
Around the same time, Gates joked in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that cryptocurrencies are the one tech innovation that the world could do without — behind bio weapons.
“The way cryptocurrency works today allows for certain criminal activities. It’d be good to get rid of that,” posited Gates.
“I probably should have said bio weapons. That’s a really bad thing. We shouldn’t have technology for that. Bio weapons is the right answer.”
Although, Gates did say (slightly) nice things about how crypto helps move money around the world.
It should be noted that Gates told a Reddit Q&A in 2018 that not only was Bitcoin a risky investment, it was directly responsible for killing people.
“The main feature of cryptocurrencies is their anonymity,” claimed Gates. “The government’s ability to find money laundering and tax evasion and terrorist funding is a good thing.
“Right now, cryptocurrencies are used for buying fentanyl and other drugs, so it is a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way.”
Computer scientist says list proves Bitcoin is a Ponzi
- People invest in it because they expect good profits.
- The expectation of profit is sustained by paying those who choose to cash out.
- There is no external source of revenue for those payoffs.
- Money paid out comes entirely from new investments.
- The operators take a large amount of this money for themselves.
By Stolfi’s reckoning, the first two points mark Bitcoin as a straightforward fraud, rather than just a risky investment.
“As a minimum, the operators should warn investors of the negative-sum character and negative expected profit,” wrote Stolfi.
It’s not clear who Bitcoin’s “operators” are in this context, but Stolfi is likely referring to miners.
“In the case of Bitcoin (and all other cryptos) … there are thousands of promoters and ‘investment experts’ who predict impressive price increases and/or claim that Bitcoin will have massive uses in the future that would somehow make it valuable,” wrote Stolfi, our emphasis.
“Those promoters never point out that such massive uses would not translate into revenue for the investors.”
JPMorgan boss still thinks Bitcoin is worthless, loves blockchain
In October, JPMorgan chief exec Jamie Dimon told Axios that Bitcoin has “no intrinsic value” and predicted “regulators are going to regulate the hell out of it.”
Dimon subsequently labeled Bitcoin as “worthless” in an interview with CNBC and summed up by saying, “I don’t care. It makes no difference to me,”
He did reason that he wouldn’t warn his clients away from crypto. Speaking to CNBC, Dimon said:
“Our clients are adults, they disagree. That’s what makes markets. So, if they want to have access to buy yourself Bitcoin, we can’t custody it but we can give them legitimate, as clean as possible, access.”
It’s worth pointing out that Dimon has been a vocal Bitcoin critic for years, despite JPMorgan’s own usage of blockchain-powered ledgers.
He was even a progenitor of the “blockchain, not Bitcoin” meme that came out of Wall Street in late 2017. JPMorgan eventually tokenized gold bars and diamonds on its own permissioned blockchain system.
When Dimon was asked whether he still considered Bitcoin a fraud in October 2018, the billionaire banker replied:
“I never changed what I said, I just regret having said that. I didn’t want to be the spokesperson against Bitcoin, I just don’t give a fuck. That’s the point.”
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