“But please, the microphone is only used to talk and not to throw it at each other”, thus begins – ironically speaking, with the best premises – the Roger Ver vs Nouriel Roubini debate that was held yesterday, October 15th, at the CC London Forum 2019.
The clash starts on fire with Roubini who says that cryptocurrencies are not money because they do not respect any of the laws of finance. “Most people in this sector don’t know anything about money, economy, finance, financial institutions”.
Ver and Roubini’s arguments are completely opposite, with one trying to contradict the other. Roubini argues that cryptocurrencies are not scalable, that nobody uses them as a payment method and that no merchant accepts them; on the contrary, Ver explains how Bitcoin Cash processes a hundred transactions per second and is used by hundreds of merchants all over the world.
“The value of all financial assets worldwide is 8 trillion, so 2 million is a tiny percentage. In addition, bitcoin has lost 60% of its value since its peak, and the price of Bitcoin Cash has been collapsing during the last 12 months, so it’s a joke. The problem is not only volatility but also the fact that cryptocurrencies are not payment methods. Nobody uses them,” says Roubini.
Are fiat currencies a store of value?
And so the debate turns to fiat currencies, which are also somewhat volatile and are not a store of value.
“This is a 10,000 yen banknote, or about 90 dollars. Not too long ago a single yen was worth an ounce of silver, so this banknote was worth 200 thousand dollars a short time ago. Is this a store of value? This is what happens when you have a central bank with a small group of people who can print as much money as they want at any time, for any reason. But with cryptocurrencies, we know how many there are and how many there will be tomorrow and we don’t have to trust politicians and governments,” explains Ver.
Crypto and Brexit: what relationship?
The setting of the debate changes and the moderator asks Ver and Roubini if they think that crypto will be used more in case of economic crisis such as a hard Brexit.
“I don’t think that cryptocurrencies will benefit. Let’s take as an example Argentina, where several times there has been hyperinflation and people have continued to use the Peso. If they wanted to use an alternative they could use the US dollar. Why would you want to use cryptocurrencies that have lost 95% of their value in one year?” explains Roubini.
Roubini doesn’t see “any evidence” that cryptocurrencies are being used, not even in countries like Argentina or Venezuela where instead, it is known, currencies like bitcoin are increasingly being used, reaching new trading highs on platforms like Localbitcoins.
Roger replied: “Okay, if you take the data of 2017, prices have decreased a bit but look at 4 years ago, 6 years ago, 10 years ago. It’s amazing how many people are using these currencies, how much bigger is the market cap today. It’s too simplistic if you compare it to the highest peak. Look at one year earlier. If you want to ignore cryptocurrencies it’s fine, it will be worse for you, not for all the people in the world”.
According to Roubini, crypto is all about “CryptoKitties, casinos, gambling and Ponzi schemes”, while Ver rightly continues to say that the killer app of crypto is being a form of money. Here, in fact, we no longer talk about bitcoin or bitcoin cash and maximalist debates, but about how crypto can change the world, which is the most important thing and the reason why Satoshi wrote the whitepaper back in 2008.
“Surely governments have good reasons to stop all this. You can’t afford to send money from one side to the other without an email, without limits and without control,” says Roubini. By acknowledging that this is possible with crypto, Roubini confirms that cryptocurrencies can be used in certain heated contexts, namely “criminals, terrorists and tax evaders”.
Roubini, in fact, begins to insult Ver by calling his project “shitcoin” and bringing up his past. Surely not the theme of the panel that wanted to be more constructive than that.
Here for the full debate Roger Ver vs Nouriel Roubini: