Discussions about cryptocurrencies might get heated sometimes but nobody expected that a panel about cryptos would end up with people shouting insults and dirty words at each other on a big conference that should have been considerably more sober at the 2018 Milken Institute Global Conference held in Beverly Hills, California.
The discussion happened on a panel called “Cryptocurrency: Irrational Exuberance or Brave New World?” The panel included Alex Mashinsky (CEO of Celsius Network), Bill Barhydt (founder and CEO of Abra Global), Brent McIntosh (general counsel of the IS Department of Treasury) and Nouriel Roubini (chairman or Roubini Macro Associated LLC and professor of Economics in the Stern School of Business in the New York University).
Moderation of the panel was made, or at least tried to be made, by Anna Irrera, which is a correspondent from Thomson Reuters. Not unlike a playground skirmish or a normal day on social media, the panel ended as a heated discussion between people pro and against cryptocurrencies.
Roubini Against Mashinksy
Known as “Dr. Doom” for his accurate prediction of the 2008 financial crisis, Nouriel Roubini started the discussion. He has often said that Bitcoin is the greatest scam in history in the past. During the panel, he said that digital coins are not currencies because do not really have any value.
His argument is that neither Bitcoin nor Ethereum’s technology can handle the same volume of transactions as Visa does, for instance, so they could not be considered the future.
The conversation got heated when he added at last “All this talk of decentralization is just bullshit”. Alex Mashinksy, which is a blockchain entrepreneur and the owner of Celsius Network, replied “everything you just said is irrelevant”. He undermined Roubini’s knowledge about Bitcoin and stated that Roubini should buy a coin so he would be able to tell how it works.
Even with the attempts of the moderator to cool the discussion down a bit and Brent McIntosh using his authority to warn that he would “regulate this panel” the argument still continued for a while until it finally calmed down.
Also Michael Piwowar, Commissioner at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, had this to say:
“If (an ICO token) is a security, then it falls into three buckets. The first is the registered public offerings; this is the normal IPO, public offer. We’ve not had anybody register a public offering for an ICO. The next bucket is exempt offerings, so if you have an ICO, you have to fit into one of those types of exempted. And the third bucket is illegal […] if you are not falling into the first two buckets, we’ve said we’re coming after you.” … “Bitcoin itself is not a security, but these customized tokens for these initial coin offering – most of them are.”
Stay tuned, it is going to be quite the ride in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain!