Nouriel Roubini and Peter Van Valkenburgh To Discuss Cryptos In Congress Today


Economist Nouriel Roubini, nicknamed Dr. Doom for predicting the 2008 financial crash, plans to break down his staunch stance against cryptos in front of a group of U.S. senators today. Coin Center's director of research Peter Van Valkenburgh will also be present to defend the crypto ecosystem.

The hearing which starts at 2 PM UTC marks the latest move by members of the U.S. Congress to better understand the emerging technology and asset class. Roubini plans to come out swinging, arguing cryptocurrencies are not a viable unit of account, means of payment or store of value.

Dr. Doom’s Testimony

“Literally, every human being I met between Thanksgiving and Christmas of 2017 asked me” if they should buy cryptocurrency, Roubini said in written testimony prepared for a today’s hearing before the Senate Banking Committee. His testimony titled:

“Crypto is the Mother of All Scams and (Now Busted) Bubbles While Blockchain Is The Most Over-Hyped Technology Ever, No Better than a Spreadsheet/Database”

Cryptocurrencies were exploding in value at the time, with Bitcoin alone peaking at $19,343 in December, compared with $1,000 earlier in the year, and their backers “tapped into clueless retail investors' FOMO — fear of missing out — and took them for a ride,” he said.

As a result, cryptocurrencies have drawn the attention of Trump administration officials from Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton, who worried that investors didn't understand what they were buying and that the products could undermine financial stability.

Roubini regards Bitcoin’s “70 percent collapse” since its price peak, and then compares it favorably with other altcoins, “better known as s**tcoins,” “thousands” of which he alleges have lost “on average” 95% in value.

On Twitter, the economist has blasted cryptocurrencies and the space in general, saying in one tweet that “Decentralization in crypto is a myth … miners are centralized, exchanges are centralized, developers are centralized dictators (Buterin is “dictator for life”).”

Van Valkenburgh’s Testimony

In stark contrast to Roubini's rhetoric on “a failing set of technologies,” Van Valkenburgh's prepared testimony argues that “decentralized computing” can prove beneficial in a number of different use cases, provided lawmakers and regulators allow developers to experiment with the technology and grow the space.

This testimony pushes back against some of the hype surrounding the space as well, noting that blockchain “is not” a “solution to any number of social, economic, organizational or cybersecurity problems.” It even goes as far as to say that the phrase “‘blockchain technology' is a vague and undefined buzzword.”

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