Erik Voorhees of ShapeShift and Peter Schiff Debate Bitcoin at New York’s Soho Forum
Investors and consumers were treated to a spirited debated between two players in the crypto industry – Erik Voorhees and Peter Schiff. The event was hosted on July 2nd in New York with the Soho Forum, which is a debate series that occurs every month in Manhattan.
Erik Voorhees, who is more popularly known as the CEO of ShapeShift, started his argument by saying that government-backed currencies will gradually be wiped out in favor of cryptocurrency instead. He also believes that the blockchain technology will be crucial to this change. In his opinion, Bitcoin just needs to gradually adapt to be victorious in the switch.
As with any good debate, Peter Schiff was available to offer the opposing side to this argument. He spoke about the lack of interest the people seem to have at bitcoin at this point for the sake of purchases. Instead, he argues that most consumers only want to collect the tokens to gain wealth. It is not easy to use Bitcoin in many applications, and it is not a reliable source of value, since it has been fluctuating lately.
Bitcoin has been changing so frequently that it has a loss almost every hour lately, which means that the idea of pricing anything with tokens is incredibly difficult. Schiff stated,
“The biggest problem with bitcoin and why it can never be used as money is because [currency] has to be a reliable store of value, not just a medium of exchange.”
However, since this was a debate after all, Voorhees disagreed. In a statement to the crowd, he said,
“I remember when it was a big deal when bitcoin moved 50 percent. Today, it is a big deal when it moves 10 percent. I think in a few years it'll be a big deal when it moves 2-3 percent. While bitcoin is volatile today, I think this problem is self-correcting.”
The only topic that it seems that the two agree on is the eventual failure of fiat currency. Schiff does not even believe in the use of fiat currency, saying, “The fiat system that we have now is not going to work,” but “replacing fiat currency with digital currency is not an improvement.”
Another concern brought up in the lengthy debate is whether bitcoin can be used as a valuable exchange for certain precious metals. Schiff stated that gold’s long-standing source of value in the economy would not be easily taken over. By longevity alone, it has already surpassed any other currencies through the years. Schiff commented,
“What are the odds that bitcoin's the best cryptocurrency that's ever going to be invented? … Nobody's come up with a better gold.”
Voorhees seemed to step back from this argument slightly. However, he mentioned the possibility of another currency coming in if a government was to create a ban. “Well, the government can absolutely outlaw bitcoin. More easily [than it would be to ban gold],” Voorhees said. Furthermore, he stated that Bitcoin could never thrive the same way, because it failed to meet the four main functions of money. He added,
“The biggest obstacle to adoption is most individuals want governments to manage money for them. Until that changes, bitcoin will play second fiddle.”
Schiff argued that the market is motivated by the hope and prediction that Bitcoin will rise, though Voorhees retorted with noting that bitcoin lacks censorship and has limited supply. He even brought up the fact that Bitcoin is much easier to use in cross-border transactions. Furthermore, anyone that transacts with Bitcoin is not subject to the same time restrictions as a bank would be.
At the beginning and the end of the debate, attendees were asked If Bitcoin had the necessary tools to beat government. Though the “yay” votes were only 40% of the crowd when they began, the number rose to 55% by the end of the session.