Bitcoin has been the dark horse of the investment industry: within hours of hitting the US$10,000 milestone, it zoomed past US$11,000 and officially achieved an almost 12-fold year-to-date price increase. But as it undergoes stomach-churning price swings
, experts have debated on the sustainability and sense of Bitcoin’s surge in value — and two strong voices have joined opposite sides of the argument.
Among the latest to predict a bitcoin bubble is Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. In an interview with Bloomberg Television, the Columbia University professor and economist said the digital asset “is successful only because of its potential for circumvention [and] lack of oversight.”
“So it seems to me it ought to be outlawed,” Stiglitz said, echoing the sentiments of others who question the legitimacy of digital offerings
. “It doesn’t serve any socially useful function.”
But not everyone agrees. “Worthy recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences and fellow Columbia University alumnus Joseph Stiglitz has certainly proven himself to be astute,” cryptocurrency expert David Mondrus said in an emailed statement. “However, it is my unwavering belief that he misses the point on Bitcoin.”
Mondrus is certainly a credible advocate for Bitcoin and other blockchain-based innovations. He is the first person to be married on the blockchain. He is also the CEO of Trive, a company that aims to block misinformation and empower journalists using a blockchain-based engine.
“Yes, circumvention of third parties, including government is one of the major uses/cases of Bitcoin, but it is precisely because of the failure and overreach of such parties that it was invented,” he said. “Let's remember that the Madoffs served on both the NASDAQ and SIFMA; that Enron had the ‘smartest guys in the room’; and that MERS [the Mortgage Electronic Registration System in the US] was a direct violation of the laws of 26 states and yet was created regardless.”
According to Mondrus, regulators have been either ineffective in preventing violations, or complicit in the commission of such violations. “Strengthening regulations in the face of this history works about as well as marijuana prohibition,” he said.
“Maybe it's time we stopped relying on third parties, governments and regulators to keep us safe and relied on ourselves,” he added. “Maybe it's time for personal responsibility and self-determination. Maybe it's time for sovereignty.”
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