Bitcoin is a scam that's only good for criminals. That's what Four Nobel Prize winners in economics said about the top cryptocurrency by market cap.
Nobel laureates James Heckman (2000), Thomas Sargent (2011), Angus Deaton (2015), and Oliver Hart (2016) expressed collective skepticism when asked about bitcoin at a UBS panel discussion this week.
"I'm skeptical about bitcoin, probably like the others," Oliver Hart said, as reported by Yahoo Finance. "[2011 Nobel laureate for economics] Christopher Sims gave a talk, and I think he said it should have a zero price, which is basically what I think."
Angus Deaton agreed, saying cryptocurrencies are too volatile and speculative to be credible investment vehicles.
"Does the world really need another speculative asset? The only advantage as far as I can see is you can be a crook. You don't want to leave any record. It's not an accident that people who demand ransoms demand them in bitcoin. I'm not sure anyone else does."However, the Nobel laureates agreed that blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, can be useful. That's a growing consensus even among cryptocurrency skeptics.
As the Inquisitr has reported, Samsung Electronics — the world's largest manufacturer of semiconductors and smartphones — is considering using a blockchain ledger system to keep track of its global shipments in a move that could slash its shipping costs by 20 percent.
While bitcoin has become a media darling recently thanks to its meteoric price spikes, there's a growing chorus of vocal skeptics who think the entire virtual currency industry is a scam.
Bill Harris, the founding CEO of PayPal and former CEO of Intuit, trashed bitcoin as a "colossal pump-and-dump scheme" that's conning millions of investors around the world.
"A bitcoin has no value at all," Harris wrote in a scathing blog post. "Cryptocurrency is best-suited for one use: Criminal activity. Because transactions can be anonymous — law enforcement cannot easily trace who buys and sells — its use is dominated by illegal endeavors."Bitcoin advocates dismiss the virulent anti-crypto sentiment, saying digital assets are the wave of the future because you can't stop progress.
Many point out that there was similar apprehension when the internet first launched. Same with credit cards and e-commerce businesses such as Amazon. Who would have thought that so many people would buy clothes, household appliances, electronics, and even groceries online? Yet that's now the norm in many parts of the world.
Tech billionaire Tim Draper, an avowed crypto evangelist, says bitcoin is "bigger than the internet" and it's going to take over the world, so haters can step off.
"This is bigger than the internet," Draper said. "It's bigger than the Iron Age, the Renaissance. It's bigger than the Industrial Revolution. This affects the entire world and it's going to be affected in a faster and more prevalent way than you ever imagined." So who's right? Time will tell.