Nouriel Roubini renewed his objections to crypto, warning people to stay away as 99% of it is a scam.
“FTX, SBF are not an exception; they are a rule. Nearly 99% of crypto is a scam, criminal activity, bubble, Ponzi scheme. It’s going bust.”
Roubini has a long history of voicing negative opinions about digital assets. For example, as reported by CryptoSlate over two years ago, the American Economist blasted Bitcoin’s value proposition, saying it had no place in investment portfolios due to its lack of intrinsic value, the prevalence of market manipulation, and extreme price volatility.
Riding on the recent FTX turmoil, Roubini took the opportunity to restate his negativity towards the cryptocurrency sector. But does he have a point?
Crypto is a scam
Speaking to Yahoo Finance from Davos, Roubini explained that millions of disadvantaged individuals, including “young people, people who have lower incomes, or minorities,” were suckered into buying Bitcoin at the top.
“Most of them got FOMO in 2021 when it skyrocketed to 20, to 30, to 50, to 69 [thousand dollars], and 99% of them bought well above the current market value. So they lost their shirts.”
Continuing, he said, “that’s just Bitcoin alone,” and that altcoins had fared much worse during the bear cycle, with some losing “95%” in value. Further, of the “20,000 ICOs,” “officially, 80% were a scam, and another 17% have gone to zero,” and the people behind them belong in jail.
When pressed on the value of blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) over cryptocurrency, Roubini said he remained skeptical because it is overhyped technology that cannot deliver on its promise of trustlessness without some centralized and accredited input.
Giving the example of using DLT to verify organic tomatoes, Roubini said that the process still needs people to verify the farms are using organic cultivation methods and further verification that the products in the store are the same as what was verified on the farm.
“After you’ve tested it and you’ve made sure the tomatoes are organic, you can put it on a centralized database that is as good and cheaper than DLT. So the idea that DLT can create trust is impossible because, in reality, you always need some credible institution that validates transactions.”
Is Roubini right?
The accuracy of Roubini’s percentage data is questionable, as is his lax use of the term “ICOs,” which faded away in 2019 due to the term’s association with rug pulls.
However, considering the events of 2022, even the most diehard crypto supporters would concede he has a point.
The most upvoted comment in a cryptocurrency Reddit post discussing the interview agreed with Roubini’s general premise on the prevalence of scams.
“Basically yes. With 100-1000 tokens released every day and rugged a few minutes – hours after it could be more than 90%.”
Most other comments echoed that view, with one saying a 99% scam rate is a conservative estimate.