Since the advent of Bitcoin, almost everyone and their mother has given their opinion on the future of digital currencies. There has been no shortage of skeptics with little knowledge about blockchain predicting the inevitable death of cryptocurrencies.
The opinion of most skeptics has unfortunately been overwhelmingly directed at Bitcoin as a fleeting trend. Others have called cryptocurrencies insubstantial asset that are only backed by the faith of fools. For instance, Warren Buffet has called Bitcoin a “delusion” that only “attracts charlatans.”
What most skeptics fail to consider is the fact that money is also an illusion, whose only real value stems from its symbolic power. Bitcoin stands out from regular money in that it is censorship-resistant and transparent.
In this article, we are going to look at some misleading opinions by crypto skeptics and how these odious takes on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have been proven wrong with time.
1. Jamie Dimon
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is one of the most notable Bitcoin skeptics that was seemingly converted to a believer.
He is famously quoted for referring to Bitcoin as a scam and saying that he had “no interest” in the digital currency. Dimon further predicted that cryptocurrencies might be “shut down by the government.” He is even reported saying that he would “fire any of his traders if they were dumb enough to” buy Bitcoin.
Even though Dimon has not retracted his disdain for Bitcoin, he regrets calling Bitcoin a fraud and has since acknowledged the power of cryptocurrencies — especially considering that his bank is leveraging the technology that powers cryptocurrencies.
2. Bill Harris
Bill Harris the former CEO of PayPal is another notable crypto skeptic, who is reported to have called Bitcoin a scam. In his opinion, the cryptocurrency industry is nothing but “a colossal pump and dump scheme, the likes of which the world has never seen.”
While there is no denying the rampant speculation and pump-and-dump schemes in the cryptocurrency industry, making a blanket statement about the entire industry is misleading.
The claim that Bitcoin is a scam or a Ponzi scheme is one of the oldest comments made by crypto skeptics like Harris. As Harris put it, the entire cryptocurrency industry is made up of “ill-informed buyers who are caught up in the spiral of greed” in what he called a “massive transfer of wealth.”
The reality, however, is that Bitcoin operates on the same logic as gold or other assets. At its core, cryptocurrencies are assets that are seizure- and censorship-resistant. Their price is determined by supply and demand. A good example is how Bitcoin’s price continued to rise in 2017 despite rising transactional fees.
3. Kevin Roose
Kevin Roose, an author and New York Magazine journalist, wrote an article in 2013 in which he detailed his personal experience buying Bitcoin. He opens the piece by saying, “Yesterday, I did something irrational. […] I decided to buy a Bitcoin.”
In the article, he wrote about how the “Bitcoin dream is all but dead.”
After the experiment, he later sold his Bitcoin for $140, calling Bitcoin a bubble.
One of the factors that led Roose to initially dismiss Bitcoin as a failed experiment was the lack of merchants accepting Bitcoin at the time. Currently, however, Bitcoin has taken over the cryptocurrency market, with popular companies like Wikipedia, Microsoft and Overstock.com accepting Bitcoin payments.
4. Donald Trump
You would be wrong to assume United States President Donal Trump would advocate for censorship-resistant money. The U.S. president’s views about cryptocurrencies are pretty clear: He is not “a fan of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies” since they are “not money.”
That’s what Trump writes on Twitter, “I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity…. […] We have only one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever, both dependable and reliable. It is by far the most dominant currency anywhere in the World, and it will always stay that way. It is called the United States Dollar!”.
Meanwhile, Bitcoin’s price continues to rise as U.S. stock and bonds hit record lows. Bitcoin is mimicking a safe-haven asset because it has no ties to the geopolitical events and trades wars that affect the U.S. dollar.
Besides, the fact cryptocurrencies are being mentioned by highly ranked global leaders like President Trump (albeit in a negative light) is a clear show of how cryptocurrencies have an ever-expanding presence in the finance industry.
5. Don Tapscott
Known today as the founder of a Toronto-based blockchain research institute — not to mention the co-author of the book “Blockchain Revolution” — Don Tapscott was not always a believer. Tapscott is a converted Bitcoin skeptic who used to believe that Bitcoin would never fly.
He, however, disproved his previous beliefs about Bitcoin and has now changed his mind. Currently, he thinks Bitcoin is not just going to fly as a currency but that the underlying blockchain technology is a core part of the next generation of the internet.
6. David Fritsche
David Fritsche, a NASA programmer, is another Bitcoin skeptic who believes that mass volatility will lead Bitcoin to its death bed.
According to Fritsche, the volatility of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin prevents them from being used as money.
In reality, however, people all over the world are using Bitcoin as a store of value without caring about the short-term price swings. Besides, people living in devastated economies without access to global financial systems often turn to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin as their only digital payment service. Furthermore, developments are ongoing to build a payment layer on top of Bitcoin, thus enabling easy payments despite the volatile prices.
7. Frances Coppola
When Bitcoin crashed from its record high of $19,000 to about $4,000 last year, Frances Coppola, a former banker wrote in an article that “there are no signs that the price is going to rise again anytime soon.”
While criticizing Bitcoin maximalists who believe that Bitcoin will eventually “replace all government-issued money,” Coppola pointed out how “the idea of Bitcoin as the one true currency is an impossible dream.”
Currently, however, Bitcoin’s price is recovering from the 2018 bear market, contrary to Coppola’s prediction about the price never rising any time soon.
8. Calvin Ayre
Another prediction about Bitcoin from a crypto skeptic that totally went south was that of Calvin Ayre, a Canadian billionaire entrepreneur who forced the Bitcoin Cash hard fork.
In his 2018 prediction about Bitcoin, he mentioned that it will go to “zero value” and that “it has no utility.”
Contrary to his prediction, reports indicate that Bitcoin continues to thrive as the top cryptocurrency. Also, in terms of mass adoption, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have improved.
9. Antony Garcia
Antony Garcia, a technical trader, also joins the long list of crypto skeptics who have erroneously predicted the end of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies time and time again.
According to Garcia: “Bitcoin has no chance of success because it’s worthless. It has nothing backing it but an illusion; no gold or silver or even a decree that its legal tender. It has no intrinsic value and no one needs it.”
To being with, the fact that developers are working on the Lightning Network to scale the Bitcoin network for faster transactions is evidence of the need, demand and usefulness of Bitcoin as a payment system.
If Bitcoin is disqualified as money because it’s not backed by tangible assets like gold, then the value of fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar should also be put to question, as the gold standard was lifted in 1971.
10. Peter Mallouk
At the tail end of 2018, when Bitcoin’s price had crashed, shedding about 80% of its previous value to be priced at $3,432.12, Peter Mallouk, an investment consultant, proclaimed Bitcoin to be dead. He said:
“It won’t go quietly but the recent precipitous drop may be the beginning of its inevitable inexorable death spiral […] I see Bitcoin as a dead man walking. Future generations may read about Bitcoin in a finance textbook as a curiosity and wonder what all the fuss was about.”
However, like many other Bitcoin and cryptocurrency skeptics, Mallouk was wrong about Bitcoin. As world-leading organizations continue to acknowledge the potential of blockchain, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are gaining traction as well. Interest has grown so much such that major financial institutions are creating cryptocurrency tools in response. Even Facebook is joining the cryptocurrency fray with its digital currency, Libra.
Most crypto skeptics will present arguments that revolve around the fact that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have a value based on illusion. What they fail to understand, however, is that just like cryptocurrencies, most fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar also have a value system based on illusion. The only difference is that for fiat currencies, the illusion is fiercely believed and widely spread. We might just be heading into a world where cryptocurrencies become globally accepted as a medium of exchange. However until we get there, we will have to contend with the never-ending predictions of crypto skeptics.