Bill Harris, co-founding but short-lived CEO of Paypal, has written an opinion piece on Bitcoin in which he claims the cryptocurrency is “a scam… a colossal pump-and-dump scheme, the likes of which the world has never seen,” published on Recode Tuesday, April 24.
Harris’s argument targeted Bitcoin on three fronts, asserting it is useless as a means of payment, is extremely volatile, and has “no intrinsic value.”
He also placed heavy emphasis on the criminal exploitation of resource-hungry mining, targeting by hackers, and the scam-beset history of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), failing to distinguish the latter fundraising model from Bitcoin itself.
Harris also asserted that “most” ordinary Bitcoin buyers are everywhere breaking the law, failing to file taxes on their capital gains. Moreover, “most heavy users of Bitcoin are criminals.”
Much of the article appears to lump together Bitcoin with other crypto assets, despite the point of the article ostensibly being how Bitcoin is itself a scam. Harris neglects to mention the political arguments for cryptocurrencies in the post-2008 financial crash context, including censorship resilience, tamper-proof consensus, and decentralization.
Harris was ousted from his role as CEO of the newly merged X.com and Coinfinity - the entity which would later become PayPal - in April 2000, just one month after the merger. This has happened amid allegations he was unable to handle scaling issues posed by PayPal’s success, as well as his misplaced focus on “unproductive approaches.”
Peter Thiel, who became CEO of Paypal after Harris’s ousting - and stayed conspicuously longer in the job - is famous for being bullish on Bitcoin, comparing it to gold and affirming its potential to revolutionize the financial sphere.
Yesterday, news broke of an MIT article looking into ways to “destroy” Bitcoin, envisaging control by governments or even a stealth Facebook takeover.