Often touted as a store of value or hedge asset, Bitcoin (BTC) has gained significant mainstream adoption over the past several months. Kenneth Rogoff, a public policy and economics professor at Harvard University, doubts the asset’s success, however.
"I can see Bitcoin being used in failed states,” Rogoff said in a Bloomberg interview on Thursday, adding:
“It's conceivable, you know, it could have some use in a dystopian future, but I think the governments are not going to allow pseudonymous transactions on a big scale. They're just not going to allow it. The regulation will come in. The government will win. It doesn't matter what the technology is."
Bitcoin has weathered its fair share of criticisms throughout its 12-year history. Gold advocate Peter Schiff often comments against the technology, investor Warren Buffett once referred to the asset as "probably rat poison squared" and financial commentator Dennis Gartman expressed skepticism toward Bitcoin in late 2020, just to name a few examples.
Bitcoin adoption has continued to grow despite the skeptics, however. The asset broke past previous all-time price highs, hitting a recent peak near $42,000 after multiple large mainstream companies publicized their BTC purchases in 2020.
"I certainly think I agree that it's speculative,” Rogoff said of Bitcoin.
"I've been a Bitcoin skeptic, and certainly, the price has gone up, but there's sort of an ultimate question of what's the use. Is it just valuable because people think it's valuable? That is a bubble that would blow up."
“I think, over the long run, if there's not a use, yes, the bubble will burst,” Rogoff posited. “I hope there's not such a valuable use, but I suppose it’s a hedge against dystopia."