Economist Nouriel Roubini: Blockchain and bitcoin are the world’s biggest scams

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New York University professor and global economist Nouriel Roubini testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking last week, saying cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin are the mother of all scams and bubbles.

He followed that assertion up by calling blockchain, the technology unpinning bitcoin, “the most over-hyped — and least useful — technology in human history.”

Today, Roubini doubled down on his claims in a column published on CNBC.com in which he said blockchain has promised to cure the world’s ills through decentralization but is “just a ruse to separate retail investors from their hard-earned real money.”

Blockchain, which can be used to create a decentralized, permissioned electronic ledger for all kinds of business transactions, “has not even improved upon the standard electronic spreadsheet, which was invented in 1979,” Roubini wrote in the  op-ed column.

“There is no institution under the sun – bank, corporation, non-governmental organization, or government agency – that would put its balance sheet or register of transactions, trades, and interactions with clients and suppliers on public decentralized peer-to-peer permissionless ledgers,” Roubini wrote. “There is no good reason why such proprietary and highly valuable information should be recorded publicly.”

Roubini is known for having been one of the few economists who predicted the 2008 financial crisis. Yet, after witnessing bitcoin’s fall in value over the past year, Roubini said it and other cryptocurrencies represent the mother of all market bubbles, enticing investors, “especially folks with zero financial literacy – individuals who could not tell the difference between stocks and bonds” – into a frenzy of bitcoin and crypto buying.