Crypto skeptic Nouriel Roubini taunted Roger Ver about BCH’s price collapse in a heated debate that turned into a shouting match.
If Professor Roubini knows one thing about Bitcoin Cash, it’s that the price has fallen about 95% from its peak.
He liked this point so much he repeated it constantly throughout his ‘debate’ with Roger Ver at London’s CC Forum.
“His currency has lost 95% of its value,” he said at least once too often, to groans from the audience.
It was Roubini’s second shouting match of the day, after an earlier panel debate that included Craig Wright, Brock Pierce and Tone Vays (who got in a sly dig at Wright) got sidetracked by BTCC founder Bobby Lee who thought Roubini had called the US Dollar a shitcoin.
It was kind of hard to tell what they were arguing about.
Still, a shouting match is precisely why you hire a Bitcoin skeptic like Roubini for a cryptocurrency event.
Roubini doesn’t want your cash
Ver began the debate with a stunt – offering to set Roubini up with a Bitcoin Cash wallet and to solicit donations of BCH from his half a million Twitter followers.
Roubini was having none of it though.
Roubini’s critical points will be pretty familiar by now: he referenced scaling problems, the scams and fraud that he believes is “100x worse” in crypto than traditional finance and the volatile price.
Roubini argued that payment options like Alipay to Paypal already offer cheap and convenient digital transactions, which reduces the need for crypto to even exist.
His second favourite argument was that nobody uses crypto. At all.
“99% of transactions are people buying one shit coin with another one,” he said, adding that even those numbers are fake.
Yeah, well, we use it
An audience member asked for a show of hands from the crowd as to who uses crypto. 80% of hands in the room shot up.
Then again, it was a cryptocurrency conference so the percentage should probably have been higher.
Ver argued that cryptocurrency was more popular than Robini gave credit for.
“The market caps of cryptocurrencies in ten years of their existence have gone to more than $200 billion around the world. I don’t see how anyone can possibly argue that’s not an incredible success”.
OK, I’ll pay that
He added that more than 100,000 websites around the world accept crypto as payment and every one of his 100 employees is paid in crypto.
Roubini made a cutting jibe to the effect that he hopes Ver’s employees aren’t paid in Bitcoin Cash, as it’s lost 95% of its value don’t you know.
Ver’s second stunt saw him pull a Japanese 10,000 Yen banknote out of his wallet, to make the point that one Yen used to represent one ounce of silver. If that banknote hadn’t lost its value it would be worth around $200,000 today.
“How is that a stable store of value? But that’s what you get when you have central banks with a small group of people that are able to print as much money as they want at any time for any reason, anywhere.”
While this was a popular argument with the crowd, Roubini said Japan’s experienced deflation for years, so 10,000 Yen is actually probably worth more now than 20 years ago.
Sermon on the mount
Ver lived up to his ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ nickname, speaking in glowing and hopeful terms about his utopian vision of crypto.
“This is a wonderfully powerful tool … that improves the lives of every single human being on the planet. If you’re somebody from Afghanistan or Argentina or Venezuela or Russia or North Korea [and] you can get access to the internet there, you can send and receive money with anyone anywhere.
“That’s wonderful. Why would you not be in favor of empowering individuals having more control over their own money in their own lives? That’s what cryptocurrencies do. That’s why I’m so excited about it.”
But the peace and hope didn’t last long, with the debate ending with the pair shouting over the top of one another and Roubini once again refusing Ver’s offer of a BCH wallet.
“Wilful ignorance,” said Ver. “Why are you scared to even try it?”