Bitcoin V.S. The World
Yesterday, two behemoths in the Bitcoin (BTC) world butted heads: Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini and Arthur Hayes. The former is a career markets cynic that famously called 2008’s Great Recession; The latter is the chief executive of BitMEX, famous for his no-filter attitude and his eerily accurate crypto market calls.
Held at Asia Blockchain Summit, one of the region’s largest cryptocurrency-related events, “The Tangle in Taipei” debate saw the duo try and trash the other, no holds barred.
While both sides claimed victory, Roubini, a New York University professor, claims that he won. In a tweet following the debate, which was actually barred from being livestreamed/recorded, the Bitcoin skeptic urged BitMEX to release the video. Roubini quipped that he “destroyed” Hayes, before calling the industry executive a coward for not publicly releasing the tapes.
The economist continued his tirade in latter tweets, in which Roubini poked fun at BitMEX for offering high leverage on its cryptocurrency markets, which he suggests is much like a drug of gambling. “Hayes spent half of the debate today defending his shady biz model of peddling 100x leverage crypto derivatives to retail suckers,” Roubini wrote, evidently not fine with the fact that debate ended hours ago.
While many in the cryptocurrency community have dismissed Roubini’s attempt to get Hayes to “release the tapes” as nothing but a bluff, attendees of the event have claimed that the spat was actually closer than the two sides say.
Mike Dudas, the chief executive of trade publication The Block, called the parley “dead-even”, noting that both sides made “strong arguments”. Dudas even went as far as to say that Roubini may have squeaked out a win, snagging an anecdotal “52 to 48” victory.
So, what exactly was said? And, which side many better points?
A Historic Spat
Well, according to notes published by Dudas, Roubini centered his sights on how BitMEX is unregulated, offers “risky” products, could be employing insider trading, could be registering fake Bitcoin volumes, and makes money off “suckers”. While there aren’t any direct quotes from the shouting match, the economist was trying to make it clear that the aforementioned exchange is not a net benefit for the cryptocurrency space, but is instead a way in which BitMEX can accumulate wealth for themselves.
Hayes rebutted by explaining that BitMEX’s growth has been entirely natural, his firm’s operations are honest, and that 100x leverage isn’t mandatory. The BitMEX chief went on to explain that abiding by the regulations of the U.S. isn’t mandatory, because the nation’s regulators aren’t the end all and be all of the cryptocurrency game.
The discussion then took a step back, giving the two a chance to talk more about Bitcoin and blockchain as a whole. As normal, Roubini took the stance that Bitcoin isn’t needed in today’s economy, is centralized, not scalable, has better alternatives, and is backed by questionable characters. Hayes also took his normal stance, claiming that in a world where government-surveyed fintech is becoming commonplace, a private money like Bitcoin is needed.
As someone that wasn’t able to attend the debate for logistical reasons, I can’t tell you who won, or if Roubini’s attempt to get the tapes released is logical. But, soon enough, we should have our answers.
Photo by Almos Bechtold on Unsplash