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Nouriel Roubini – Arthur Hayes Taipei showdown: A debate that may never see the light of day




Nouriel Roubini - Arthur Hayes Taipei showdown: The debate that will never see the light of day
Source: Unsplash

Few events within the cryptocurrency space are devoid of price rallies, hacks, scams, and hardforks. The Arthur Hayes – Nouriel Roubini debate was one.

But alas, the debate will go down in crypto-history as the one that nobody saw, as early signs point to the tapes never seeing the light of day. The crowd on July 3 at the Asia Blockchain Summit will be the only ones to have the privilege of witnessing two stalwarts verbally battling it out, leaving the rest of us to keep guessing.

Dr. Doom, like he usually does, riled up the cryptocurrency community, calling it one filled with ‘con-men’ and predicting Bitcoin falling to a “negative” valuation. He even took a jibe at the Mr. Nice Guy of the digital assets realm, Changpeng Zhao, calling the Binance CEO a “jerk” and a “snake oil peddler.”

The crux of the debate was surprisingly, not name-calling, but the future prospects of Bitcoin and its criticism of being a scam, with each debater pitching his camp from the offset.

Mike Dudas from The Block, among the lucky few at Taipei, detailed the points mentioned by the two with astonishing revelations. From juicy lines like ‘he makes money off suckers,’ to ‘you’re no Professor,’ the tussle had it all. Aside from incessant snide remarks, Roubini and Hayes also discussed Bitcoin’s scalability, cryptocurrency trading, global regulation, privacy and a lot more.

The focus of Roubini’s criticism of Hayes and his business model at BitMEX is the profiteering on the back of rapid price movement, which he qualified as cryptocurrency proponents ‘talking up their books.’ The economist accused Hayes and said,

“You can front-run your clients, you can screw them financially.”

Hayes defended the same, stating that his exchange is merely a platform to allow people to “speculate,” in a “safe manner.”

The rest of the article attempts to look at their differing opinions on the inner workings of the cryptocurrency industry.

Setting the Stage

Roubini, when asked about what benefits cryptocurrency and Bitcoin bring to the real world, came right out of the gate. He stated that Bitcoin is ‘not scalable,’ and that the real revolution is with FinTech, and its subsidiaries of AI, Big Data and the Internet of Things. Referencing payment platforms in China, India, and Kenya, Dr. Doom added that these projects would render the ‘cesspool’ of ‘shitcoins’ useless.

The BitMEX CEO replied, leveling the privacy requirements of the highlighted platforms and the time required to scale, citing the longevity of credit card companies that have amassed the same. Hayes remarked, ‘We need to get fucked by the government,’ prior to the world understanding its importance.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Comparing thefts from cryptocurrency exchanges to being ‘robbed at gunpoint,’ Roubini questioned the security of exchanges. Private keys, another matter altogether, did not enter the good books of the economist. He remarked, ‘If you lose it, you’re f*cked for good.’

‘I’d rather keep my fiat currency than you [your] lousy crypto money.’

Hayes, the spearhead of one of the most popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, replied stating that despite ‘death,’ the money of investors is ‘safe.’ He however, did not mask the inevitability of exchanges succumbing to hacks, saying that they are a natural thing in every financial asset class, mentioning the example of QuadrigaCX, the bankrupt Canadian exchange.

Use Case

The prospect of Bitcoin’s use cases becoming more prevalent in emerging markets was wiped clear by the NYU Stern Business School professor, who stated that BTC has ‘no financial privacy, scalability, decentralization or security,’ adding that the $200 billion asset is ‘all talk.’

He added that all those who give in to the cryptocurrency craze are ‘suckers,’ and people like Hayes are making money off of them.

Always sticking with the core principles that built the cryptocurrency world, Hayes reiterated that Bitcoin is the only ‘real free market left in the world.’ On the entrepreneurship front, he highlighted that anyone can build a cryptocurrency exchange from the ground-up with no regulatory hassles, adding that manipulation is used ‘very broadly,’ possibly responding to Roubini’s ‘scam’ statement.

Looking Ahead

With a hopeful and a skeptical eye on the future, the two shared their views on where the market is going in 5 years. Hayes opined that cryptocurrencies will be valued at over a  ‘trillion dollars.’

Roubini, on the other hand, claims that ‘99% of shitcoins’ will lose most of their value, while the king coin will fall off its peak. In remembrance, a ‘Museum of failed coins’ will be built to reminisce about Bitcoin, Ether, and Monero.

The Aftermath

With the above creating a picturesque backdrop to what could’ve been one of the popular and most widely viewed crypto-debates in its short history, the tapes have been sealed by the organizers. Roubini after this battle with Hayes accused the Asia Blockchain Summit [ABS] of ‘caving’ in to the BitMEX CEO and not ‘broadcasting’ the debate. He tweeted,

Calling Hayes a “sleazy coward,” and the organizers a band of “mafiaso gangsters,” the economist continued calling out the ABS staff for censorship.

Not one to take things lying down, Hayes stated that the “exposure” of the tapes would reveal how loosely the economist understood his area of expertise and the unfamiliar cryptocurrency industry. Hayes tweeted,

Roubini foretold the possible nefarious use of the tapes at the hands of Hayes. The economist speculated that the tapes would be “heavily edited” in order to present a favorable view of the debate from the cryptocurrency proponent’s end, adding that he “destroyed” Arthur Hayes.

The economist, quite confident of his performance, proclaimed,

My guess is we haven’t heard the last of what really went down in Taipei, Taiwan, on the final day of the Asia Blockchain Summit.

* The details of the debate were taken from excerpts and tweets by witnesses.

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