The success of cryptocurrency has seen a new breed of bear evolve. These are vicious, tortured creatures who will maul bitcoin at the slightest provocation. Understood correctly, they can be a fantastic form of entertainment.
Bitcoin has its fair share of critics as well as fanatics. It’s something that polarises opinion. But there are those so rabid in their denunciation of crypto that it tips over into insanity. These are some of the professional Bitcoin Bears you should be able to identify.
Peter Schiff. Gold is good, bitcoin is bad. Peter has made a career out of shilling gold, and now there’s a new kid in town. Naturally, Peter says bitcoin isn’t as good as gold, because it’s not shiny and heavy. Peter knows there’s a ‘massive inflationary recession’ coming, and gold is going to be the go-to safe haven asset when it does. Everyone needs to buy gold. Forget bitcoin, it’s going back to $3,000 and then lower.
Nouriel Roubini. No discussion of Bears could be complete without mention of ‘Dr Doom’. Nouriel has a very visceral hatred of Bitcoin, which is made far worse by the fact that he has been warning people to stay away from it ever since it was in double digits back in 2013. With no fear that he could be on the wrong side of history, Roubini clings to his success in predicting the Global Financial Crisis as proof that he is smarter than you are, and that he is right about Bitcoin too. Watch his tirades against crypto, the veins on his forehead bulging, the foam on his lips, the rage that seeps from every pore of his skin. Make no mistake: this is personal for him.
Donald Trump. The Don hasn’t said much about bitcoin, but he’s not a fan. His one tweet to date on bitcoin says as much: ‘I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….’ Most of all, though, he hates Libra, which is a little bit Bitcoin-y. It’s not worth bothering to understand the differences, though, because anything that isn’t the US dollar is junk.
Jamie Dimon. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon has been cross about bitcoin for over five years, rivalling Nouriel for his commitment to hating crypto. ‘It’ll eventually blow up. It’s a fraud, OK?’ he said in 2017. He once threatened to sack any of his traders who got into bitcoin. ‘You can’t have a business where people can invent a currency out of thin air and think the people buying it are really smart. It’s worse than tulip bulbs, OK?’ Presumably he thinks creating currency out of thin air is a job for banks, which is why JP Morgan is the first bank to have tested a crypto coin for settlement.
Paul Krugman. Ah Paul, Distinguished Professor of Economics at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and New York Times columnist. You’re not really a proper bear, not like Nouriel. It’s just that your economic criticism of Bitcoin in your article ‘Bitcoin is evil’ from 2013 made you a poster boy of the anti-coiners. And it’s really not fair that people keep dredging up that old quote of yours. Hey, remember back in 1998 when you said that ‘By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s’? Oops.
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