Bitcoin Basher Nouriel Roubini Cowers from Novogratz's Crypto Wager

Bitcoin perma-bull Mike Novogratz clashed with avowed crypto-hater Nouriel Roubini at the 2019 SALT tech conference in Las Vegas on…

Bitcoin perma-bull Mike Novogratz clashed with avowed crypto-hater Nouriel Roubini at the 2019 SALT tech conference in Las Vegas on May 8.

During a panel discussion about digital currencies, Roubini once again trashed crypto as a massive "bubble." Meanwhile, Novogratz cooed that bitcoin is a "miracle."

'Crypto is the mother and father of all bubbles'

Nouriel Roubini is an economics professor at New York University. His latest claim to fame is opposing bitcoin.

Despite the fact that Roubini has little real-world (i.e., non-academic) experience managing large sums of money, he has repeatedly dismissed bitcoin as worthless and a giant scam. He doubled-down on these sentiments today at the SALT forum.

"Crypto is the mother and father of all bubbles," Roubini said (via CNBC). "[The term] cryptocurrency is totally a misnomer. To be a currency, you have to be a unit of account, valuable, and a scalable means of payment."

Roubini said crypto evangelists are essentially con artists who are deluding themselves and others. Why? Because bitcoin can't scale efficiently, is too vulnerable to "massive manipulation," and is too volatile to be a stable store of value.

"I've never seen such a level of manipulation. The reality is, these are not currencies."

Mike Novogratz (center) battled Nouriel Roubini (right) at the 2019 SALT conference in Las Vegas. At the far-left is Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin.  | Source: Mike Bucella/Twitter

Novogratz: 'Debate is over, bitcoin has won'

On the other end of the spectrum is Mike Novogratz, a Goldman Sachs alum and former hedge fund manager. Novogratz is the founder of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital. Galaxy Digital lost $273 million in 2018.

Novogratz said Roubini is underestimating the crypto industry and is overlooking its vast potential. Moreover, Novogratz said bitcoin has proven that it has staying power, so perma-bears like Roubini have lost the debate.

"There's a tremendous amount of stuff going on [beneath the surface]. In some ways, there's been a small miracle."

"The debate is over. Bitcoin won. It is now seen by people all around the world as a legitimate place to [store] their value."

Roubini refuses crypto wager

Novogratz says the mere fact that global institutions like Fidelity and Facebook are planning to implement crypto proves it's not going anywhere.

"I think bitcoin has got a very healthy future. My sense is it's going to continue to march higher."

Novogratz then invited Roubini to put his money where his mouth is, and make a small bet (and it doesn't even require Roubini to put up any cash).

"Bitcoin is at $6,000 now. If at Christmastime it's above $6,000, you have to wear a shirt that says, 'I Love Bitcoin.'"

"If it's not, I will wear a T-shirt saying, 'Nouriel Was Right.'"

Not surprisingly, Roubini refused to take Novogratz up on the wager. “I don’t care about the price of bitcoin," he crowed.

Roubini: Bitcoin fans are 'ignorant and clueless'

As CCN reported, Roubini has not only repeatedly trashed bitcoin, but also slams blockchain, the technology underpinning crypto.

Despite his self-professed disdain for bitcoin, Roubini talks obsessively about it. In March 2019, Roubini blasted bitcoin as an “exponential, parabolic bubble,” and called bitcoin investors “arrogant, ignorant, clueless” zealots and fanatics.

“I’ve never seen in my life people who on one side are so arrogant in their views — who are total zealots and fanatics about this new asset class — while at the same time completely and totally ignorant of basic economics, finance, money, banking, central banking, and monetary policy.”

“They want to reinvent everything about money, but most of them are absolutely, totally clueless. The ratio between arrogant and ignorant is astounding. I have never seen such a gap in my life.”

https://twitter.com/CCNMarkets/status/1103818993847201792

Last modified (UTC): May 9, 2019 7:01 PM

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Samantha Chang @Samantha_Chang

Samantha Chang is a New York City-based financial editor who writes about crypto and business at . She is a law school grad and an alum of the University of Pennsylvania. You can reach her on Twitter at or email her at schang121@juno.com.

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