Economist and Bitcoin critic Nouriel ‘Dr. Doom’ Roubini has hailed a proposed ban on cryptocurrencies in India calling it ‘good news’. According to the New York University economics professor, an actual ban on crypto in the world’s second-most populous nation will save ‘retail suckers’ in the country from investing in ‘shitcoins’.
Roubini consequently hailed the 200-page report containing the proposal and which was prepared by an inter-ministerial committee as coming from a ‘wise government’.
As had been previously reported, the anti-crypto proposals contained in the report recommend a 10-year jail sentence plus heavy fines for those caught dealing in crypto in India.
But in a move that betrays the inter-ministerial committee’s appreciation of blockchain technology, the Indian government was paradoxically urged to consider launching a central bank digital currency.
The economics professor may, however, be jumping the gun here by celebrating the ban. This is because the proposals will be deliberated upon further before a final decision is made, leaving a chance, however slight, that Roubini could be left with egg on his face.
Roubini did not also miss the opportunity to bash cryptocurrencies in general arguing that they are a ‘massive driver of inequality’. Per the Bitcoin skeptic, this is due to the fact that ‘sleazy criminal whales’ are taking advantage of the retail investors. In Roubini’s view, if the crypto space were a country, the income and wealth inequality experienced would be higher than in North Korea.
While Roubini did not specifically name the ‘sleazy criminal whales’ he had in mind, since he debated BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes in Taipei earlier this month, he has on several occasions accused the crypto derivatives exchange of engaging in unsavory practices that place retail traders at a disadvantage. In a piece published by Project Syndicate, Roubini claimed that this was made possible by the lack of regulation in the cryptocurrency industry:
Cryptocurrencies are routinely launched and traded outside the domain of official financial oversight, where avoidance of compliance costs is advertised as a source of efficiency. The result is that crypto land has become an unregulated casino, where unchecked criminality runs riot.
India’s proposed ban on crypto is not the only negative development in the crypto space that Roubini has recently celebrated. After the TRON cryptocurrency founder Justin Sun canceled a lunch date with billionaire and Berkshire Hathaway boss Warren Buffett citing health issues, Roubini termed the development a ‘crypto-flop, embarrassment and failure’.
Not one to be concerned with the optics of kicking a man when he is down, Roubini went on to claim that TRON is one of the biggest Ponzi schemes in the crypto sector.
The economics professor also claimed that Sun was being targeted by Chinese law enforcement agencies for ‘money laundering and assorted fraud’ and this is what had prevented the crypto entrepreneur from honoring his lunch date with Buffett as he had been banned by authorities from leaving the country. It later turned out however that Sun had all along been in San Francisco recuperating.