Bitcoin “Exists Because of the Abuses” — Nobel-Winning Economist Joseph Stiglitz Speaks Out

Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz: Not everyone is a fan of Bitcoin. Despite proclamations from supporters about its revolutionary technology and the “freedom” it offers its users, many are still not convinced.

If you’re Bitcoin, it must not bode well for you to have a major critic in the form of Nobel-winning economist and Columbia Professor Joseph Stiglitz. Today, Stiglitz spoke with Financial News of his concern about the adoption of the unregulated financial asset which he believes elicits illegal behaviors as it has no central authority and its users can be totally anonymous. He has spoken to Bloomberg on several occasions before about his distaste for Bitcoin.

Joseph Stiglitz Has Concerns about Bitcoin

The economist’s concerns center around the potential for criminal enterprises to take complete advantage of the network:

“You cannot have a means of payment that is based on secrecy when you’re trying to create a transparent banking system…If you open up a hole like Bitcoin, then all the nefarious activity will go through that hole, and no government can allow that.”

Despite his concerns, he believes that once the market is truly big enough, regulators will enforce rules which would render the coin useless. Currently, the cryptocurrency market is still considered small with a $273 billion market cap, though predictions have placed it nearer to $1 Trillion by the end of 2018.

It Stiglitz opinion, the popularity of Bitcoin lies only with criminals and if “you regulate it so you couldn’t engage in money laundering and all these other [crimes], there will be no demand for Bitcoin. By regulating the abuses, you are going to regulate it out of existence. It exists because of the abuses.”

Though not a Bitcoin enthusiast, Stiglitz isn’t swearing off cryptocurrency completely. He believes the US could benefit from a more open and transparent digital payment system in order to protect from the corruption that is experienced in our current financial system. 

“I believe very strongly that countries like the United States could and should move to a digital currency … so that you would have the ability to trace this kind of corruption.”

But what digital currency would be his preference?

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“I’d like us to move more towards an electronic payment [system] but you don’t need a bitcoin for that,”

Stiglitz does not stand on this ground alone; Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Jamie Dimon and Christine Lagarde have all expressed similar concerns or criticisms about Bitcoin.

Featured Image: Google Images/Maclean’s

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