Cryptocurrencies create ‘chaos’ for payments, says economist who predicted the financial crisis

Economist Nouriel Roubini, best known for predicting the financial crisis, piled on his recent criticism of cryptocurrencies Thursday, saying they create “chaos” and confusion in the payments world.

“It’s totally inefficient. It’s never going to work,” Roubini said Thursday at the Fluidity Summit in Brooklyn. “You are going to the world of the Flintstones to buy any good you have to exchange, you go back to the Stone Age of bartering.”

Roubini, who earned the name “Dr. Doom” after the financial crisis, highlighted the difficulty of converting volatile digital currencies every time a user wants to buy something. Bitcoin, for example, rose more than 1,300 percent last year before losing roughly half its value in the first three months of 2018, according to CoinDesk.

While he’s bullish on digital payments through apps such as Alipay, Venmo, PayPal and Square, Roubini said blockchain and cryptocurrencies will not play a role in the future of finance.

“I’m affirmative on that significant disruption, but most of this has nothing to do with blockchain, nothing to do with cryptocurrency,” he said.

The economist also took on the fundraising process called initial coin offerings, or ICOs, calling them “mostly scams.”

He pointed to research by ICO advisory firm Satis Group, which said 81 percent of them were, as Roubini put it in a column published earlier Thursday, “created by con artists, charlatans, and swindlers looking to take your money and run.”

The economist, who is a professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, debated Joseph Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum and CEO of ConsenSys…

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