Despite the latest Bitcoin lashing from Bill Harris, former CEO of Intuit and PayPal, who claims cryptocurrency is “going to go a whole lot closer to zero”, Yale economist Aleh Tsyvinski and Yukun Liu, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics, argue that Bitcoin has a 0.3% chance of going to zero.
Their study is an unemotional take on the state of cryptocurrency and an analysis of market behavior. It lacks both corporate bias and crypto fanaticism.
“We’ve done something very simple. We said: Let’s use textbook finance tools to help us better understand cryptocurrency. We looked at three major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum. We wanted to identify their basic properties. We examined whether they behaved like other asset classes, specifically stocks, traditional currencies, and precious metal commodities. We also gauged their potential for benefiting or disrupting various industries.” – YaleNews
The researchers concluded that the probability, “in the view of the markets”, that Bitcoin falls to zero and becomes useless is 0.3%.
They also say that investors should diversify and buy Bitcoin, betting anywhere from 1% – 6% of their portfolios on the cryptocurrency.
“If you as an investor believe that Bitcoin will perform as well as it has historically, then you should hold 6% of your portfolio in Bitcoin. If you believe that it will do half as well, you should hold 4%. In all other circumstances, if you think it will do much worse, then you should still hold 1%.”
Harris, founder of Personal Capital, a digital wealth management firm that provides financial software and services for traditional financial investments and portfolio management, condemned Bitcoin in a recent CNBC interview.
“The cult of bitcoin makes many claims: It’s instant, free, scalable, efficient, secure, globally accepted and useful – it is none of those things,” he said.
Harris also penned an article for Recode, calling Bitcoin “the greatest scam in history” and “a colossal pump-and-dump scheme, the likes of which the world has never seen.”
He made no mention of derivatives or sub-prime mortgage loans – investment banking and retail banking products that contributed to the colossal global financial collapse of 2008, or asset bubbles (i.e. student loan debt) or quantitative easing or trade deficits which many economists believe can set off another deep recession and/or economic collapse by 2020.
Conversely, Bitcoin and blockchain enthusiasts say the global economy will improve with the rise of digital currencies that can cross borders without a bank or banking fees or intermediaries like PayPal or Venmo that can block your transactions.
Despite major exchange hacks, slow transaction speeds and scaling issues, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, according to proponents like Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, are revolutionary technology because they’re transforming the internet, no matter how slowly, into a platform where you can transfer both data and value.
Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, wants Bitcoin to be the internet’s “native currency”.
Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman has approved resources to help crypto companies build critical infrastructure.
The International Monetary Fund says, “Digital technology will spread further, and efforts to ignore it or legislate against it will likely fail.”
Regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, many cryptocurrency enthusiasts simply want the option to spend their coins and exercise the right to choose the type of money they want to use.
Traditionalists, however, want to protect consumers against technology that’s being gamed by bad actors and used to pull off scams. They advocate for fiat, cash money and business as usual.
But scams aren’t isolated to crypto.
Cash money is an available spending option that is and has been used for everything – from paying school teachers and firefighters to swindling relatives, bribing authorities and buying opioids.