Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz believes cryptocurrencies pose a threat to society and should be shut down.
Stiglitz, who did not expand on how such a shutdown could be carried out, told CNBC this week that while he supports implementing a greater degree of electronic payments, he doesn’t believe crypto is the answer.
Bitcoin advocate Jameson Lopp, the chief technology office of CasaHODL, wonders how Stiglitz could accomplish a crypto shutdown.
You know what's required to shut down the cryptocurrencies, @JosephEStiglitz? A whole lot of men with guns. At this point, probably more men with guns than any organization is capable of mustering for such an effort. https://t.co/1Dbg2S3flC
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) May 6, 2019
Stiglitz, who supports the digital economy, just doesn’t support cryptocurrencies.
“I’ve been a great advocate of moving to an electronic payments mechanism. There are a lot of efficiencies. I think we can actually have a better regulated economy. If we had all the data in real time – knowing what people are spending – it would enable the Federal Reserve to actually set interest rates in a much more efficient way. We would have, I think, better macroeconomic management. It would also curb some of the illicit economic activities, and it disturbs me a great deal the attention that was given to cryptocurrencies, because those were moving things off of a transparent platform, into a dark platform.”
Though Stiglitz warns about the dangers of “surveillance and the surveilling state,” he advocates for the continued use of the US dollar instead of cryptocurrencies, which he says don’t have any of the hallmarks of a stable currency.
“We have a very good currency. So far, the currency’s been run in a very stable way. There is no need for anybody to go to a cryptocurrency. In our standard courses in economics we talk about the attributes of a good currency and the US dollar has all those attributes. The cryptocurrencies do not have those attributes. I actually think we should shut down the cryptocurrencies.”
Speculators on Twitter debate how such a shutdown could happen.
“Oh, yes please JosephEStiglitz go shut down them all. Go to the central mainframe and unplug Bitcoin. Word says Satoshi Nakamoto keeps running it in his(her(it)) basement.”
“This could be an ignorant remark, but Proof-of-Work coins like Bitcoin are vulnerable due to their dependance of mining. This could easily be banned via environmental policies, likely directly impacting hashrate and thus security, and also likely, price.”
“Bitcoin was built to counter undue influence and censorship efforts of powerful people and organizations. Great example here. No you/people can’t just shutdown Bitcoin and some cryptocurrencies and no we shouldn’t!
“You cannot shut down what you don’t control. That’s why decentralized networks like BTC are a threat to controlling centralized systems.”
Stiglitz isn’t the first financial celebrity to publicly bash crypto this month: On Saturday, billionaire investor Warren Buffet reportedly called Bitcoin a “gambling device” that doesn’t produce anything.
“There’s been a lot of frauds connected with it. There’s been disappearances, so there’s a lot lost on it. Bitcoin hasn’t produced anything.”
“It doesn’t do anything. It just sits there. It’s like a seashell or something, and that is not an investment to me.”