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NYU economics professor Nouriel Roubini, commonly known as Dr. Doom in mainstream financial media circles, is a long-established Bitcoin and cryptocurrency skeptic. In his latest rant he focuses on blockchain technology and the people promoting it.
Greedy White Men
Roubini, who recently testified before the U.S. Senate Banking Committee about blockchain, had a few angles of attack against the promoters of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in his latest article, The Big Blockchain Lie. Noting that blockchain has been heralded as a potential solution for everything from famine to cancer, he called it the most over-hyped technology in human history.
The professor explains that, “in practice, blockchain is nothing more than a glorified spreadsheet.” However, he also claims it has been able to create an “economic hell.” This is because Roubini categories developers and entrepreneurs as “a few self-serving white men pretending to be messiahs for the world’s impoverished, marginalized, and unbanked masses.” As for the supposed ideology behind them, he states: ”Blockchain is not about decentralization and democracy; it is about greed.”
Excel Spreadsheet With a Misleading Name
Besides ad hominem attacks, which Roubini has previously been fiercely criticized for, the economist actually makes some valid points about why so-called corporate blockchains touted by big banks, governments and other established powers are not decentralized. Such institutions would never want to have the transparency it would bring, or, as he explains it, “There is no institution under the sun that would put its balance sheet or register of transactions, trades, and interactions with clients and suppliers on public decentralized peer-to-peer permissionless ledgers.”
Moreover, he notes that in cases where so-called enterprise DLT solutions are actually being used by established organizations, they have nothing to do with blockchain. He explains that these are private, centralized, recorded on just a few controlled ledgers, require permission for access, and are based on trusted authorities. As for all the DLT trials constantly being spoken about in the press, Roubini says that whenever blockchain has been piloted in a traditional setting, “it has either been thrown in the trash bin or turned into a private permissioned database that is nothing more than an Excel spreadsheet or a database with a misleading name.”
Does Roubini make any valid arguments in dismissing blockchain technology? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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