Bitcoin: what have experts said about the cryptocurrency?

The most memorable comments on the cryptocurrency from senior figures in world finance

•ECB official backs bitcoin clampdown

Bitcoin’s gyrations have attracted a lot of attention over the past year. Here are some of the most memorable comments from senior figures in world finance.

Yves Mersch

Yves Mersch, a member of the European Central Bank’s executive board, called for a global clampdown on virtual currencies because of their threat to financial stability on 8 February. Bitcoin transactions can easily take several hours to process, he noted in a speech in London.

At these speeds, if you bought a bunch of tulips with bitcoin they may well have wilted by the time the transaction was confirmed.”

Agustín Carstens

The new head of the Bank for International Settlements has described bitcoin as “a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster”.

“If authorities do not act pre-emptively, cryptocurrencies could become more interconnected with the main financial system and become a threat to financial stability,” he said in a speech on 6 February.

Nouriel Roubini

The American economist credited with predicting the 2008 financial crash has called bitcoin “the mother of all bubbles” and “much worse” than tulip mania. He told Bloomberg TV on 2 February: “It’s on the way down to zero. The fundamental value of bitcoin is zero.”

He said the other 1,300-plus cryptocurrencies were “even worse” and slammed the underlying blockchain technology. He added that blockchain has been around for 10 years and its only application is bitcoin or cryptocurrencies and they “are a scam”.

Roubini tweeted this week: “Cryptocrazies are also criminal Cyber-Terrorists.” He also claimed that his consulting firm, Roubini Global Economics, was targeted in a 2015 denial-of-service attack because he criticised bitcoin.


Jamie Dimon

JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon said in mid-September that Bitcoin was a fraud that would ultimately blow up. He said the digital currency was only fit for use by drug dealers, murderers and people living in places such as North Korea.

The boss of America’s biggest bank said he would fire “in a second” anyone at the investment bank found to be trading in bitcoin. He later softened his stance, and revealed on 9 January that his daughter had bought two bitcoins.

Robert Shiller

The Nobel prizewinning economist predicted on 26 January that bitcoin would not be a “permanent feature” of the financial world. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Shiller hailed bitcoin as a “really clever idea”.

I tend to think of bitcoin as an experiment. It is an interesting experiment, but it’s not a permanent feature of our lives.”

Shiller has previously warned that the bitcoin price could collapse. “We are over-emphasising bitcoin, we should expand it out to blockchain, which will have other applications.”

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Warren Buffett

The billionaire investor said on 11 January he would never invest in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, and predicted the wildly popular assets were in for a fall.

“I can say almost with certainty that cryptocurrencies will come to a bad end,” Buffett told CNBC in an interview.

Joseph Stiglitz

The Nobel-prize-winning economist has argued that the currency should be outlawed. “It doesn’t serve any socially useful function.”

Sir Howard Davies

The chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland has painted an apocalyptic picture for bitcoin. He told Bloomberg TV on 8 December, after bitcoin hit $15,000 for the first time:

Put up the sign from Dante’s Inferno – ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here’ – I think that’s probably what’s needed.”

Janet Yellen

On 15 December, the former US Federal Reserve chair described bitcoin as a “highly speculative asset” and “not a stable source of value”, but noted it remained a very small part of the global payment system. She also reiterated her 2014 position that the Fed does not have the authority to regulate the cryptocurrency.

Theresa May

Theresa May said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that she was concerned criminals were exploiting digital currencies, which can be used to anonymously transfer funds. “In areas like cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, we should be looking at these very seriously,” May told Bloomberg.

Steven Mnuchin

The US treasury secretary also flagged up concerns about misuse of digital currencies. “My number one focus on cryptocurrencies, whether that be digital currencies or bitcoin or other things, is that we want to make sure that they’re not used for illicit activities,” Mnuchin told CNBC.


Julia Kollewe

The GuardianTramp

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