On February 12, the well known Lebanese-American essayist and risk analyst, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, declared that the leading digital currency bitcoin is a failure, at least for now. Cryptocurrency fans have been upset by Taleb’s recent statements, after it seems the renowned author has done a complete 180 after supporting the crypto asset for years.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a very popular author, mathematical statistician, and scholar. Over the years, Taleb has been very critical of today’s monetary system, the current finance industry, and the most recent financial crises. The philosopher is best known for his books “The Black Swan” (2010) and “Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder” (2012).
After Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin network, Taleb was initially very optimistic about this emerging technology and over the years he wrote positive things about the digital asset.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s recent critique of bitcoin seems to have stirred the BTC community because not too long ago, Taleb liked bitcoin and wrote about the digital asset in a positive light. “[Bitcoin’s] mere existence is an insurance policy that will remind governments that the last object establishment could control, namely, the currency, is no longer their monopoly. This gives us, the crowd, an insurance policy against an Orwellian future,” Taleb wrote in 2018.Two years ago in a post published on Taleb’s Opacity blog dubbed “It May Fail but We Now Know How to Do It,” the novelist explained that “Bitcoin is an excellent idea.” Taleb said that his essay was initially written as a foreword to the book written by Saifedean Ammous, but he also stressed that he did not subscribe to Saifedean Ammous’s “crankish and conspiratorial ideas.” When discussing bitcoin (BTC), Taleb’s opinion at the time was that the cryptocurrency was a powerful animal.
“It fulfills the needs of the complex system, not because it is a cryptocurrency,” Taleb wrote. “But precisely because it has no owner, no authority that can decide on its fate. It is owned by the crowd, its users. And it has now a track record of several years, enough for it to be an animal in its own right.”
In 2021, specifically on February 12, Nassim Nicholas Taleb decided to tell the public that he was selling some of his bitcoin. Moreover, Taleb criticized a number of people within the crypto community toward the latter end of his tweet.
“I’ve been getting rid of my BTC,” the renowned author tweeted to his 705,000+ Twitter followers. “Why? A currency is never supposed to be more volatile than what you buy [and] sell with it. You can’t price goods in BTC,” the former options trader said.
Taleb further added:
In that respect, it’s a failure (at least for now). It was taken over by Covid denying sociopaths w/the sophistication of amoebas.
Taleb wasn’t done with his scathing critique and decided to add to his first statement. “The other problem BTC Protozoa [doesn’t] get: the appeal of a cryptocurrency depends on some opacity, its ability to facilitate tax fraud and money laundering,” Taleb tweeted. “You can anonymize a gold coin by re-melting it. You can rework a spoon. BTC is more tractable than cash. BTC Volatility is not dropping with time/at [a] higher price, exactly what you don’t need,” the famed author further stressed.
Of course, cryptocurrency and bitcoin advocates were not too pleased with Taleb’s statements. The popular bitcoiner Pierre Rochard told Taleb that “bitcoin is crashing up,” while the digital asset proponent Chris Ellis said “[Bitcoin is] syncing with the global economy.”
“It’s like watching the progress bar of an old tape backup without the time-to-completion feature,” Chris Ellis continued.Many bitcoiners argued with Taleb that bitcoin volatility is in fact dropping with time as data shows this is true.
Others responded in a different way and discussed the subject from an alternative perspective. The software developer, Paul Sztorc, talked about how saner BTC people haven’t been as loud in recent times.
“Unfortunately, it is true that most of the Bitcoiners that [Nassim Nicholas Taleb] spoke with were embarrassments (namely Saifedean who makes it his mission to repel all intelligent reasonable people). Saner BTCers have become quieter recently,” Sztorc said on Twitter.
It is exactly as [Chris] DeRose/Junseth predicted long ago. ‘Enforcer’ types, who are very good at pressuring the gullible to increase their commitment, but repugnant to outsiders or independent thinkers. I guess that those are the people [Nassim Nicholas Taleb] is referring to.
Following Taleb’s initial tweet on February 12, the author tweeted some more on the 14th, and criticized Kraken FX’s Dan Held. Blockchain researcher Willy Woo responded to Taleb’s critique and said that “volatility is a red herring.”
“Most likely path is BTC becoming a reserve asset that backs currency. Thinking of it as a unit of account is a hangover from the Agrarian Age when we had seashells, and lumps of silver. We’re in a Digital Age now, we have live indexes and baskets,” Woo added. Despite all the defense and response toward Taleb’s new path of thinking, the author doesn’t seem to be favoring the crypto asset as he did in the past.
Even last April, when news went viral that the Bank of Lebanon applied strict local currency remittance rules, Taleb tweeted: “Use cryptocurrencies!”
However, today is a different story, and on Sunday morning (EST), Taleb seemingly responded to numerous “reserve asset” Twitter responses.
“Bitcoin misfits share the monocellular brain [and] logical wiring defects: ‘BTC is a good idea, therefore, IT WILL BE *THE* reserve currency’ (i.e. no other ideas [and] no other reserve). Reserve ≄Volatile. [Plus] It is not supposed to be volatile AT HIGHER PRICES. [Plus] Never found uses,” Taleb insisted.
What do you think about Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s recent scathing critique of bitcoin and bitcoin proponents in general? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.