Bitcoin has confounded critics so far this year, attracting the attention of Wall Street, high-profile investors, and central bankers.
The bitcoin price has more than doubled this year, climbing above $16,000 per bitcoin this week and soaring a staggering 40% over the last month as a raft of positive news sweeps the bitcoin and crypto industry.
Now, as big-name investors give their backing to bitcoin, economist Nouriel Roubini, professor of economics at New York University’s Stern School of Business and one of crypto’s fiercest critics, has said bitcoin is “maybe a partial store of value”—somewhat rowing back on previous comments where he’s said bitcoin’s destined to end up in the “museum of failed coins” with all the other digital currencies.
“[Bitcoin is] maybe a partial store of value, because, unlike thousands of other what I call shitcoins, it cannot be so easily debased because there is at least an algorithm that decides how much the supply of bitcoin raises over time, because for most of those other ones, literally, is done ad hoc, and they’re being debased faster than what the [U.S. Federal Reserve] is doing,” Roubini told Yahoo Finance in an interview.
While Roubini has somewhat capitulated from his previous position that bitcoin is eventually headed to zero, he remains sceptical of the technology.
“In my view, [bitcoin] is not scalable, is not secure, is not decentralized, is not a currency, and remember, many central banks, starting now with the Chinese one, the Swedish, but even the eurozone, are starting to think about creating a central bank digital currency,” Roubini said. “Once you have a central bank digital currency, every individual can use an account with the central bank to do payments.”
This week, European Central Bank (ECB) president Christine Lagarde suggested the ECB could create a digital currency within years, echoing similar comments made by Fed chair Jerome Powell last month, and putting the ECB on a path that would follow in the footsteps of China after it began rolling out its digital yuan this year.
However, some have suggested central bank digital currencies could potentially open up the bitcoin and crypto market to millions.
Roubini’s comments come as the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community cheers its performance over the last year. Bitcoin has now recorded its longest ever spell above $10,000 per bitcoin and has this week hit its highest price for almost three years.
“Milestones like this represent steps in the ascent of the king of crypto,” Paolo Ardoino, the chief technology officer at bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex said via email. “Those who still say bitcoin is a bad asset and see only obstacles in its path no longer understand the world in which we live. The times are changing.”