While bitcoin may be the most popular asset in the cryptocurrency markets, not everyone loves bitcoin. There is a long list of bitcoin skeptics among economists and financiers. However, there is also a handful of skeptics who turned believers.
In this article, you will be introduced to five prominent bitcoin skeptics who changed their minds about cryptocurrencies.
Economic and financial historian and author of the book ‘The Ascent of Money,’ Niall Ferguson, told the audience at the Australian Financial Review Business Summit at the beginning of March that he was “very wrong” about bitcoin and digital currencies like it. He added that he was “wrong to think there was no use for a form of currency based on blockchain technology.”
This realization came five years after the historian said that he believes that buying bitcoin was “worst investment decision of his [son’s] life,” when his son urged him to invest in the digital currency back in 2014.
Former Business Insider editor, Joe Weisenthal, wrote in a feature tilted ‘Bitcoin Is A Joke’ that bitcoin is a bubble. “Make no mistake, Bitcoin is not the currency of the future. It has no intrinsic value,” he wrote.
Only about a month later, he wrote another feature on bitcoin for Business Insider titled ‘I’m Changing My Mind About Bitcoin’ where he retracted his initial statements about the world’s leading digital currency.
“I used to think it was a joke or at best a currency for clowns. Now, I no longer think that. Now, I don’t know what its future is,” he wrote. He then goes into the reasons why he does believe that bitcoin has intrinsic value and how it is being used as a currency, albeit a very volatile one.
Most people in crypto know Don Tapscott as the co-author of the book ‘Blockchain Revolution’ and the founder of the Toronto-based Blockchain Research Institute. Before he became a voice for blockchain and cryptocurrency innovation, he was a skeptic.
After giving a talk at a school in Toronto, Tapscott said about bitcoin:
“I’ve changed my mind. I used to think it would never fly; now I think it’s not only going to fly as a currency, but the underlying blockchain technology is a core part of the next generation of the internet, that will radically transform many of our institutions in society.”
Author and New York Times journalist Kevin Roose once wrote a feature titled ‘I Bought a Bitcoin: How I Joined a Virtual Currency Megabubble’ for New York Magazine, where he called bitcoin a bubble after detailing the difficult process to acquire bitcoin at the time.
In 2017, however, he wrote a quasi-rebuttal to his New York Magazine article titled ‘I Was Wrong About Bitcoin. Here’s Why.’ for The New York Times. In this feature, he explains his reasoning for why he initially thought bitcoin would not succeed, which he attributed to a lack of merchant adoption, among other factors. He concludes saying that while he still doubts he can’t credibly predict that bitcoin enthusiasts are wrong about the bright future of bitcoin.
Finally, and arguably most notably, there is JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Dimon famously referred to bitcoin as a scam and said that he would fire any of his traders if they were dumb enough to buy it.
However, not only did one of his traders purchase the Bitcoin Tracker ETN shortly after (albeit for a client) but Dimon’s bank even went as far as to launch its own coin, called JPM Coin.
JPM Coin is a US dollar-backed digital stablecoin that runs on the bank’s private blockchain, called Quorum. The idea behind this bank-issued digital currency is to facilitate payments between the bank and its corporate clients.
The last time Dimon was asked about bitcoin he did not reiterate his statement that the digital currency is a fraud but instead responded with “I don’t really give a s*** about bitcoin.”
Needless to say, however, Dimon acknowledges the power of cryptocurrencies, given that his bank is the first to leverage this technology for payments even if his disdain for bitcoin remains.
Who Will Turn From Skeptic to Believer Next?
Bitcoin skeptics will not disappear. At least, not until bitcoin has either become a staple in every alternative asset manager’s portfolio or a globally accepted medium of exchange.
Currently, it looks like we are heading in that direction as new scaling solutions are being developed for bitcoin to become an alternative global spending currency and as Wall Street is starting to fully embrace the digital currency as a new speculative investment asset.