Nouriel Roubini and Andreas Antonopoulos Finally Agree on Something

Siamak Masnavi

It looks like economics professor and cryptocurrency skeptic Dr. Nouriel Roubini and Bitcoin advocate Andreas M. Antonopoulos finally agree on something—that Facebook's upcoming stablecoin (which is part of project Libra) is not really a cryptocurrency.

Facebook's Project Libra

We have had reports over the past 10 days or so from TechcrunchThe Wall Street Journal, and The Block, which say that according to their sources Facebook is planning to release details of its stablecoin project (Libra) on June 18 and that this project has the backing of such big names as Andressen Horowitz, Union Square Ventures, Coinbase, Vodafone, eBay, Uber, Spotify, Mastercard, Visa, and PayPal, each of whom will reportedly pay around $10 million each to be part of the project's governing consortium (the Libra Association).

The new stablecoin, which is expected to launch no earlier than 2020, is rumored to be called either GlobalCoin or Libra (depending on whom you ask). Everyone is expecting Facebook to make an announcement on Tuesday (June 18) and possibly release a whitepaper about its upcoming "cryptocurrency". But is it a true cryptocurrency according to the "traditional" definition of the word, i.e. in the same way that Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency?

One of the many interesting things about Facebook's new stablecoin is that it has managed to get two people with generally diametrically opposed views on cryptocurrency to agree, possibly for the very first time, on something crypto-related: that Facebook's new coin is not a real cryptocurrency.

What Antonopoulos Says About It

In a video (titled "Bitcoin Q&A: Facebook's GlobalCoin") he published on his YouTube channel on June 11, Antonopoulos explained that what Facebook is proposing is not a cryptocurrency because "it doesn't have any the fundamental characteristics of cryptocurrency, i.e. "it doesn't stand on the five pillars of an open blockchain." The five pillars are: it's open; it's public; it's neutral; it's borderless; and it's censorship-resistant." 

Antonopoulos says that all of these five characteristics "stem from decentralization of control", and that "anything that's created by a centralized organization... cannot achieve any of these five pillars," and the reason for that is that "the law prevents them from doing so."

What Roubini Says About It

As for Roubini, in a recent interview with Coindesk, he said this about Facebook's stablecoin:

“It has nothing to do with blockchain. Fully private, controlled, centralized, verified and authorized by a small number of permissioned nodes. So what is crypto or blockchain about it? None.”

Although many members of the crypto community have expressed similar concerns, Roubini denies that he shares similar views as the "crypto faithful" since he doesn't even believe that it is possible to have a "public decentralized trustless blockchain":

“But in my opinion, public decentralized trustless blockchain is a pipe dream … so we disagree on 99% of [the] substance.”

In fact, as recently as May 8, according to CNBC, he called crypto "the mother and father of all bubbles" and went on to say:

"The term 'cryptocurrency' is totally a misnomer... To be a currency, you have to be a unit of account, valuable and a scalable means of payment.”

And he thinks even Bitcoin does not deserve to be called a cryptocurrency since it "can't be scaled efficiently" (due to a throughput of only seven transactions per second), too volatile, and too "susceptible to fraud."

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Bitcoin Drops Below $8550 for First Time in a Week

Siamak Masnavi

Around 19:55 (UTC) on Tuesday (January 21), the Bitcoin price fell below $8,550 for the first time since January 14, thereby helping to drag down the price of many altcoins by single-digit percentages.

According to data from CryptoCompare, although Bitcoin had been mostly trading above the $8,600 level since 14:00 (UTC) on January 14, dropped to $8,526 around 19:55 (UTC) on January 21, as we can see in the two-week BTC-USD price chart shown below:

BTC-USD 2 Week Chart on 21 Jan 2020.png

Naturally, this has hurt the prices of many altcoins; here are a few examples:

  • Ethereum (ETH): $167.84; down 0.26%
  • Bitcoin Cash (BCH): $342.92; down 2.24%
  • EOS: $3.62; down 1.55%
  • Stellar (XLM): $0.0629; down 1.64%

Popular crypto analyst/trader Josh Rager, who is also a Co-Founder of online crypto learning platform Blockroots, as well as an advisor to several blockchain startups, offered this bit of technical analysis: 


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