Nassim Nicholas Taleb, the best-selling author of Black Swan and Antifragile, is not hiding the fact that he is disappointed with Bitcoin.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, mathematical statistician, and former quantitative trader. He is widely recognized as one of the world’s top experts on probability and uncertainty.

Publishing company Penguin Random House describes Taleb’s landmark five-book series Incerto (Fooled by RandomnessThe Black SwanThe Bed of ProcrustesAntifragileSkin in the Game), which as been translated to forty-one languages, “an investigation of opacity, luck, uncertainty, probability, human error, risk, and decision-making in a world we don’t understand.”

His publisher goes on to say that Taleb “spends most of his time as a flâneur, meditating in cafés across the planet,” even though since 2008 he has been serving as a Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering.

In his 2007 book The Black Swan, Taleb wrote that a “Black Swan” event is an event that has the following three attributes:

First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility.

Second, it carries an extreme ‘impact’.

Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

I stop and summarize the triplet: rarity, extreme ‘impact’, and retrospective (though not prospective) predictability.

A small number of Black Swans explains almost everything in our world, from the success of ideas and religions, to the dynamics of historical events, to elements of our own personal lives.

According to a Twitter post published last weekend, Taleb took a jab at Bitcoin, arguing that the cryptoasset is not serving as a proper hedge against a number of economic factors.

Taleb claimed that Bitcoin is not a hedge against inflation, oil squeezes or stocks, and noted that the number one cryptoasset by market capitalization has failed to serve as a hedge against geopolitical events. Taleb said that instead Bitcoin was “actually the exact opposite” and operated as a “perfect sucker game” during periods of low interest rates. 

Taleb’s comments come in response to Bitcoin falling to roughly 50% of its all-time price high, amidst a general sell-off in the crypto markets. Despite the global backdrop of upcoming rate hikes and the war between the Ukraine and Russia, Bitcoin has failed to appreciate against the dollar.

Taleb, who previously supported the rise of crypto as an alternative source of money, has become increasingly critical of digital assets. Taleb revealed earlier in the month that he had begun selling his BTC, noting the cryptoasset’s high volatility and failure to materialize as a suitable form of payment. 

In June 2021, Taleb published a paper titled “Bitcoin, Currencies, and Bubbles,” arguing that Bitcoin has failed to satisfy the notion of “currency without government.” Taleb claimed that Bitcoin did not constitute a short or long-term store of value, and was not a suitable safe haven for investors. 


The views and opinions expressed by the author, or any people mentioned in this article, are for informational purposes only, and they do not constitute financial, investment, or other advice. Investing in or trading cryptoassets comes with a risk of financial loss.

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