Ethereum (ETH) creator Vitalik Buterin and notorious economist Nouriel Roubini recently met face-to-face to debate topics on cryptocurrency anonymity and centralization.
The duo has squared off online several times previously but now went head to head on a panel discussion. Their debate attracted an audience of over 1,000 people attending the second Deconomy Conference in Seoul, South Korea.
Roubini labeled the cryptosystem inefficient, unsafe, volatile and not a store of value. He also mentioned price manipulations, pump and dumps, and many cases of fraud. Responding to this, Buterin expressed optimism about future prospects in the space. He pointed out its rising popularity among younger people, suggesting they would be further enhancing its efficiency. He also stressed that blockchain technology helps users to stand against corporate censorship.
Anonymity, Centralization, and Censorship
The debates were focused on the issues of cryptocurrency anonymity and decentralization. Roubini dismissed these arguments as nothing but a myth, saying digital assets are even more centralized than traditional financial systems. To prove his point he mentioned high levels of centralization among miners, exchanges, and developers.
According to Roubini, the crypto space is not censorship-resistant. True privacy is hardly possible as digital assets will be only as anonymous as the government allows them to be.
Governments have the power and authority to have the upper hand in this confrontation. For instance, many regulators now impose KYC norms. Moreover, Roubini believes that only criminals or tax evaders need full anonymity, and the government has fair reasons to be aware of its citizens’ financial activities.
Vitalik Buterin agreed that currently, the networks are not ideal and more centralized than he would like them to be. However, he stressed that crypto is still under development. As an example, he mentioned such game-changers as the decentralized exchanges (DEXs).
Buterin also highlighted the great positive social impact of new technologies, despite any government intrusion. The crypto industry has created new social expectations and demands in terms of privacy. Now, authorities need to adapt to this new reality where the public is armed to challenge its system.
No Winner Yet
At the end of the day, neither opponents scored a conclusive victory, and both stuck firmly to their guns. However, Roubini’s criticisms mainly focused on the current state of things, while Vitalik views the crypto industry on a look-forward basis and not as a finished product, believing it will keep developing and evolving for the better.
Do you share Vitalik’s optimism or Roubini’s skepticism? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!