Only 81% of “Initial Coin Offerings” created by “con artists, charlatans, and swindlers”? What are the other 19%?: Nouriel Roubini: Initial coin scams

81%? Only 81% of “Initial Coin Offerings” created by “con artists, charlatans, and swindlers”? What are the other 19%? What of their own resources are the issuers putting on the line, and what is the path to long-run value? Not 81%: 100%, Nouriel!: Nouriel Roubini: Initial Coin Scams: “Initial coin offerings have become the most common way to finance cryptocurrency ventures, of which there are now nearly 1,600 and rising…

…According to… Satis Group, 81% of ICOs are scams created by con artists, charlatans, and swindlers looking to take your money and run. It is also little wonder that only 8% of cryptocurrencies end up being traded…. ICOs serve little purpose other than to skirt securities laws that exist to protect investors from being cheated…. In the Wild West of ICOs, most cryptocurrencies are issued… under the pretense that they are not securities at all… deny investors any legal rights whatsoever…. Their issuers are often anonymous and untraceable…. Jay Clayton, the chairman of US Securities and Exchange Commission, recently made it clear that he regards all cryptocurrencies as securities, with the exception of the first mover, Bitcoin, which he considers a commodity….

Beyond facilitating illegal activity, crypto-tokens obfuscate the price-discovery benefits that come when a single currency operates as a unit of account…. Imagine living in a country where instead of simply using the national currency, you had to rely on 200 other world currencies to purchase different goods and services. There would be widespread price confusion, and you would have to eat the cost of converting one volatile currency into another every time you wanted to buy anything…. That is precisely where the ICO charlatans would effectively take us–not to the futuristic world of “The Jetsons,” but to the modern Stone Age world of “The Flintstones” where all transactions occur through the barter of different tokens or goods. It is time to recognize their utopian rhetoric for what it is: self-serving nonsense meant to separate credulous investors from their hard-earned savings.

May 12, 2018


Brad DeLong
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