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‘Cryptocurrencies May Become Worthless Overnight’, Says Nobel Prize Winning Economist Robert Merton

Robert C. Merton, an American economist and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management,  is new to the list of Nobel prize laureates in economics who have taken a dim view of bitcoin and its ilk.


Professor Robert Merton said at a fintech forum in Hangzhou, the capital city of China’s eastern Zhejiang province,that do not believe in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, and these digital assets may become worthless overnight, local media outlet reported on October 31.

He claimed that cryptocurrencies will never become a real fiat-currencies like the Chinese renminbi or the U.S. dollar.

“ Currencies like renminbi or US dollar are protected by law, and no bank or payment system can reject it because they are fiat money,” Merton said, “Don’t believe in bitcoin, unless it is supported and officially recognized by governments. But I think this will never happen.”

He also warned that cryptocurrencies that you hold in your hand may plummet to zero virtually overnight.

In addition, he thought fintech and financial innovations will create disruptive challenges for users, providers, advisors and regulators of financial services, but meanwhile, digitalization of financial services will offer enormous global opportunities for new and improved services and substantially lower costs, with disproportional improvements accruing to those who are underserved by current standards. He highlighted that trust is the essentially foundation of the finance industry, but technology itself does not generate trust.

Prof. Merton received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1997 for the creation of a new method to determine the value of derivatives. He proposed a model, widely known as ‘Merton Model’, for assessing the structural credit risk of a company by modeling the company’s equity as a call option on its assets.

Merton is the latest Nobel Prize winner in Economics casting a critical eye on cryptocurrencies. Robert Shiller , a Yale professor and 2013 Nobel laureate for economics said in May that bitcoin is a bubble, and it could go extinct within the next 100 years during a conversation with CNBC.  Joseph Stiglitz, a Columbia professor and 2013 Nobel Prize-winning economist, said that bitcoin should be outlawed at at the 2016 IMF World Bank Spring Meeting in Washington.


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