How Much do 'Expert' Bitcoin Economists Really Know About Bitcoin

How Much do ‘Expert’ Bitcoin Economists Really Know About Bitcoin?

With Bitcoin breaking into the mainstream in 2017, many self-proclaimed “experts” have emerged, offering advice on how to use the cryptocurrency to get rich quick. While most have no standing, some actually have backgrounds in finance and economics, using their qualifications — like PhDs — to argue their authority. But how much do these “expert” Bitcoin economists really know about cryptocurrency?

Also read: Wall St. Thinks Bitcoin Is Risky? Their Volatility ETNs May case a Crash

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Bitcoin Economists: Experts or Attention Seekers?

I got the chance to interview a PhD economist from Arizona State University — claiming to be a cryptocurrency expert — and was able to get an idea of the knowledge level possessed by those who make such claims.

Is he really an expert? The answer probably won’t shock you.

I sent a list of questions regarding cryptocurrency, their prices, and their competitive nature to the ASU professor. This professor — claiming to be a cryptocurrency expert — boasts publications in top economics journals, citations in print, radio and television broadcasts, and a long list of university-level teaching experience.

So of course, given such accolades, I expected a lot from this economist. Unfortunately, the good professor did not deliver on my expectations.

His answers, while not factually incorrect or misleading, were outdated at best. I had seen amateur enthusiasts say the same things in 2014 on Reddit. In addition to their lack of substance, most of his answers were incredibly vague. Undoubtedly, the vagueness served to protect himself — he could not be accused of being uninformed if he didn’t provide real answers — but it also meant his answers failed to provide useful information to anyone, veteran or newbie.

ASU Bitcoin

The professor’s outdated answers on bitcoin price volatility and scalability left everything to be desired and suggested a cursory rather than expert understanding of the topics, while his non-answers to other questions dodged the point entirely:

What are your thoughts on volatility? Has bitcoin become less volatile over the years? What will it take for bitcoin to stabilize?

Volatility is a huge problem for bitcoin if it is ever to be taken seriously as a means of exchange. I do think the crypto prices will stabilize, but I am not sure which digital currencies will ultimately prevail. It might be bitcoin or some other crypto that survives in the long run.

Will Bitcoin be able to overcome the ongoing scalability issues causing high fees and long confirmation delays? Or will a competitor, such as Bitcoin Cash take Bitcoin’s place?

Unless there is some kind of crypto first mover advantage, bitcoin is very vulnerable to competition from other digital currencies. I liken the crypto market to the early days of the Internet, where you had pets.com, myspace.com, andfacebook.com, yet only one truly succeeded, while the others faded into oblivion.

What do you think about altcoins like Litecoin, Ethereum, DASH, and Ripple? Do they have any legitimate value and/or use cases?

We still do not know which features are going to appeal to the market. Is it speedy transactions? Or the ability to make smart contracts? Or total anonymity? Or backing by an investment bank? All of this still needs to shake out before we know the winners and losers.

His PR rep even added a question to my list that I did not approve. And even that answer was unhelpful:

Anything else you think readers should know?

Watch out for volatility and do not be surprised if some crypos are spectacular successes while others are spectacular failures.

So, to summarize, the ASU economist revealed himself as somewhat knowledgeable about cryptocurrency, but far from an expert. The takeaway: spend an hour on Reddit and you too can become an “expert.”

However, I am not one to declare myself an expert. So, I have provided the entire Q&A session to allow readers to come to their own conclusions.


What do you think about the recent surge in the bitcoin price? Is it pure speculation, or do these new highs have staying power?

Financial economists usually trust market prices in the sense of not being under or overvalued. My personal opinion is that there might be a little bit of greater fool theory at work here, where speculators are buying bitcoin in the hope that other speculators will pay an even higher price down the road.

What are your thoughts on volatility? Has bitcoin become less volatile over the years? What will it take for bitcoin to stabilize?

Volatility is a huge problem for bitcoin if it is ever to be taken seriously as a means of exchange. I do think the crypto prices will stabilize, but I am not sure which digital currencies will ultimately prevail. It might be bitcoin or some other crypto that survives in the long run.

Will Bitcoin be able to overcome the ongoing scalability issues causing high fees and long confirmation delays? Or will a competitor, such as Bitcoin Cash take Bitcoin’s place?

Unless there is some kind of crypto first mover advantage, bitcoin is very vulnerable to competition from other digital currencies. I liken the crypto market to the early days of the Internet, where you had pets.com, myspace.com, andfacebook.com, yet only one truly succeeded, while the others faded into oblivion.

What do you think about altcoins like Litecoin, Ethereum, DASH, and Ripple? Do they have any legitimate value and/oruse cases?

We still do not know which features are going to appeal to the market. Is it speedy transactions? Or the ability to make smart contracts? Or total anonymity? Or backing by an investment bank? All of this still needs to shake out before we know the winners and losers.

Anything else you think readers should know?

Watch out for volatility and do not be surprised if some cryptos are spectacular successes while others are spectacular failures.


Is the ASU professor really an expert? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, Arizona State University

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