Bitcoin has its fair share of haters. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Any new paradigm-shifting technology, especially when it involves something as important as money, has experienced this. Just look to the Internet, which a prominent economist claimed was going to be useless as fax at one point in its lifespan.
Out of these haters, there are a few names that come to mind: American billionaire Warren Buffett, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and, arguably the loudest and notable, Nouriel “Dr. Doom” Roubini. Roubini, a New York University professor that famously called 2008’s Great Recession, upped the ante recently, seemingly threatening legal action against one of this industry’s own.
The Tangle in Taipei
Last week, some of the biggest names in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space descended on Taiwan to attend the Asia Blockchain Summit. While big names headlined keynotes, like Binance’s Changpeng Zhao, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee, among others, what many came to see was a single debate.
The spat took place between Roubini and Arthur Hayes, the institutional banker-turned BitMEX chief executive, and was hyped for months on end. In fact, prior to the debate, the two industry insiders had continual tussles on Twitter, during which Roubini and Hayes tried to hurt the reputation of their opponent, while either lauding or bashing Bitcoin and its ilk.
The debate been dubbed “The Tangle in Taipei”, and comes hot on the heels of a previous debate that Roubini was in.
While some wanted the economist to back down, Roubini showed up, as did Hayes. The thing is, only those in attendance know exactly what happened. You see, BitMEX’s staff vehemently disallowed media and attendees from recording, even audio taping, the debate. There have been rumors of leaked tapes, but those are hard to find for obvious reasons.
BitMEX is expected to soon release a condensed video of the debate, which only they have access to. The exchange is expected to act above the board, but Roubini fears that the video that will be released won’t exactly represent what occurred in Taipei.
Roubini on BitMEX CEO: This is Sick Criminal Behaviour
Some two days after the debate, Roubini took to Twitter, which is frequented by both crypto lovers and haters, to bash Hayes. The BitMEX CEO was called the “world’s biggest asshole, jerk, manipulator, and criminal in the world” by Roubini, who was evidently not putting a filter on what he was thinking.
Referencing BitMEX’s promise to release a video outlined what happened on stage, Roubini accused Hayes of trying to make him look bad by “cutting off all my points”.
@CryptoHayes is the biggest asshole, jerk, manipulator and criminal in the world. He is sending to select media a doctored edited highlights video of the debate to make me look bad cutting off all my points.I will sue them. This is sick criminal behaviour.Will not pass you coward
— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) July 5, 2019
He went on to threaten to sue BitMEX, dubbing the accused doctoring of the footage “sick criminal behavior” and deeming Hayes a coward. This comes shortly after he lambasted the cryptocurrency exchange for now allowing the public to record and release directly media regarding the debate. This would presumably fall into the legal category of libel and defamation.
Roubini might be right. Just recently, BitMEX published a sneak peek of the end product video. And, from this writer’s perspective, it wasn’t exactly pretty for the Stern School professor and economist. The teaser video was rife with Roubini dropping curses, all while Hayes joked. Of course, this may actually how the debate was, but crypto entrepreneur Mike Dudas has begged to differ, claiming that the spat might actually have been a Roubini win, hence why the career market cynic is furious.
Whether or not this odd debacle escalates to a full on court case remains to be seen though.