Ex-IWF economist Kenneth Rogoff: The Bitcoin bubble will burst

The former IMF economist Kenneth Rogoff is certain: “The Bitcoin market is a bubble and will collapse, but other crypto currencies would thrive and determine the future of finance. This is the quintessence of an editorial by Harvard professor published this week in the British Guardian. This adds another name to the list of prominent Bitcoin skeptics.

Are crypto currencies the undisputed future of digital finance, or are they just the next tulip in the face of dizzying exchange rates?

The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kenneth Rogoff answered this question this week with a disgruntled forecast. His look into the future predicts: “The Bitcoin rate is a bubble that will collapse. However, this is not a rejection of crypto currencies per se, rather the technology would “flourish for a long time”, Rogoff confirms the view of the current IMF director Christine Lagarde.

The ongoing price sprint would come to an end and Bitcoin news itself would be replaced as the currency

After JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon had already sent the Bitcoin news exchange rate on a downward trend with his accusation of fraud in September, another well-known voice from the economy is now painting a gloomy picture of the future for the quasi-leading currency.

Rogoff sees the pessimistic prospects for Bitcoin as simply justified: Governments could not and would not allow the currencies of decentralised providers to determine the future of finance without public control and at the same time catalyse tax fraud and money laundering. Sooner or later Bitcoin will be the fate of all currencies, Rogoff says. And this is the subordination of state authority.

In Rogoff’s view, this is the end of Bitcoin’s attractiveness: “In the long term, upcoming regulatory efforts would deter investors from speculative interest and dampen the market. He analyses: If the almost anonymity and liberation of state control is omitted, this also applies to the justification of ever new price peaks.

Regulation discourages investors

He continues to see this in the already existing density of alternative coins and the possible development of new crypto currencies regulated by central banks, which would deprive Bitcoin of its right to exist and its unique position. An end of the exchange rate highs can thus be foreseen.

While regulatory responses from the state, for example from Russia, are already emerging and are thus heralding such comprehensive government control, other countries are aiming to exploit Bitcoin’s potential. The 64-year-old takes a critical view of this. Rogoff sees Japan’s moves to recognise Bitcoin as an official currency as a threat to possible tax havens and safe havens for crime financing.

Meanwhile, trade in Bitcoin is booming and has recovered strongly since the share price fell sharply in September due to Jamie Dimon’s comments and China’s increased regulation. On Monday, 10 October 2017, the exchange rate reached a high for the month of 4,638.07 US dollars. This means that the currency has risen by 365 % since the beginning of the year.

Central Banks and Bitcoin – A Journey Around the Globe

While the Bitcoin is currently climbing undreamt-of heights beyond the recently astronomical 15,000 US dollars, there is not only euphoria and a gold-rush atmosphere, but also doubt, scepticism and fear of the next uncontrolled tulip around the crypto currencies – especially on the part of state authorities and central banks.

If one asks governments, state institutions and authorities, there is anything but consensus on how to proceed with the emerging economic power beyond conventional control. On the contrary, depending on where you look on our planet, there is a patchwork of government responses instead of a unanimous tenor.

To regulate or not to regulate – that is the question

And the guardians of the world economy are divided. While some market powers want to rule, crypto currencies deny the status of money, do not even see themselves as responsible or consider the monetary risk to be too low, others are taking a blow. With the regulatory lasso, they want to bring the digital currencies back into the safe hands of the authorities.

The following overview takes you on a journey around the globe. It should provide an overview of the global situation and – without claiming to be exhaustive – reveal differences in government approaches.

Part 3 of our journey around the globe leads us to those states that believe they can recognize the potential of crypto currencies and want to use them for themselves.

The hopeful ones

Estonia
The top dog and world leader of the Blockchain implementation Estonia shows himself to be a great advocate of crypto currencies until the end. Bitcoin & Co. do not need to fear regulation in the Baltic States. Rather, the Estonians are inspired and strive to publish their own crypto currency, the Estcoin. The director of the Estonian e-residency programme, Kaspar Korjus, proposed such a digital currency in August. This would allow Estonian citizens to authenticate digital documents from anywhere in the world.

But this was promptly contradicted by ECB President Mario Draghi shortly afterwards. His argument: there must be no parallel currency in the EU to the euro. The Estonians’ enthusiasm for crypto currencies, however, may not have caused much cloudiness – the Estcoin website still exists today and, as their latest blog post suggests, the Estcoin idea is far from buried.

Sweden
Similar to Estonia, Sweden refrains from central bank intervention. Rather, the country’s central bank is enthusiastic about its own use. Since 2015, the Scandinavians have been making plans to become the world’s first cashless country.

In this context, the country’s responsible central bank, the Riksbank, is currently investigating various ways of issuing a digital currency and how this can be implemented technologically.

Apart from crypto currencies, Sweden and Estonia are also among the pioneering countries in terms of further blockchain use. It has been known since 2016 that Sweden is researching a blockchain solution for its land registry entries. Its final test phase was successfully completed at the end of May this year.

Norway
Like its neighbour Sweden, Norway is currently not only waiving the regulation of Bitcoin. In the land of fjords, too, hopes are pinned on its own cryto currency. For example, the Norwegian central bank is currently investigating the possibility of issuing a digital payment alternative. This was announced in May by Jon Nicolaisen, deputy chairman of Norge Bank, in a letter from the Norwegian Academy of Sciences on the current differences between conventional money in bank accounts and the increasingly rapid spread of digital currencies.