Long time crypto critic and economist Nouriel Roubini, also dubbed as Dr. Doom for his pessimistic predictions, has recently promoted an asset that includes a cryptocurrency token. His sudden reversal of position has been met with disfavor among the veterans in the cryptocurrency industry.
Roubini serves as the Chief Economist and Co-founder of fintech firm Atlas (Asset Trust for Land, Adaptation, and Sustainability) which aims to build a climate-resilient investments portfolio—one of its offerings is a cryptocurrency called “Atlas Token”.
Atlas describes its offerings as “digital currency for resiliency,” suggesting it can outperform interest-bearing bank accounts. The company also highlighted that its product is “enabled by AI (artificial intelligence), ML (machine learning), climate technology, and blockchain”; however, the precise impact of its token or blockchain technology on climate change mitigation is still undisclosed.
“Pegged to a carefully chosen portfolio of liquid real-world assets—climate-resilient REITs, strategic commodities, inflation-hedged sovereign bonds, and gold—The Atlas Climate Token is a democratized, digital store of value for users worldwide,” the website stated.
Moreover, Atlas also shared that it is developing an exchange-traded funds (ETF) and an index fund to enhance portfolio performance as climate change unfolds. The ETF is expected to launch in early 2024, with no set timeline for the index fund or token.
“Atlas is rolling out a new index that will help investors do two things, first to invest into assets that are similar to those they invest today but in a new construct that provides a better risk reward profile. Second, invest with purpose and invest for good,” Roubini stated in the promotional video played on the site.
Roubini on Crypto and Blockchain Prior to Launch
In 2018, he projected that the price of Bitcoin is going to zero “unless the crypto-manipulation gangs start pumping and dumping or wash trading again.”
In 2019, Roubini predicted a grim future for Ethereum, stating its value will go negative due to perceived externalities like energy waste and pollution from mining. He expressed dislike towards blockchain technology, which he deems no better than a spreadsheet.
In June 2021, during an interview with Yahoo Finance, he remarked that cryptocurrencies do not have any fundamental value and are driven by speculation. Earlier this year, Roubini once said in another interview when the FTX collapse was unfolding that “99% of crypto is a scam, criminal activity, total bubble and a massive ponzi scheme.”
Following this, during Abu Dhabi Finance Week in November 2022, Roubini stated that the entire crypto ecosystem is a fraud.
“What are the seven C’s of crypto? Concealed, corrupt, crooks, criminals, conmen, carnival barkers, and CZ,” he elaborated. During the event, Roubini did not hesitate to diss the Binance CEO and co-founder Changpeng Zhao (CZ) who was also present at the time.
CZ and Hayes React
Following the unveiling of Roubini’s crypto project, CZ expressed his disapproval, stating that “some people are shameless.”
In response to the tweet, Atlas has taken down logos of external companies on its “Team” page. Nevertheless, the website continues to highlight the extensive expertise of former Binance personnel in its team, featuring individuals like Mayur Kamat, the Senior Vice President of Product, who previously served as the Global Head of Product at Binance under Zhao’s leadership.
Conversely, BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes responded to the debut of Atlas, noting that Roubini incorporated various buzzwords (AI, ML, Climate Technology, and Blockchain), indicating an intention to generate profits.
Hayes and Roubini previously had a debate against each other in 2019, the discourse revolved around the fundamental value of cryptocurrency. Roubini proclaimed that “99.99% of crypto currencies will inevitably fail – maybe only Bitcoin will last over just a few years.”
This article is published on BitPinas: Longtime Crypto Critic Nouriel Roubini Launches Token
Feature photo by Kjetil Ree.
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