Nouriel Roubini - cryptocurrency scams. Crypto is beginning to sound even stupider and stupider:
Initial coin offerings have become the most common way to finance cryptocurrency ventures, of which there are now nearly 1,600 and rising. In exchange for your dollars, pounds, euros, or other currency, an ICO issues digital “tokens,” or “coins,” that may or may not be used to purchase some specified good or service in the future.
Huh... that kinda sounds like massive hyperinflation through money printing, doesn't it?
Thus it is little wonder that, according to the ICO advisory firm Satis Group, 81% of ICOs are scams created by con artists, charlatans, and swindlers looking to take your money and run. It is also little wonder that only 8% of cryptocurrencies end up being traded on an exchange, meaning that 92% of them fail.
Wow. Well, thankfully, from my own experience here at university, most of these scams are only fleecing corrupt Chinese communist party officials.
If you invest in a conventional (non-crypto) business, you are afforded a variety of legal rights – to dividends if you are a shareholder, to interest if you are a lender, and to a share of the enterprise’s assets should it default or become insolvent. Such rights are enforceable because securities and their issuers must be registered with the state.
Moreover, in legitimate investment transactions, issuers are required to disclose accurate financial information, business plans, and potential risks. There are restrictions limiting the sale of certain kinds of high-risk securities to qualified investors only. And there are anti-money-laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations to prevent tax evasion, concealment of ill-gotten gains, and other criminal activities such as the financing of terrorism.
In the Wild West of ICOs, most cryptocurrencies are issued in breach of these laws and regulations, under the pretense that they are not securities at all. Hence, most ICOs deny investors any legal rights whatsoever. They are generally accompanied by vaporous “white papers” instead of concrete business plans. Their issuers are often anonymous and untraceable. And they skirt all AML and KYC regulations, leaving the door open to any criminal investor.
Wow. Again, I guess, easy come easy go.
In fact, the only reason to restrict a purchase to token-holders is to create an illegal cartel of service providers who are safe from price competition and in a position to gouge their customers. Consider Dentacoin, a ridiculous cryptocurrency that can be spent only on dental services (and which almost no dentist actually accepts). It would be hard to come up with a better illustration of why business cartels are illegal in all civilized countries.
Of course, the crypto-cartels would counter that customers who incur the cost of buying a token will benefit if that token appreciates in value. But this makes no sense. If the price of the token rises above the market value of the good or service being provided, then no one would buy the token. The only plausible reason for forcing the use of a token, then, is to hike prices or bilk investors.
Wow^2. Seems like the people buying this garbage don't even know basic economics... which I guess is understandable if their only education has been the Mises Institute or some Ron Paul videos.