Dear Mr. Buterin,
You are walking into a trap.
Debating Nouriel Roubini is a bad idea, for a number of reasons.
Mr. Roubini has repeatedly attacked the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries. You have repeatedly advocated for them. It might seem natural that a discussion between the two of you would be fruitful and enlightening.
However, I believe that this would not be the case.
Mr. Roubini has sensationalized his antipathy for cryptocurrency to an alarming degree. His quest is not to engage in real discussion – his mind is made up. Instead, his motivation is to advance an erroneous and disturbing narrative that our industry is evil, corrupt, foolish.
He is on the attack, and he expects our representatives to rise up to face him.
You may not always wish to don the mantle of spokesman for the cryptocurrency world, but at other times it’s a role you have embraced.
His attack would be legitimized if someone of your standing were to engage in debate with him. I believe that the very nature of such a debate would necessarily require you to defend, while he attacks. When one of his economic blows lands (as it surely would – whatever else he is, he certainly isn’t stupid) it will be seized upon by his allies – CNBC, Bloomberg, and the other media outlets that give him the airtime he craves.
Never mind that you dispassionately argue about decentralization, or demonstrate the societal good that has come of your creation – his goal is to provide a sound bite for the circling media sharks.
That’s the trap. You cannot win.
The challenge to debate is designed with only negative resolution in mind: to decontextualize your words, to trap you, to force a mistake. It doesn’t matter that he’s wrong, so long as you are too. Will the media report your point about existing financial systems? Or the low blow he lands on a stolen ETH story?
Remember, in a society that becomes less civil by the day, Mr. Roubini has taken a page out of the playbook of another successful Twitter character, and has opted to debase rather than debate.
99% of crypto land is one shitcoin traded for another shitcoin. And the average shitcoin lost 90% or more of its value in the last year. So Crypto Land is Crap Land, a cesspool of lunatics with severe Freudian scatological obsessions that swim 24/7 in their own stinking shit.
— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) October 11, 2018
Those are not the words of someone who seeks rational discourse. When Mr. Roubini continued by declaring that crypto is a haven for right-wing extremists; when he said that its proponents were fascists; when he opined that you and I, for advancing this technology, are racists; that’s when Mr. Roubini lost his right to debate.
Mr. Roubini doesn’t want a discussion – he wants a platform. A pedestal from which he can rain down insults with little fear of repercussion.
After all, this is a man invited to give ‘expert testimony’ on cryptocurrency to the United States Senate. Whose outlandish behavior is rewarded with TV appearances. Instead of being sanctioned for his inchoate ramblings on cryptocurrency (and lies – he knows as well as you do that there’s a difference between PoW and PoS; he just chooses not to relay that knowledge to the Senate) he is offered the opportunity to debate our finest minds.
So as someone who co-founded a company that has dedicated itself to advocacy within this industry, I ask you not to grace Mr. Roubini with your acceptance.
Like a naughty child who cries for attention from their time-out stool, Mr. Roubini must be ignored – at least, until he stops throwing his crypto tantrum.
He’ll get tired in the end.
And when he does, when he calms down a little, that will be the time to have a serious talk.
Co-Founder and Managing Editor, Crypto Briefing
This article is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Crypto Br… wait, yes it does. Absolutely.