Report: Tim Berners Lee Says Cryptocurrency ‘Only Speculative’ – PYMNTS.com

The inventor of the World Wide Web said cryptocurrency is “only speculative.”
CNBC reported Sunday (Feb. 19) that Tim Berners-Lee compared cryptocurrencies to the internet stocks at the time of the dot-com bubble that had no solid business behind them and came crashing down.
“It’s only speculative,” Berners-Lee said during the Friday (Feb. 17) episode of CNBC’s “Beyond the Valley” podcast, according to the report. “Obviously, that’s really dangerous. [It’s] if you want to have a kick out of gambling, basically.”
One useful application for digital currencies would be remittances — if they were immediately converted back into fiat currency upon receipt, Berners-Lee said.
This report comes about a week after Federal Reserve Board Governor Christopher Waller said that crypto-assets are nothing more than speculative assets — “like a baseball card.”
Other parts of the crypto ecosystem — notably blockchain and technologies like smart contracts and tokenization — do have broader applications, Waller said in a Feb. 10 presentation.
Waller said this while cautioning banks that they must approach crypto in the same “safe and sound” manner they generally employ, adding that not only consumers but also institutional investors that had the resources to conduct due diligence had been impacted by the decline in the values of crypto-assets and the bankruptcies of crypto-related firms.
“As with any customer in any industry, a bank engaging with crypto customers would have to be very clear about the customers’ business models, risk-management systems and corporate governance structures to ensure that the bank is not left holding the bag if there is a crypto meltdown,” Waller said.
About a week before that, Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger said cryptocurrency is “not a currency, not a commodity and not a security.”
“Instead, it’s a gambling contract with a nearly 100% edge for the house, entered into in a country where gambling contracts are traditionally regulated only by states that compete in laxity,” Munger wrote in a Feb. 1 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.
Munger’s business partner, Warren Buffet, once referred to bitcoin as “rat poison squared” and said that not only does it do nothing and is it backed by nothing, but it costs something to buy nothing.
PYMNTS Data: Why Consumers Are Trying Digital Wallets
A PYMNTS study, “New Payments Options: Why Consumers Are Trying Digital Wallets” finds that 52% of US consumers tried out a new payment method in 2022, with many choosing to give digital wallets a try for the first time.
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