Titled “The Skeptics: A Tribute to Bold Assertions,” the page includes a sampling of digital currency doomsayers from the earliest days of cryptocurrency. Starting with Niels van der Linden’s dire warning video “Don’t Buy Bitcoins” (when the price was a mere $0.77 per BTC), the document tracks the numerous “experts” since who have warned of bitcon’s perils. Bitcoin’s “death” is predicted at almost every turn, even as the price visibly rises.
Although good for a chuckle, the “Skeptics” page also provides a meaningful insight into the nature of mainstream adoption. Dismissed almost laughing as some out-of-control meme from 2011 until mid-2013 (Heidi Moore’s “Confused about Bitcoin? It’s ‘the Harlem Shake of currency’,” Joseph Weisenthal’s “Bitcoin is a Joke,” Matthew O’Brien’s “Bitcoin Is the Segway of Currency”), the criticism shifted sharply in late 2013. Instead of being a funny topic for fringe journalists and pop culture commentators, bitcoin was suddenly being treated as a “bubble” and a threat to the economic system by some of the most serious economists in the world. People like U.C. Berkley economics professor Brad DeLong and Nobel-prize winning economists Paul Krugman and Robert J. Shiller.
And, as fate would have it, extremely respected finance professor Mark T. Williams.
In fact, when Williams made his now-infamous claim, bitcoin was trading at $1043, and the price drop he predicted actually happened, falling below $380 only a few months ago. Even though it was far less dramatic than he suspected it would be, there’s value in understanding the perspectives of skeptics like Williams. Williams wasn’t wrong because he hated bitcoin and wanted it to fail. He wasn’t wrong because he was ignorant, stupid or misinformed. Williams was wrong for the same reason everyone before him was wrong: He underestimated just how powerful, world-changing and resilient the blockchain technology is.
Although there are some chuckles to be found in the list, it also serves as a powerful reminder that even the “experts” and talking heads of today can be completely wrong about bitcoin’s future.