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'Black Swan' author Nassim Taleb says FedNow will put the 'crypto cult' out of business

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(Kitco News) - Nassim Taleb, the best-selling author of ‘Black Swan’ and frequent crypto critic, spoke at the Bloomberg Invest 2023 conference on Thursday, and he didn’t hold back when asked about his views on Bitcoin and other digital assets in the wake of the SEC’s recent actions against Coinbase and Binance.

“I actually have been a critic of Bitcoin,” he said. “My principal reason is, guess what, it's not even good for money laundering! It is too traceable, you see. Gold you can re-melt bars, you can do something, but Bitcoin is a book entry somewhere that anyone with basic knowledge of statistics can triangularize.”

Taleb’s second criticism of Bitcoin centers on the quasi-religiousity of its most zealous adherents. “It was transformed into a cult,” he said. “I mean, the first time in history, probably, we’re mixing money and cult. Usually you do cults with yoga, cults with something else, a cult with music, but here is a cult with a financial product.” He added that the two don't go together well “because finance has some gravity rules that eventually end up hurting that model.”

Taleb said he believes the crypto era will be short-lived. “It's a fad,” he said. “I mean the claims they make that they're a refuge are false, that they're good for transactions is false, they're not even attracting the bad guys anymore.”

He also said that the Federal Reserve can very quickly replace cryptocurrencies, and he thinks that's the next step. “Actually, next month they're doing FedNow, immediate transmission,” he said. “So basically we put the crypto out of business.”

Taleb also dismissed crypto’s appeal with younger investors and claims that older finance people don’t get it. “When someone says ‘this is generational,’ and you're talking about music, it’s fine,” he said. “If somebody says this is generational, and you’re talking about what? Finance? It means that you're glorifying ignorance, okay? And you can't glorify ignorance with random events, with processes. To the contrary you've got to glorify experience.”

He said the “cult of youth” that we see in crypto today is getting busted, and they won’t be around much longer. “Soon the kids will no longer be interested in crypto, they'll be interested in, I don't know, some vegetarian diets or something else.”

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