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The 'Dr. Doom' economist and the CEO of a crypto exchange are in a massive spat - here's what both sides told us

Business Insider | Jul 4, 2019, 09.36PM IST

Arthur Hayes

  • An economist nicknamed "Dr. Doom" for his pessimistic predictions traded insults with the CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange in an unaired debate at the Asia Blockchain Summit this week.
  • Cryptocurrency critic Nouriel Roubini and crypto proponent Arthur Hayes held a discussion marketed as the "Tangle in Taipei" on Wednesday, but the conversation wasn't broadcast.
  • Hayes called Roubini a "one-trick pony," while Roubini called Hayes a "total arrogant jerk" in emails to Markets Insider.
  • View Markets Insider's homepage for more stories.

An economist nicknamed "Dr. Doom" for his pessimistic predictions traded insults with the CEO of a cryptocurrency exchange in an unaired debate at the Asia Blockchain Summit this week.

Nouriel Roubini, an economics professor at New York University's Stern School of Business, has been a longtime skeptic of bitcoin and frequent critic of the cryptocurrency industry's lack of regulation.

Arthur Hayes, CEO of BitMEX, a cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform headquartered in the Seychelles, has been a vocal proponent of the cryptocurrencies. The pair held a discussion marketed as the "Tangle in Taipei" on Wednesday, but the conversation wasn't broadcasted live.

Roubini and Hayes shared some of the contents of their debate, and their views of one another, with Markets Insider.

roubini

"Due to a lack of analytical rigor behind his criticisms of Bitcoin, Roubini attempted to focus the debate on the business practices of BitMEX," Hayes said.

"After the debate, it was quite clear that Roubini is a one-trick pony," he added. "He increases his publicity by being hyper critical of Bitcoin regardless of the actual facts. And that is why the media trots him out whenever they need someone to bash Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency industry."

Roubini was even more critical of Hayes, in an email to Markets Insider.

"The guy is a total idiot who does not know how to debate; he was pathetic, rehashing old, stale arguments that made no sense," Roubini said. "It was embarrassing to watch him speak. He is a total arrogant jerk."

"Everyone who watched the debate there - even crypto zealots - told me and told others that I was the clear winner," he added.

Read more: 'You just have more people annoying you:' The CEO of a cryptocurrency platform offering 100x leverage explains why he turns down investor cash

Roubini also attacked BitMEX as a "total scam" that flouts financial regulations around money laundering and verifying customers' identities. He accused the exchange of taking advantage of unaccredited investors by offering them excessive leverage on crypto derivatives, insider trading, front-running, using blackouts to prevent clients from trading, charging excessive fees, and turning a blind eye to US customers illegally trading on its platform through the use of virtual private networks.

"The guy is a thug that is a public danger to thousands of small clueless investors who have lost their shirt because of his scam," Roubini said. BitMEX "should be prosecuted for fraud and banned fully," he added.

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