This Computing Expert Thinks Cryptocurrency Should Die in a Fire. Is He Right?
Nicholas Weaver calls crypto a virus in an interview with Current Affairs and says Bitcoin should burn. Senior academic says Bitcoin doesn't work as a payment, is incredibly damaging for the environment, and only serves criminal activity. However, Bitcoin believers argue it has value as more than a form of payment and that criminal activity on the blockchain can be traced.
A recent Current Affairs interview with Nicholas Weaver, senior staff researcher at the International Computer Science Institute and lecturer in the computer science department at UC Berkeley, is a visceral take down of Bitcoin (BTC) and the cryptocurrency industry.
In the interview, Weaver calls the president of El Salvador a "totalitarian nutcase" and says "the cryptocurrency space itself has the object permanence of a horny mayfly." He finishes by saying: "It's time to really think about burning it down. Now I just want to take the entire cryptocurrency space and throw it into the sun."
The interview is a great read and highlights a number of reasons for investor caution. But how many of his arguments really hold water? We broke down a couple of his main points and examined them in more detail.
Weaver argues crypto doesn't work as a payment
What he said?
Weaver says Bitcoin will never work for payments and accuses companies that say they accept Bitcoin payments of lying. He argues, "Bitcoin burns that much of the world’s electricity to be able to process somewhere between three to seven transactions per second across the entire world."
There are a few reasons Weaver thinks Bitcoin doesn't serve its purpose as a form of payment.
First, it's slow!
It only processes a limited number of transactions per second (TPS). To put that in context, Visa says it can handle 65,000 TPS. Second, the computing expert says those merchants who do accept Bitcoin payments are actually converting it straight into dollars because it is too volatile to keep on their balance sheets.
Finally, he says if your crypto gets stolen you can't get your money back -- transactions on the blockchain are irreversible.
Is he right?
Is it slow? Bitcoin is slow. But other cryptocurrencies are not. For example, Solana (SOL) can process over 700,000 TPS. It's also a relatively new technology, and is still in development. We already have the Lightning network that's designed to sit on top of the Bitcoin system and speed up transactions.