The debate among cryptocurrency advocates and detractors is fierce. But a reddit conversation thread can only provide so much value. The discussion gets really interesting when those in the know take opposite sides of the argument.
In the crypto corner stands John McAfee, who epitomizes the term maverick. And in the “don’t believe the hype around cryptocurrencies” corner stands Martin Armstrong.
What makes the debate between the two so interesting is that both have had serious run-ins with the government. Both are technical whizzes. Each has a massive loyal following. And yet they completely disagree on the future of cryptocurrencies.
We’ll let you decide who is right after reading the arguments below.
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Table of Contents
John McAfee: The Rise, Fall & Rise
John McAfee started his career as a suit-and-tie executive, who brought McAfee Antivirus to the world. He sold his stake in the company and made a fortune in the process.
Fast forward a few decades and his story rivals the escapades of some of history’s most vibrant characters.
After his life in Silicon Valley, McAfee moved to Belize. But a quiet retirement was not in his future. He ended up hiring a virtual private army of security personnel. And in a Netflix documentary, Gringo, made about him, an accusatory finger is pointed at him regarding the events surrounding his neighbor’s death while living in Central America.
It should be noted that McAfee has strongly refuted the accusations and pointed to a YouTube video where he says people interviewed were paid by Showtime to lie.
The finger-pointing didn’t stop him from reinventing himself upon his return to the U.S. as a cryptocurrency advocate. He even ran for President when he sought the nomination of the Libertarian Party.
He claims to be a master of disinformation, so how much of what he communicates on Twitter can be believed? Perhaps only he knows but, irrespective of that fact, he is one of the most influential voices in the cryptocurrency movement.
And it’s not undeserved by any means. McAfee was on board the cryptocurrency train long before the general public had even heard the term Bitcoin.
He regularly tweets about new digital coins and Initial Coin Offerings, and makes predictions about the future of Ethereum, Bitcoin, and blockchain. His accuracy in forecasting has resulted in a loyal following of nearly one million at last count.
So, in the crypto corner, McAfee stands as an early adopter with a successful track record. And if you can distinguish the woods from the trees in his communications, you could make a real case that he is a mathematical genius who has a crystal clear view the future for cryptocurrencies and blockchain applications.
Economist, Pariah, Consultant
Like McAfee, Martin Armstrong had an early professional career that earned him a place among the elite.
He was brought in by Margaret Thatcher to consult on economic policy, advised European politicians in the early days of the euro project, and became famous for identifying the timing of the 1987 Wall Street Crash to the day.
Then the government came and his downfall began.
His rollercoaster life story from top economist to pariah is documented in the movie, The Forecaster.
Armstrong endured severe injustices at the hands of government yet refused to give up his sacred code: artificial intelligence that interprets global financial data and, by all accounts, makes astoundingly accurate predictions.
Upon his release from prison, Armstrong bounced back with aplomb.
He re-claimed his position as a leading economist. And despite being shunned by the mainstream media, he amassed a popular following by publishing a daily blog on finance, economics, stock markets, politics, and even ancient history.
When he is featured in brand name publications, the slant tilts negative. Add that to his imprisonment at the hands of government and it’s probably fair to assume that Armstrong expresses only views in which he truly believes, as opposed to acting as a paid mouthpiece for the financial establishment.
Moreover, he claims his purpose now is to help the public by revealing the cyclicality and fractal nature of the Universe, and its implications for stock markets and politics.
As a sufferer of government overreach, Armstrong has every reason to jump on the cryptocurrency bandwagon and eschew fiat currencies, but he doesn’t.
With a history of accurate forecasting, what does Armstrong see that cryptocurrency proponents don’t? Or what is he missing that John McAfee does see when making his predictions of $1,000,000 per Bitcoin by 2020?
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$1,000,000 Bitcoin By 2020
In interviews McAfee has stated that he not only believes Bitcoin can reach $1,000,000 per coin by 2020 but also that his forecast is conservative.
Unlike some crypto predictions based on opinion alone, McAfee claims to have actually crunched the numbers.
Knowing that the supply of Bitcoin is fixed, McAfee has calculated the computing power needed to mine the very last Bitcoin.
He insists Bitcoin miners will certainly mine the very last Bitcoin, and the power required to do so leads him to a plausible price prediction – because miners won’t pursue the final Bitcoin unless the effort is profitable.
But calculating the cost of computing power to mine Bitcoin is not his only method of calculation. He also has projected out the price increases expected as more people use cryptocurrencies.
Like any network effect (think Facebook), the more users the more useful the “thing” becomes and the more value it accrues.
As Bitcoin gains mass adoption, so too will it become much more valuable in his view.
No matter what method John McAfee uses to forecast the price of Bitcoin, he arrives at a value north of $1,000,000 per coin.
Is he right? We look to Armstrong to provide a counter-argument.
Beware Of Cryptocurrencies
Armstrong makes a number of compelling arguments to combat McAfee’s mathematical analysis.
First, Armstrong states any claim that cryptocurrencies can displace fiat currencies, such as the dollar, is made by someone who fails to understand how the financial world really works.
The economy, according to Armstrong, is built on a foundation of debt. When you deposit $1 at a bank it doesn’t loan out $1 to someone else. It loans around 1,000% of the deposited amount to borrowers.
Without debt, argues Armstrong, home prices would collapse and the fallout would lead to blood on the streets.
The other problem with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is their inherent lack of stability. You need to know when exchanging goods for money that the money doesn’t change value by a large amount in the blink of an eye as cryptocurrencies have done historically.
The problem is when you buy something for 1 Bitcoin and the next day it’s worth twice as much because Bitcoin changed in value so dramatically. Somebody won big and somebody lost big but in the end confidence in a stable value is lost when exchanging goods and services using cryptocurrencies.
Another argument put forth by Armstrong is that governments simply will not allow cryptocurrencies to displace fiat currency.
This is perhaps the most interesting point of debate because McAfee contends that regulations are only effective when they can be enforced.
The moment distributed digital wallets can be used to store digital currencies, governments lose the power to enforce regulations according to McAfee.
Martin Armstrong vs John McAfee:
Who Is Right?
Perhaps McAfee is right and technology will outpace the ability of governments to enforce laws and new regulations or perhaps Armstrong is right and, by forcing digital transactions underground, the rosy future for digital currencies turns gloomy.
What makes the debate especially interesting at this time is Armstrong’s artificial intelligence made famous during the 1987 crash called the 2018 top in cryptocurrencies to the day while McAfee has been right for years on the long-term trend.
Who will be right and who will have egg on their face? We invite the two technology gurus to debate each other and, as impartial moderators, we will leave it to the audience to decide who emerges victorious.
Do you think cryptocurrencies will replace the dollar, euro, and yen? Or will they crash and burn? Share your views in the comments below.
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