Experts Answer Your Basic Cryptocurrency Questions

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A panel of experts on cryptocurrency, from those earning fortunes to detractors, answer some basic questions on digital coins to help novices gain their footing in a recent interview with CNN Business.

It seems like cryptocurrency is all we hear about these days. But for many who may be interested in venturing into these waters, it’s a bit muddy. Is it a good investment or speculative hype?

Here are some opinions and answers from a panel of experts gathered by CNN.

What is crypto or cryptocurrency?

“It is supposed to be a form of digital money,” says economist Nourel Roubini.

“A different way of exchanging for goods and services,” says Hill Harper.

“There is no middleman,” says Tovonia Evans.

Detractor Peter Schiff says it’s: “Vehicles for speculation, gambling.”

“It’s not that different really from banking,” says NYU business Professor David Yermack.

“Internet money,” says Hailey Lennon.

What are the practical uses for cryptocurrencies?

“It’s just a self-fulfilling referential bubble,” says Nourel Roubini

“bitcoin isn’t a practical means of payment,” Alex de Vries.

“For the criminal the benefits are overwhelming,” John Reed Stark.

“There are only as good as how you use the tool,” Hill Harper.

Where do cryptocurrencies get their value?

“Ultimately, it just rest entirely on the community,” says Vitalik Buterin.

“All money is a collective fiction,” says Meltem Demirors. “So crypto current’s he’s are backed by nothing.”

“There’s actually nothing back in the US dollar,” says Hill Harper.

“It’s just what someone else is willing to pay,” says John Reed Stark.

What is the biggest problem with cryptocurrency?

“Many of them are just criminal enterprises or scams,” says Nourel Roubini.

“There are a lot of inflated expectations,” says Meltem Demirors.

“I don’t think it’s super intuitive to the everyday person,” says Aubrey Strobel.

“A huge environmental cost associated with this very limited system,” says Alex de Vries.

Should the average investor get into cryptocurrencies?

“Doesn’t have any fundamental value,” says Nourel Roubini. “My view is zero.”

“At this point investors can no longer afford to ignore bitcoin,” says Meltem Demirors.

“Bitcoin is the non-sovereign store of value for everybody on earth,” says Michael Saylor.

“I have over 75 percent of my portfolio in bitcoin,” says Aubrey Strobel.

“I don’t want to be part of anybody’s exit strategy,” says Peter Schiff. “I would say zero.”

Is there a lot of difference between cryptocurrencies?

“They’ve all got their own genetic code,” Michael Saylor.

“It’s like saying Apple and Amazon are the same thing,” says Raoul Pal, who has invested 98% of his net worth in crypto.

“They are all very different,” says Tavonia Evans.

“Bitcoin was the first one in is by far the most successful,” says Caitlin Long.

“All of them are a little bit different from one another,” says Professor David Yermack.

Is the carbon footprint of cryptocurrencies a problem?

“Electricity is only half the cost of bitcoin mine,” says Vitalik Buterin

“It will destroy the environment like never before,” Nourel Roubini

“Proof-of-work mining… Is responsible for the big energy consumption,” Alex de Vries.

Could governments ban cryptocurrencies?

“Block chains actually are censorship resistant,” says Vitalik Buterin

“It’s way too late for governments to ban bitcoin, Caitlin Long.

“That’s what makes it feared by some, Hailey Lennon.

“I think something the president could do very easily,” John Reed Stark.

Is having a decentralized network a good thing?

“There is this rally against the elites and the establishment,” Aubrey Strobel.

“Crypto currencies are supposed to be governed by the people,” Tavonia Evans.

“The pseudo-anonymity of it all is a real big? For me,” John Reed Stark.

“Humans don’t have a good record with financial systems,” NYU business Professor David Yermack.