American economist and Nobel Laureate Robert Shiller took part in an interesting panel discussion this week about digital trends at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and naturally he mentioned bitcoin.
Shiller said bitcoin is an inspiration thanks to its geeky roots, but he warned that it is not the way forward.
In fact, despite bitcoin's digital heritage, Shiller argued that it is a throwback to the dark ages, reports Business Insider.
Shiller's position is understandable, since he was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on trend-spotting in asset markets. Shiller also examined the volatility of stock prices and their correlation with dividends.
The economists and his fellow laureates Eugene F. Fama and Lars Peter Hansen found that high future returns are usually viewed as compensation for holding risky assets during risky times. The researchers also focused on departures from rational investor behaviour and its impact on asset prices. Many a bitcoin speculator would undoubtedly find Shiller's work interesting.
Shiller is convinced bitcoin is a bubble and he is bemused by the fascination surrounding digital currencies. He said he is amazed by how people are excited by bitcoin – and bear in mind that a man who won the Nobel Prize for his work in the field of behavioural probably isn't easy to surprise, let alone amaze. Shiller said:
"It is a bubble, there is no question about it. ... It's just an amazing example of a bubble."
It would be rather presumptuous to argue with a Nobel laureate, but luckily someone already did that. Back in December Forbes put Shiller's work to the test, comparing his findings with the bitcoin bubble.
Forbes contributor Tim Worstall argued that preventing a bubble from forming in the bitcoin market is not easy, since the market is not developed and lacks many tools needed to detect a bubble.
However, Worstall said it is "more than likely" that we are in a bitcoin bubble.