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Representational image. [Image: Shutterstock]

Representational image. [Image: Shutterstock]

Andrew Left, one of the world’s best-known short sellers, has criticised digital assets such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), calling them solutions in search of problems and said the idea of decentralisation, which is the bedrock of the crypto ecosystem, was the “stupidest thing ever.”

In an interview with Moneycontrol on July 14, Left said he won’t be surprised to see Bitcoin (BTC), the world’s largest digital currency by market capitalisation, at $10,000 and Ethereum (ETH), the second largest, at $200. He said neither of them had any real world utility.

“BTC is a perceived value that can stay up as long as people want to buy it, but I would not be surprised to see it come down to $10,000 levels. It seems like it has a future as it is already part of our collective consciousness,” Left said. “ETH, on the other hand, is supposed to have utility and it has none. I expect that price to go right back to $200.”

The cryptocurrency craze has pitted those who see it as the future of finance against critics who call it a pyramid scheme. The rise in interest rates globally to combat inflation has also scorched cryptocurrencies, which have also been hit by the collapse of hedge fund Three Arrows Capital and digital tokens such as Terra and Luna.

Bitcoin traded at about $20,000 on July 14, up more than 4 percent. The digital currency has been rangebound at the $20,000 level for over a month now, way off the peak of about $69,000 it had reached in November.

According to Left, only people involved in buying Bitcoin see it as an asset, but it has no utility. Asked to explain what real utility means, Left referred to companies that do things in the real world and generate profit.

“I do not see any value in cryptocurrencies, especially altcoins. They do not have any utility,” said Left, the founder of Citron Research, a stock commentary website.

Big illusion

The venture capitalist investor described Web3 – said to be the next version of the internet where services run on blockchain and are decentralised – as a big illusion.

“Web3 is a big illusion aimed at taking power away from big tech companies… In a world where the internet needs more governance, it is the stupidest thing ever that nobody controls anything (referring to decentralisation) while billions of dollars are being thrown towards it,” Left said.

“Assets like NFTs, on the other hand, are only collectibles, solutions in search of problems,” he said.

He said people expect Ethereum to have real utility once it gets an upgrade.

“But once they realise there is nothing to it, they will be like – ‘Oh Gosh!’”

Left further said the usage of blockchain technology is marginal compared to the “hype” generated around it and there are several problems associated with it.

“I know companies like Oracle and IBM are using blockchain technology. However, there are several problems with it and it is being experimented upon,” he said.

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