Crypto Critic Nouriel Roubini Signals Plans for a Tokenized Dollar


Economist Nouriel Roubini, who’s become famous for hating crypto, has begun work on a token that will be “a more resilient dollar.”

Roubini and his team at Atlas Capital Team LP said that they recognize that the U.S. dollar’s reserve currency status could be at risk because the country “prints too much money and adversaries start de-dollarizing,” echoing widespread concerns about inflation.

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Atlas Capital, which Roubini co-founded and joined as chief economist two years ago, will team up with Andreessen Horowitz-backed Web3 developer Mysten Labs, to develop technology for the “United Sovereign Governance Gold Optimized Dollar.”

“Our goal is to create a global store of value,” Atlas co-founder and CEO Reza Bundy told Bloomberg. “This is something akin to a substitute for Treasuries, or a digital asset that has payment features in it.”

Beyond just creating an inflation-proof greenback, Roubini is also interested in getting a stable asset into more hands around the world. 

“There’s a financial inclusion opportunity,” Roubini told Bloomberg in an interview “where [people] lack exposure to the dollar and have a need for stable portable value that replaces the dwindling value of their own local currency.”

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And though technical details are scant, with Atlas Capital writing in a note that it is unsure what central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) would ever look like, the firm is certain that “the future of money is digital and away from cash (banknotes and coins.)” 

Atlas Capital has not yet responded to Decrypt’s request for comment or a copy of the note.

Roubini flips the (crypto) script

It’s a surprising and sudden change of opinion from Roubini, who has spent years publicly decrying Bitcoin, Ethereum, and blockchain technology, saying it’s “no better than a spreadsheet.”

The economist went so far as to deliver a 37-page speech elaborating on his anti-crypto views during a U.S. Senate banking committee hearing in 2018.

That same year, he published an essay arguing that CBDCs would destroy cryptocurrencies, which he said are “not scalable, cheap, secure, or actually decentralized.”

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