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What We Know About the “Secret” Debate Between Hayes and Roubini

Fredrik Vold
Last updated: | 3 min read

A recording of a highly anticipated debate between the well-known crypto critic Nouriel Roubini and the outspoken CEO of the crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX Arthur Hayes, is not available for the public to watch yet, but witnesses have started to share their impressions.

Source: Twitter, @CryptoHayes

The debate, dubbed “Tangle in Taipei,” took place at the Asia Blockchain Summit in Taiwan on Wednesday. Ahead of the debate, a whopping 73% of attendees said they believed Hayes would come out as the winner.

However, the jury may still be out about who won the debate. After the session was concluded, Roubini, who is an economics professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, tweeted that he “destroyed” Hayes in the debate. He further demanded that the tape from the event to be released.

To which Hayes responded: “Don’t worry our tapes will exposure your thin grasp of economics and technology. After seeing these tapes, I would be surprised if you were allowed into any higher learning institution.”

Roubini made his demand after word came out that the organizers of the event had stopped a planned live streaming of the debate, while also prohibiting all attendees from recording it themselves.

According to Bloomberg, Hayes owns the rights to the only footage that exists of the debate, and plans to “release highlights” of it at “a later time.” What we know about the debate is therefore based on accounts from witnesses present during the debate. According to Mike Dudas, CEO of The Block, who posted his notes online, the debate centered around topics such as whether Bitcoin is truly decentralized, whether it has any intrinsic value, scalability, security, and use-cases.


On the issue of scalability, Hayes reportedly argued that scaling will happen, and that the progress for Bitcoin over the past ten years is “impressive.” It took “decades to scale” credit cards and traditional banking, the CEO said.

Roubini, on his side, argued that cryptocurrencies are not needed in the world. The fintech space is where the revolution is happening, with artificial intelligence and the internet of things, Roubini claimed. He further referred to platforms such as AliPay in China, arguing that fintech in many developing markets is far ahead of that in the U.S., according to Dudas.

Hayes, however, countered that such platforms are “very convenient,” but comes with the downside that all transactions are being viewed by the companies behind them as well as by the Chinese government.

“In 50 years, if Alibaba, Facebook and Google control everything, people will like that thing that isn’t controlled by the large companies. Bitcoin won’t be a niche market,” Dudas quoted Hayes as saying.

Hayes: Bitcoin is the only free market

As many others have also argued in the past, Hayes referred to Bitcoin and crypto in general as “the only real free market left in the world,” adding that he believes crypto will become “a trillion dollar plus asset class” in five years’ time.

Nouriel, on his end, reportedly said that “99 percent of shitcoins” have lost most of their value” and that “even bitcoin is far down from the peak.”

“This will all go to zero” and “museums of failed coins will exist,” the outspoken ‘no-coiner’ added.

Sam Bankman-Fried, CEO of Alameda Research, was also live-tweeting the event. According to him, the debate was “REALLY messy” as Roubini was going for “3 minutes monologues” while Hayes was interrupting him and moderator asked the economist to stop repeating himself.

Meanwhile, while some are saying that Roubini lost the debate, Dudas does not agree.

In April, Roubini was debating with Vitalik Buterin, the co-founder of the Ethereum platform. According to some attendees, the debate ‘ended in a draw’.