Financial History Lecture "Is Crypto a Bubble: a Historical Perspective"

Jointly organized by SAFE, IBF, CFS and HoF.

28 Jun 2023 16:30 PM
28 Jun 2023 18:00 PM

The Leibniz Institute SAFE,  the Institute for Banking and Financial History (IBF), the Center for Financial Studies (CFS) and the House of Finance organize and cordially invite you to attend a public lecture on

Is Crypto a Bubble: a Historical Perspective

Prof. Eugene N. White, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Rutgers University

7th Goethe University Visiting Professor of Financial History

The event will be held on 28 June, 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., room E.20, House of Finance

Moderator: Rainer Klump, CFS and Goethe University

Cryptocurrencies share a new technology that algorithmically protects an asset from temptations of governments to engage in inflationary finance and from the public to profit by counterfeiting. Investing in this class of assets, the public must decide whether or not they will transform the economy and society. Will the public’s decisions be made on the basis of some observable and understood fundamentals, or will it be driven by what John Maynard Keynes described as “waves of optimism and pessimism which are unreasoning?” Thus far, in spite of the government crackdowns on some of the industry’s more reckless elements, the public has remained largely optimistic about the future of cryptocurrencies. Yet, there is a substantial risk that the rise of crypto may be distorting consumption and investment, storing up costly problems for the future.

The problem in forming a judgment about the long-term viability of cryptocurrencies is that we are looking at the relatively early stages of their development. Rather than trying to assess the future crypto with limited current information, in this lecture I will look for the common features of previous innovative asset booms, including the South Sea and Mississippi bubbles of the 1720s, the British Railway and Sovereign Debt booms of the nineteenth century, and the American commodity and stock market bubbles of the twentieth century. My assessment will examine the underlying fundamentals of technology that drove these booms and their political economy. Their study reveals the dangers that a persistent bubble presents by pushing an economy off its growth path with often regressive redistributions of wealth.

Please note that registration is required. The attendance is free of charge.