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Oct 12, 2017 10:14 PM IST | Source: CNBC

Bitcoin price bubble ‘will collapse’ while the tech that underpins it lives on, Kenneth Rogoff predicts

Rogoff argued that increased efforts from governments to rein in virtual currencies could eventually contribute to a decline in speculative interest in the digital asset.

The price of bitcoin will "collapse" as cryptocurrencies face continued regulatory pressure from governments, Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff said Monday.

"My best guess is that in the long run, the technology will thrive, but that the price of bitcoin will collapse," Rogoff said in an article for The Guardian and Project Syndicate.

Bitcoin has rallied 365 percent since the start of the year, and today hit a one-month high of USD 4,638.07.

The digital currency and its counterparts operate on encrypted distributed ledgers called blockchains. Transactions are anonymous, and are not managed by a central authority, in the way that fiat currencies are by central banks.

Rogoff argued that increased efforts from governments to rein in virtual currencies could eventually contribute to a decline in speculative interest in the digital asset.

"The long history of currency tells us that what the private sector innovates, the state eventually regulates and appropriates," he said.

"I have no idea where bitcoin's price will go over the next couple years, but there is no reason to expect virtual currency to avoid a similar fate."

Last month, China stepped up pressure on cryptocurrencies, with a ban on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and the closure of domestic bitcoin exchanges.

By contrast, Japan has offered a more welcoming environment. In September, it recognized 11 firms as registered cryptocurrency exchange operators, a decision reflective of a move earlier this year to grant bitcoin legal tender status.

The digital currency has been faced with a number of critics, including JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who called it a "fraud", and Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio, who called it a "bubble"
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