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Respected Economist Jeffrey Sachs Says Bitcoin Offers 'Nothing of Social Value' At a recent conference, the Columbia University professor slammed the cryptocurrency, suggesting it was a counterfeit product.

By Justin Chan

Economist and public policy analyst Jeffrey Sachs didn't mince his words last Sunday when asked for his thoughts on Bitcoin at a conference sponsored by Alma Mater Europaea university in Slovenia and the European Academy of Arts and Sciences, Fortune reports.

Speaking at the "All About People: Digital Transformation in Science, Education, and Art" conference, Sachs, an author and Columbia University professor, told an attendee that he was "not a fan at all of Bitcoin." He added that the cryptocurrency "is not a store of value, is not a medium of exchange" and offers "nothing of social value."

While Sachs admitted that there are some benefits of using digital currencies (including facilitating currency transactions more efficiently), he could not say the same for crypto versions such as Bitcoin.

In criticizing the cryptocurrency, Sachs, a noted champion of sustainability, cited its environmental impact and unnecessary contribution to an increased market cap.

Related: Bitcoin Price Hits New Record, Leads to Calls for More Regulation

"The smaller part is bad enough," he said. "Bitcoin mining is an unbelievable waste of resources and a highly polluting waste of power, a lot of carbon dioxide emissions resulting from nothing of social value."

In fact, much of the mining occurs in China, where, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, electricity "literally metabolizes" into money. By some estimates, the cryptocurrency has a carbon footprint equal to that of New Zealand, producing 36.95 megatons of carbon dioxide every year.

That's not all, according to Sachs.

"Bitcoin has bootstrapped to $1 trillion in market cap, almost like returns to counterfeiting," the economist explained, suggesting that Bitcoin itself was a form of counterfeit currency. "Where did the value come from? It came from all of us who hold Euros and dollars and other financial assets. Somehow, because somebody, declared that something that has no value has value."

Sachs joins a number of public figures who have denounced Bitcoin lately. Last week, Peter Schiff, the CEO of investment company Euro Pacific Capital, took to Twitter to slam his own son for turning his entire portfolio into Bitcoin.

Justin Chan

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Justin Chan is a news writer at Previously, he was a trending news editor at Verizon Media, where he covered entrepreneurship, lifestyle, pop culture, and tech. He was also an assistant web editor at Architectural Record, where he wrote on architecture, travel, and design. Chan has additionally written for Forbes, Reader's Digest, Time Out New YorkHuffPost, Complex, and Mic. He is a 2013 graduate of Columbia Journalism School, where he studied magazine journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @jchan1109.

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