Vivaldi has become the latest browser maker to take a stand against cryptocurrencies, arguing that they are “nothing more than a pyramid scheme posing as currency”.
The broadside comes in a blog post from Vivaldi CEO, Jon von Tetzchner, in which he clarifies the company’s position on cryptocurrencies in no uncertain terms.
“Cryptocurrency has been touted by many as a revolution in currency, the future of investment, and a breakthrough technology,” von Tetzchner writes on the Vivaldi blog. “But if you look beyond the hype, you’ll find nothing more than a pyramid scheme posing as currency.”
He criticizes the way cryptocurrencies are sold to budding investors. “Since cryptocurrencies are too volatile to be used as an actual currency, people treat it as a sort of investment scheme,” he writes.
“The problem is that to extract actual money from the system you have to find someone willing to buy the tokens you are holding. And this is only likely to happen as long as they believe they will be able to sell them on to someone who’ll pay even more for them. And so on, and so on.”
“If at any point one stops being able to find people willing to buy those tokens on just the promise of them being worth more in the future, the whole scheme might well come crashing down, with the value of all tokens going to zero.”
Von Tetzchner also attacks the environmental damage caused by cryptomining. “The energy usage of bitcoin alone is staggering, consuming as much electricity as some countries,” he writes. “And this is likely to keep increasing as the technology behind it does not and cannot scale in any reasonable way.”
“While so many of us are trying our best to reduce our carbon footprints, it feels counterproductive to indulge in technology that undoes that hard work,” he adds.
Although other browser makers such as Opera – which von Tetzchner co-founded before acrimoniously splitting from the company – offer support for cryptowallets, the Vivaldi boss says there’s no chance Vivaldi will go down the same path.
“By creating our own cryptocurrency or supporting cryptocurrency-related features in the browser, we would be helping our users to participate in what is at best a gamble and at worst a scam,” he writes. “It would be unethical, plain and simple.”
Vivaldi’s stance follows a similar decision by Firefox-maker Mozilla earlier this month.
Mozilla drew criticism when it put out a tweet reminding followers that they could make donations in cryptocurrencies, prompting the company to quickly suspend such donations.
“Starting today we are reviewing if and how our current policy on crypto donations fits with our climate goals,” the company tweeted on January 6. “And as we conduct our review, we will pause the ability to donate cryptocurrency.”