Scam, pyramid scheme, environmental disaster: Vivaldi boss shares his thoughts on crypto-coins

Vivaldi will not provide crypto-wallets in its browser because it doesn't want users to participate in digital coin trading - something CEO Jon von Tetzchner desribes as "at best a gamble and at worst a scam".

The move comes a week after rival Mozilla dipped a toe in the crypto-waters, only to have it angrily bitten off. Mozilla initially talked of accepting donations via cryptocurrencies but swiftly backtracked, saying the policy would be paused and reviewed.

Anti-malware veteran Norton also came a little unstuck at the same time thanks to inbuilt crypto-mining tech.

As for Vivaldi, boss von Tetzchner was blunt. "If you look beyond the hype," he said, "you'll find nothing more than a pyramid scheme posing as currency."

"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."

"The entire crypto fantasy is designed to lure you into a system that is extremely inefficient, consumes vast amounts of energy, uses large amounts of hardware that could better be spent doing something else and will quite often result in the average person losing any money they might put into it."

Yikes. And also perhaps odd, because one of the things on which Vivaldi prides itself is the freedom it gives users to do pretty much whatever they want with their browser. Popping in the ability to burn up some CPU cycles mining or implementing cryptocurrency integration options is more than technically feasible (and a glance at the Chrome web store shows all manner of extensions available).

Vivaldi's position is, however, unambiguous. "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. It would be unethical, plain and simple.

"It's just not worth it." ®

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