Old Men Don’t Like Bitcoin

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates & co. don’t understand the cryptocraze, and are pretty sure no one else does, either.
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By Jon Carrasco [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

What does Kathy Ireland think? By Jon Carrasco [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Warren Buffett’s got some free time these days, on account of his “semiretirement” from Berkshire Hathaway. And the 87-year-old is using that time to pour hot folksy scorn on the future, specifically, the future as represented by Elon Musk and the Winklevii. Or, at least, the thing the Winklevii have staked their claim to the future on.

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett on Monday said buyers of bitcoin, which he has characterized as “rat poison squared,” thrive on the hope they’ll find other people who will pay more for it….

“If you don’t understand it, you get much more excited,” Buffett said on CNBC television. “People like to speculate, they like to gamble.”

Sitting to Buffett’s left, 94-year-old Charlie Munger also had some thoughts on currencies crypto.

Charlie Munger, Buffett’s longtime business partner and a Berkshire vice chairman, is also no bitcoin fan, describing it as “worthless artificial gold.” He likened it to Oscar Wilde’s definition of fox hunting, calling it “the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable.”

Now, this is not all that surprising from a couple of guys who’ve built up a gigantic conglomerate of actual businesses selling tangible things—such as candy—even if one of that conglomerate’s larger investments is going to start making some money on the exchange of bitcoins between misguided aficionados. Plus, they’ll probably (possibly?) be long dead by the time the Winklevii take their victory lap. Oh yea, and they’ve made their opinions on the matter pretty clear. But sitting to Munger’s left was a slightly younger man, one who has a slightly better chance of living to see the cryptovictory, and one who is arguably more tech savvy than his elderly friends. Now, unlike Buffett and Munger, this man would very much like to be trading bitcoins. But that does not mean that Bill Gates thinks much of them.

"As an asset class, you're not producing anything and so you shouldn't expect it to go up. It's kind of a pure 'greater fool theory' type of investment," Gates said on CNBC's "Squawk Box."

"I agree I would short it if there was an easy way to do it," he said….

"Bitcoin and ICOs, I believe completely [they 're some] of the crazier, speculative things," Gates said. He added someone once gave him some bitcoin for his birthday, but he sold it a few years afterward.

Buffett bashes bitcoin as thriving on mystique, favors stocks [Reuters]
Bill Gates: I would short bitcoin if I could [CNBC]
Warren Buffett’s Lieutenants Are Increasingly Running Berkshire [WSJ]
The Warren Buffett-Elon Musk Feud Isn’t Over Yet [WSJ]

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