“A lot of fraud”- Warren Buffett gives his views on cryptocurrencies

Chris Lee
different digital cryptocurrencies on a flatlay

Multi-billionaire and globally famous investor Warren Buffett has weighed in again on the cryptocurrencies debate during an interview with an American news channel.

Buffett, whose estimated net worth lies at around $87 billion US dollars, was asked by CNBC presenter Becky Quick what he thought about Bitcoin.

His answers covered a lot of ground, but at one stage he zoomed in on the risk of fraud – appearing to suggest that crypto can appeal to “charlatans”, a term used to describe someone who states they have a particular ability or talent when in fact they don’t.

“Look at all the things that have been created around bitcoin. I mean there’s been a lot of fraud and disappearance and all these kinds of things. It attracts charlatans basically, because the money’s so big”, he said.

He suggested that crypto’s growing legitimacy meant that the potential for fraud was getting higher and that this posed a threat to users.

“I mean, If you go out and do something phony in selling yo-yos or something there’s no real money in it, but when you get into Wall Street, there’s huge money”, he added.

In strongly worded comments about the valuation of cryptocurrencies, he also said he believed that Bitcoin generally was a “delusion”.

“No. I mean [it’s] too bad, but bitcoin, it’s ingenious, and blockchain is important, but bitcoin has no unique value at all. It doesn’t produce anything”, he said.

“You can stare at it all day and no little bitcoins come out or anything like that. It’s a delusion basically.”

However, Buffett – who is CEO of investment company Berkshire Hathaway – did go on to praise some aspects of crypto, such as the mining process.

However, in a final set of remarks, he did offer some positive thoughts. “I’m sympathetic to people that own it”, he said.

This is not the first time that Buffett has weighed in on the question of crypto.

In recent years, he has been known to describe crypto as “rat poison” – although Berkshire Hathaway did last year make an investment of up to $600 million in two financial technology firms.

He is far from the first public figure from the world of established finance to reveal complex and shifting views on the topic of crypto.

Just this week, for example, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, said that it was possible that the so-called JPM Coin cryptocurrency operated by the firm may become available for public use at some unspecified stage in the future.

“JP Morgan Coin could be internal, could be commercial, it could one day be consumer”, he is believed to have said.

This stands in contrast to comments he made back in 2017 in which he described cryptocurrency as “fraud”, and then comments last year in which he supposedly called it a “scam”.

“I wouldn’t put this high on the category of important things in the world. But I’m not going to talk about bitcoin anymore”, he later clarified at the time.

 


Chris Lee

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