Billionaire Warren Buffett has taken yet another swipe at Bitcoin, describing it as “rat poison squared” and said that “if I could buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies, I'd be glad to do it but I would never short a dime's worth.” His long-term right-hand man, Charlie Munger, likened the largest cryptocurrency by market cap to dementia before saying that “a Bitcoin trading desk is like somebody else is trading turds.”
Warren Buffett is a US business magnate with a net worth of more than $80bn, according to figures from February 2018. He is the third richest person in the world, and has made much of his money through investing. In 1965, he bought a textile manufacturing firm named Berkshire Hathaway but, having described textiles as the worst industry he ever invested in, he drastically changed the direction of the company from textiles to insurance.
In January 2018, Buffett said that investments in Bitcoin would not end well and that he could “say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending.”
However, Buffett's beliefs are at odds with a lot of other big name celebrities. Bill Gates described Bitcoin as a “technological tour de force” while Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, said that “lots of people will build businesses on top of...the ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world.” John McAfee, Al Gore, Peter Thiel, and Richard Branson have also commended Bitcoin for its technical innovation and its ability to change the world.
During this week's, annual Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting, Buffett took another swipe at Bitcoin. He reiterated his belief that it would ultimately fail and that he would not short any cryptocurrency before describing it as speculative gambling. He said that investors “don't really have anything that has produced anything” and that “you're just hoping the next guy pays more.”
One big business name to hit back was Tesla's Elon Musk who criticised Buffett's business moats before challenging the 86 year old with a tongue-in-cheek suggestion that he would launch cryptocandies to rival Buffett's own See's Candies company; eluding to the fact that Musk has a more technological and modern view of the world when compared to Buffett's technophobic beliefs.
Warren Buffett has never been shy about making his feelings known, and regularly uses shareholder meetings to air his feelings so we can expect more from him in the future. It is also a technique that Musk has adopted, so the pair are likely to clash again in the future.