Bill Gates on Bitcoin: “I’d Short It If I Could”
Echoing Berkshire Hathaway billionaires Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger’s skepticism about the prospects of bitcoin, world’s second richest man Bill Gates has shared some negative words of his own for cryptocurrency investors.
In an interview with CNBC on Monday, the Microsoft co-founder and Berkshire board member Bill Gates said Bitcoin is “one of the crazier, speculative things” he’s seen.
The technology titan, philanthropist and world’s second-richest person declined to reveal insight into a “fantasy” investment portfolio that he runs for fun to gauge his ability to beat the market. (His actual net worth is managed by a team of real-life investors.)
But he made an exception for bitcoin, which is billed as a way to safely store and exchange encrypted value online.
“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.
“I’d short it if there was an easy way to do it,” he added.
Following Gate’s comments, the cryptocurrency market has seen a huge decline. Bitcoin is down by more than 3% over the past 24 hours, and has lost about $100 since the interview aired.
The billionaire however sounded his optimism on the underlying blockchain technology, which enables a safe and dispersed way to track and execute transactions. Over the past year, Microsoft participated in several business initiatives related to blockchain technology.
The viability of bitcoin has divided the world’s financial elites. In the past, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon stirred controversy when he called bitcoin a “fraud,” though he later backed off those comments.
Also Billionaire investor George Soros originally bashed cryptocurrency but his family fund recently got approval to consider investments in it.
Back in 2015, Bill Gates had a more optimistic approach towards cryptocurrencies. In an interview with Erik Schatzker on Bloomberg TV’s Smart Street show, Gates said “bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to physically be in the same place, and of course for large transactions fiat currency can get pretty inconvenient.”
He however, added that he does not foresee cryptocurrencies becoming a payment system of the future.
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