Berkshire Hathaway: Bitcoin a “Noxious Poison,” “Totally Asinine.”
The notion of cryptocurrencies in general has prompted a lot of opinions in either direction. Some are convinced this will be the way of the future. Others believe that they’re dragging down large portions of the economy. Then there are folks like billionaire Charles Munger, vice-chair of Berkshire Hathaway, who are apparently so convinced that cryptocurrencies are a disaster in the making that he’s willing to refer to them in the same tone that people would use to describe baits used to kill mice.
While bitcoin is heading back up, approaching the $10,000 mark once more amid what seems to be a generalized recovery, there are those who believe that the entire cryptocurrency concept is nonsense. Which is likely why Munger busted out the thesaurus to inform the annual meeting of the Daily Journal publishing firm that not only was bitcoin a “noxious poison,” but that he “…never considered for one second having anything to do with it.”
What’s more, Munger was apparently so incensed by the existence of a digital currency that he believes a full-scale government crackdown is the only way to respond to it. Munger noted “Our government’s more lax approach to it is wrong. The right answer to something like that is to step on it hard.”
Munger isn’t the first to treat cryptocurrencies like a tray of cookies baked by Satan; Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase briefly considered bitcoin to be a fraud outright before he changed his mind back in early January.
Granted, cryptocurrencies aren’t really a conventional investment. They’re not stocks, they’re not gold. But they do have a great deal of potential that’s beyond the conventional. Those of us who follow mobile payments understand the notion of an electronic currency that can be used like paper cash, just as anonymously and safely. After all, we think nothing of laying two $1 bills on a gas station counter for a Snickers bar; why would we think less of doing likewise for two Ripple at an online shop?
While Munger’s pearl-clutching hysteria is perhaps better suited to Carrie Nation and her hatchet than a major presence in investing, it does behoove us all to remember that cryptocurrency as we know it today may not be the actual future of cryptocurrency.