The Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett, world renowned investor and head of Berkshire Hathaway, was asked about his views on cryptocurrency, especially that of bitcoin. While not as dour and hateful as his Vice Chairman of just two months ago, Mr. Buffett is not convinced bitcoin is anything more than gambling, a game.
Ahead of the 2018 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting, a near religious experience for legacy, mainstream investors, Warren Buffett was once again asked about his views on cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin.
“You aren’t investing when you do that,” Mr. Buffett, 87, told Yahoo! Finance recently, referencing the world’s most popular decentralized currency. “You’re speculating. There’s nothing wrong with it. If you wanna gamble somebody else will come along and pay more money tomorrow, that’s one kind of game. That is not investing.”
Mr. Buffett is actually quite reasonable compared with his longtime partner, Charlie Munger. Berkshire Hathaway’s Vice Chairman told an assembled Los Angeles audience in mid-February, “I never considered for one second having anything to do with [bitcoin], I detested it the minute it had been raised. The more popular it got, the more I hated it. It’s just disgusting that people have been taken in by this.” He’d go on to compare bitcoin to a “noxious poison.”
Traditional finance’s most famous investor is a tad more muted about crypto, but no less skeptical. “There’s two kinds of items that people buy and think they’re investing,” Mr. Buffett continued. “One really is investing and the other isn’t.”
With revenues at nearly a quarter trillion (yes, trillion) USD, Berkshire Hathaway has a lot of influence, especially in popular retail investing. As of this writing a single share of its Class A stock runs a cool $295,995 per, a price the more glassy-eyed of the bitcoin ecosystem say it too will reach one day. Mr. Buffett’s personal fortune hovers around $80 billion (yes, billion). He famously does not invest in what he doesn’t understand. Crypto would seem to fall into that category.
“If you buy something like a farm, an apartment house, or an interest in a business,” he insisted, “You can do that on a private basis. And it’s a perfectly satisfactory investment. You look at the investment itself to deliver the return to you. Now, if you buy something like bitcoin or some cryptocurrency, you don’t really have anything that has produced anything. You’re just hoping the next guy pays more.”