Warren Buffett has always been a bitcoin sceptic. But the billionaire investor had his most harsh words yet for the cryptocurrency over the weekend. Buffett made it clear that his opposition to crypto has nothing to do with whether people can make money trading bitcoin. Buffett’s opposition is purely on principle because bitcoin has no intrinsic value.
“Whether it goes up or down in the next year, or five or 10 years, I don’t know. But the one thing I’m pretty sure of is that it doesn’t multiply, it doesn’t produce anything,” Buffett said at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday.
“It’s got a magic to it and people have attached magics to lots of things,” Buffett continued.
Buffett, who’s worth $US124 ($172) billion, explained that if the people who attended his meeting somehow owned all the farmland in the U.S. and he was offered a 1% stake on that farmland for $US25 ($35) billion, he’d write out a check immediately because it’s a great deal on something that’s productive. Buffett said he’d make a similar deal for 1% of all the apartment rentals in the U.S., if that was somehow on offer.
“If you told me you own all of the bitcoin in the world and you offered it to me for $US25 ($35), I wouldn’t take it because what would I do with it? I’d have to sell it back to you one way or another. Maybe it’d be the same people, but it isn’t going to do anything,” Buffett said.
“The apartments are going to produce rental and the farms are going to produce food. And if I’ve got all the bitcoin…” Buffett said trailing off before referring to Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, who “may or may not have existed.”
“[Satoshi] could create a mystery about it. But everyone knows what I’m like,” Buffett said, suggesting that bitcoin only became the world’s most popular cryptocurrency because there’s a big mystery surrounding its origins.
“Certain things have value that don’t produce something tangible. I mean, you can say a great painting probably will have some value 500 years from now,” Buffett said.
“But assets, to have value, they have to deliver something to somebody and there’s only one currency. You can come up with all kinds of things. We can put up Berkshire coins, or Berkshire money,” Buffett said, referring to a hypothetical crypto coin.
“But in the end this is money,” Buffett said, holding up a $US20 ($28) bill. “But this is the only thing that’s money. Anybody who thinks the United States is going to change the way they let Berkshire money replace theirs is out of their mind.”