Billionaires on bitcoin: Some are changing their minds

Bitcoin has attracted more attention from institutional investors over the last year, and gradually, well-known billionaires are coming around on the cryptocurrency. Warren Buffett probably won’t change his mind any time soon, but it seems that  Elon Musk and Mark Cuban have this year.

Elon Musk on bitcoin and dogecoin

Elon Musk gave the first hint of his change of heart on bitcoin on Friday when he added the hashtag #bitcoin to his Twitter bio. On Sunday, he clarified his views, saying that he now officially supports the cryptocurrency. He made the revelation in an interview on the Clubhouse chat app.

Musk said many of his friends have been trying for a long time to get him involved in bitcoin. He added that a friend gave him a piece of “bitcoin cake” in 2013, and he should have bought some eight years ago. The Tesla CEO believes bitcoin “is a good thing” and officially stated that he is a supporter of it. He also said he thinks the cryptocurrency is “on the verge of getting broad acceptance by conventional finance people.”

Musk also clarified his position on dogecoin, which the crypto community widely believed he supported. He emphasized that all previous statements about the digital currency were meant as jokes.

Mark Cuban on bitcoin

Mark Cuban was skeptical of bitcoin for quite some time. He said in December 2018 that there was “no chance” it would become a reliable currency. As recently as December 2020, he told a Forbes contributor that the cryptocurrency is “a store of value like gold that is more religion than solution to any problem.” He also said that no matter how much bitcoin fans “want to pretend that it’s a hedge against doomsday scenarios, it is not.”

However, in a blog post on Sunday, he wrote that selling stamps as a kid had made him understand why digital assets are the future of business. He explained that he bought stamps for 50 cents and then turned around and sold them for $25. Cuban explained that it’s all about “finding inefficiencies.” Back in the day, he had to sell goods face to face or by mail or use a broker or the internet to sell physical goods. Today, digital assets and stocks are being sold via apps or online, which he said is the next step in that evolution.

“What happens when literally anything digital can be a store of value?” he asked.

Cuban advises investors to be cautious about cryptocurrencies, although he has invested in them.

Warren Buffett on bitcoin

On the other hand, one billionaire who won’t be investing in bitcoin or cryptocurrencies anytime soon is Warren Buffett. It’s hard to imagine him changing his mind, especially given his bearish views of gold and the fact that many see bitcoin as akin to digital gold.

Buffett has blasted bitcoin as “rat poison squared” and a worthless delusion. In February 2020, he told CNBC that cryptocurrencies “basically have no value” because they don’t reproduce, can’t mail you a check, and can’t do anything. He said people “can’t do anything except sell it to somebody else, but then that person’s got the problem.” Buffett also said bitcoin is a “mirage” and “a very effective way of transmitting money.” He compared it to checks, which are also ways of transmitting money.

The Berkshire Hathaway chief also said he doesn’t own any cryptocurrency and never will. However, Tron founder Justin Sun told CNBC last year that he had given some cryptocurrency to Buffett. Sun also tweeted that blockchain data proves Buffett never sold his cryptocurrency gift.

It’s doubtful that Buffett will join Musk and Cuban in changing his opinion of bitcoin. He told CNBC in March 2014 that he didn’t think the cryptocurrency would be around in 10 or 20 years.

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