BlackRock CEO Larry Fink has called the digital currency bitcoin an 'index of money laundering'
"Bitcoin just shows you how much demand for money laundering there is in the world," Fink, the head of the largest asset management firm in the world, said at an Institute of International Finance meeting, CNBC reported.
"That's all it is."
The digital currency has soared in recent months, spurred by greater acceptance of the blockchain technology that underpins exchange and optimism that faster transaction times will encourage broader use. Prices have climbed more than four-fold this year -- a run that has drawn debate over whether that’s a bubble.
Fink isn't alone in his criticism of the digital currency.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon last week repeated much of his September rant against the cryptocurrency, saying people who buy bitcoin are “stupid” and that governments will crush it one day.
“Who cares about bitcoin?” Dimon asked at the annual meeting of the Institute of International Finance in Washington, before calling it a “great product” for criminals, Bloomberg reported.
Dimon ended his latest diatribe with a new vow -- this is the last time he talks about bitcoin.
Ray Dalio, who heads the $160 billion Bridgewater Associates, says bitcoin is a bubble. “It’s very much speculative. People are thinking, ‘Can I sell it at a higher price,’ so it’s a bubble,” he said in a recent interview with CNBC.
Dalio said there are two things that are required for a currency. The first is that it can be used to make transactions, and the second is that it’s a store hold of wealth, he explained.
“With bitcoin, you can’t make much transactions in it and you can’t spend it very easily,” he said. “It’s not an effective store hold of wealth because it has volatility unlike gold."
For his part, Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman takes a more measured view on the cryptocurrency than crosstown rival Dimon, who called it “a fraud” that’s in a speculative bubble worse than tulip bulbs.
Bitcoin is “certainly something more than just a fad,” Gorman said at a recent event held by the Wall Street Journal. “The concept of anonymous currency is a very interesting concept -- interesting for the privacy protections it gives people, interesting because what it says to the central banking system about controlling that.”
“I haven’t invested in it,” Gorman said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people who have. It’s obviously highly speculative but it’s not something that’s inherently bad. It’s a natural consequence of the whole blockchain technology.”
Meanwhile, U.S. investors including Digital Currency Group have taken part in a pre-sale of basecoin, a crypto-currency to be created by three Princeton University computer science graduates, Intangible Labs CEO and co-founder Nader Al-Naji said.
The other investors in Intangible Labs’ basecoin include Bain Capital Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and AngelList CEO Naval Ravikant, Al-Naji told Reuters.
Digital Currency Group confirmed its investment in basecoin. Bain Capital, Pantera, and Andreessen Horowitz were not immediately available to comment.
The investors had bought a unit of Intangible Labs, which entitled them to basecoin - a token with a rules-based monetary policy built into its blockchain system - in the future, Al-Naji said in an interview with Reuters on Friday.
He did not disclose an investment figure.
Blockchain, a digital ledger of transactions, underpins crypto-currency bitcoin and can be used to track, record, and transfer assets across all industries.
Intangible Labs is one of many blockchain start-ups creating and distributing tokens to investors to raise funds for their projects. Start-ups typically hold a token pre-sale to institutional investors before opening the token offering to the public.
(Newsmax wires services contributed to this report).
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