With a combined age of 181, Warren Buffett, and his vice-chair of Berkshire Hathaway, Charlie Munger, impressively answered five hours of questions from shareholders, journalists and guests at their annual general meeting in Omaha, Nebraska at the weekend.
Amid some typically candid responses, the audience were left in no doubt about the pair’s feelings on cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin.
Mr. Buffett opined: “Cryptocurrencies will come to a bad ending.”
However, as he spoke, Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, had added $2,563.48 to its value in the last month, marking a price hike of 37.9 per cent.
It comes as little surprise that Mr. Buffett, and his 94-year-old business partner, criticized cryptocurrencies at their annual meeting. They have done so consistently.
But what I do find monumentally baffling is that two of the world’s most successful investors cannot see the intrinsic value of some form of cryptocurrency.
Do they honestly believe that there is no place for, and no value of, digital, global currencies in an increasingly digitalized and globalized world?
Do they not see many of the world’s major tech companies, established banking groups and household name investors investing in, using and/or beginning to adopt cryptocurrencies?
Do they not see governments, central banks and financial regulators recognizing the need for regulatory frameworks because cryptocurrencies are becoming so mainstream?”
One of the world’s greatest investors, Warren Buffett is a hero of mine.
However, he admits he does not understand cryptocurrencies. He once told CNBC: "I get into enough trouble with the things I think I know something about. Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don’t know about?"
I believe his recent comments on cryptocurrencies illustrate his lack of understanding in this area and how he perhaps needs to be educated on what is likely to be the future of money.
Financial traditionalists, like Mr. Buffett and others, appear to exclusively believe in and be motivated by the old, centralized system of money.
I would suggest that they need to also be open to a new, decentralized, digital, global currency.
Whether they like it or not, the world has profoundly changed and moved on in recent years. It can’t, and won’t, go backward.
Nigel Green is founder and CEO of deVere Group. One of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organizations, de Vere does business in 100 countries and has more than $12 billion under advisement.
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