Jamie Dimon is utterly wrong about Bitcoin.
The JP Morgan Chase CEO has consistently dismissed the world's largest cryptocurrency by market value, describing it as a “fraud.” At the Delivering Alpha conference he said: “It's just not a real thing, eventually it will be closed,” before adding, “It’s worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well.”
Dimon is perhaps the highest-profile critic of Bitcoin – but he is not alone. There are many more, including billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who has said that you’ve just “got to pretend you've already lost your money,” quipping that it's like throwing “the Hail Mary.”
However, I believe that they have read this one badly. There is a clear demand and a need for Bitcoin - as this week’s incredible, unprecedented rally has proven. It crossed the $16,000 point Thursday, only two days after topping $12,000 for the first time. It is breaching psychological hurdle after psychological hurdle and it is dumbfounding and catching off guard many traditionalists and experts.
Unquestionably, Bitcoin is currently meeting this evident demand and need for alternative currencies in a digital age.
But I would also urge investors to be cautious for three important reasons. First, Bitcoin remains a major gamble as it is very much an unknown and untested asset. Two, an asset that goes almost vertically up should be eyed with wariness. And three, there is a lack of fundamental economic value.
No-one can accurately predict when this current rally will end. No-one knows if this is, as some experts are warning, a bubble comparable to the dotcom bubble. Yet I do think we should agree that the blockchain technology that underpins Bitcoin is revolutionary and it’s already changing the way the world uses money. And it is likely as the digital revolution, dubbed the Fourth Industrial Revolution, that the demand and need for cryptocurrencies will soar exponentially.
Cryptocurrenices, are designed for today’s world. It can be expected that one or two of the existing ones will dominate; whether it’s Bitcoin or not remains to be seen. But the dawn of the financial technology era is here. We should and will have to embrace it.
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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