If billionaire investor Warren Buffett is right about bitcoin, then the world’s No. 1 cryptocurrency contradicts what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument — in other words, it’s a symptom of a mental disorder.
During an hour-long special on CNBC June 29, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway — one of the largest U.S. companies — described bitcoin as “a delusion, basically”.
“Bitcoin its ingenious and blockchain is important but bitcoin has no unique value at all — it doesn’t produce anything,” Buffett said during a show with partner Charlie Munger. “You can stare at it all day and no little bitcoins come out or anything like that. It’s a delusion basically.”
Known as the Oracle of Omaha, the 90-year-old Buffett has accumulated a $100 billion-plus fortune running the conglomerate and buying stocks and companies from his office in Omaha, Nebraska.
Oxford Languages defines a delusion as “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder,” for example, “the delusion of being watched.”
Buffett and Munger are renowned for refusing to chase hot market fads that stray from fundamental market analysis, said Becky Quick, the co-anchor of CNBC’s financial news shows “Squawk Box” and “On the Money.” Their willingness to say what they think doesn’t always win them friends, “like their take on Bitcoin,” Quick said.
From a single textile mill, Buffett built Berkshire Hathaway into a $650 billion conglomerate of companies such as railroad operator Burlington Northern Santa Fe, insurance company Geico to Fruit of the Loom, Dairy Queen and Clayton Homes. He manages a $300-billion portfolio of shares of companies including Apple, Bank of America and Coca-Cola.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?
After about 45 years of “market-beating performances”, Berkshire has lagged in the S&P 500 for the last five-to-10 years, making some wonder if Buffett has lost his touch, Quick said.
Financial advisors are still cautious of crypto despite the hype from retail and institutional investors. Just 10 percent of financial advisers recommend crypto holdings to at least some clients, according to a recent white paper by InvestmentNews Research and Grayscale Investments. Another 12 percent of advisers personally dabble in crypto but don’t put them in client portfolios. Meanwhile, major players are going all in on digital assets. Morgan Stanley was the first Wall Street bank to give clients access to bitcoin. Goldman Sachs did the same, and new products and services keep coming on the market to help advisers work with cryptocurrency — from passive funds to separately managed account options, according to Investment News.
“Bitcoin is worthless, artificial gold,” Buffett insists.
Bitcoin was trading at $33,146.43 as of this writing, down from a record high near $65,000 in April. Bitcoin started 2021 at $29,333. Its price fell briefly to $28,911 on June 22.