Warren Buffett’s Deputy Calls Bitcoin ‘Disgusting’ And Bad For Civilization

 Warren Buffett’s Deputy Calls Bitcoin ‘Disgusting’ And Bad For Civilization

Topline

Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger railed against bitcoin in Berkshire’s annual meeting Saturday, calling the cryptocurrency — which Munger and longtime partner Warren Buffett have excoriated for years — “disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization.” 

Key Facts

During a live question-and-answer session Saturday, an investor challenged Buffett and Munger on their well-documented skepticism of cryptocurrency, especially bitcoin, whose price has surged more than sixfold over the last year.

Buffett dodged the question, joking that he’ll anger bitcoin owners if he criticizes it.

Munger was less diplomatic: He said he hates bitcoin’s recent gains, arguing the currency was “created out of thin air” and is a go-to payment method for criminals.

Crucial Quote

“I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists,” Munger said. “I think the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization.”

Contra

“I’m gonna dodge that question,” Buffett said. “We’ve probably got hundreds of thousands of people watching this that own bitcoin, and we’ve probably got two people who are short. So we have a choice of making 400,000 people mad at us and unhappy, or making two people happy, and that’s just a dumb equation.”

Key Background

Bitcoin skepticism isn’t a new position for the two leaders of Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett has called bitcoin a “delusion” and “rat poison,” and he vowed last year to never own any cryptocurrencies, arguing they attract charlatans and “basically have no value.” Munger, for his part, has called bitcoin “artificial gold” and insisted its volatility makes it useless as a means of exchange, and he’s compared crypto investing to “trading turds.” 

Tangent

Buffett and Munger are unusually vivid in their disgust for bitcoin, but they’re not the only people to question it. Bitcoin enthusiasts believe the cryptocurrency is gaining traction with mainstream users as a means of payment, but critics warn its astronomical prices are the result of speculation and it remains too volatile to serve as a widely adopted currency.

Further Reading

Berkshire’s Charlie Munger: ‘Bitcoin is worthless, artificial gold’ (CNBC)