Bitcoin is polemic, even in these days when almost everybody has heard of it. Its fame as a “Darknet currency” isn’t far gone yet, and the amount of crypto-scams in the wild doesn’t help much either. However, there’s a lot of positive things to say about it: Bitcoin is inclusive, it’s decentralized, it’s easy to use, it’s cheap to use and it can solve numerous problems in and out of the financial sector.
Still, some famous people and important leaders insist on their hate against Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies and they didn’t doubt sharing their bad opinions about it with the whole wide world. We can see some of them and try to decipher why are they so upset about the thing.
This one it’s probably one of the best-known cases, maybe because it has its own billboard on a truck. Yes, like a big ad, not to make sure everybody knows about the presumed dangers of Bitcoin, but to mock the author for his words.
Jamie Dimon is the CEO of the multinational investment bank JPMorgan Chase since 2005, but the discussion about Bitcoin with him wouldn’t start until 2015. By then, the executive said clearly: “No government will ever support a virtual currency that goes around borders and doesn’t have the same controls. It’s not going to happen”. So, Dimon was confident the cryptocurrency would just disappear.
When Bitcoin was still there, better than ever in 2017, he decided to squarely call it a “fraud” in the middle of a conference. He compared the cryptocurrency with the tulip mania from the 17th century, he said it wouldn’t “end well” and he even made a threat to the employees of JPMorgan Chase, saying they should be fired if they trade bitcoin because they were “stupid”.
A nice guy, undoubtedly. But the story has a funny ending: the bitcoin’s price was temporarily affected for his declarations, JPMorgan proceeded to buy it cheaply in the name of their clients, JPMorgan was accused by Switzerland’s FINMA of money laundering and, sometime later, during 2019, the bank launched their own version of cryptocurrency, the JPM Coin. Ironies of life.
Ah, and of course, we have now the billboard on a truck, courtesy of the crypto-company Genesis Mining.
First of all, let me tell you what Berkshire Hathaway is. And this is a corporative giant monster that owns, fully or partly, brands like Duracell, Dairy Queen (yes, the ice cream shop), Fruit of the Loom, Helzberg Diamonds, Kraft Heinz Company, American Express, The Coca-Cola Company, Bank of America, and Apple.
This isn’t even the full list, so, nobody should be surprised by the fact the chairman and CEO of this conglomerate is a filthy millionaire. Indeed, considered one of the most successful investors in the world and being the fourth-wealthiest person alive, you can’t underestimate Warren Buffet.
… Or perhaps you can do it a bit, just when he’s talking about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The attacks against these financial actives started in 2018, during an interview with CNBC. He declared then:
“In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending (…) when it happens or how or anything else, I don’t know”.
The discussion didn’t end there. In 2019, Buffet declared Bitcoin was just a “delusion” and a “gambling device”.
“There’s been a lot of frauds connected with it. There have been disappearances, so there’s a lot lost on it. Bitcoin hasn’t produced anything. It doesn’t do anything. It just sits there. It’s like a seashell or something, and that is not an investment to me”.
This year he couldn’t contain his emotion about cryptocurrencies again, during another interview with CNBC.
“Cryptocurrencies basically have no value. They don’t produce anything. You can’t do anything with it except sell it to somebody else. But then that person’s got the problem (…) I don’t own any cryptocurrency. I never will”.
Some people, like Anthony Pompliano, co-founder of the crypto-hedge fund Morgan Creek Digital, think Buffet is just scared about bitcoin and its disruption in society. Unfortunately, this was the man the famous singer Katy Perry chose to ask about cryptocurrencies. Maybe we lost her in there.
Junk! That’s how the CEO of the global Mastercard, Ajaypal “Ajay” Singh Banga, sees the cryptocurrencies. And there’s no kidding in there. He actually said that word during an interview with India Times in 2017:
“If the government creates digital currency, we will find a way to be in the game. We will provide rails for moving currency from customer to merchant. The government mandated digital currencies are interesting. Non-government mandated currency is junk”.
He proceeded to explain he considered the cryptocurrencies “junk” because of their volatilely. Thereby, by example, you can buy two bottles of water with one Bitcoin today, but another day it’s just one bottle or 9.000, you can’t know. He considered Bitcoin can be used for illegal activities too because he apparently doesn’t know you can do that with every kind of money.
At this point, we can ask an interesting question: Banga would like stablecoins? We’re not sure about it, but he apparently liked enough the cryptocurrency by Facebook (the Libra), since Mastercard was part to the Libra Foundation in the beginning, before their runaway when the regulators started to complain.
Prince Al Waleed
When we say “prince”, we mean it. This Arabian businessman, Al-Waleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, better known as Al Waleed, is indeed a member of the Saudi royal family. He’s also the owner of the investments company Kingdom Holding, which has a long list of inversions in big enterprises, including Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Kingdom Hospital-Consulting Clinics, Rotana Group, and, previously, Amazon, Apple, Twitter, and McDonald’s.
It was this guy who said in an interview with CNBC in 2017 these kind words about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies:
“It just doesn’t make sense. This thing is not regulated, it’s not under control, it’s not under the supervision. I just don’t believe in this bitcoin thing. I think it’s just going to implode one day. I think this is Enron in the making”.
With “Enron” he refers to the massive accounting fraud that took Enron, a U.S. energy-trading and utilities giant, into bankruptcy in late 2001. So, yeah, he thinks Bitcoin is a fraud and gladly agrees with Jamie Dimon.
But this story has an ironic ending as well. The aforementioned interview took place in October, and less than a month later, Al Waleed was arrested in Saudi Arabia, in a purge that the Saudi government characterized as an anti-corruption drive. He was accused of money laundering, bribery, and extorting officials, and almost all of his actives were frozen by authorities.
As reporter Max Keiser said on Russia Today: the prince wouldn’t have had that problem of frozen funds if only he had bought Bitcoin on time. Instead, he had to wait until 2018 to be released.
Ok, we really hope you noticed the question mark in this one because we’re not 100% sure about it. Yes, we’re talking about the famous writer of the Harry Potter saga, Joanne Rowling.
In case you didn’t know, last May, Rowling tweeted a little thing about Bitcoin and, of course, everybody got crazy in there. She just wanted to know what Bitcoin was, and she got a massive and overwhelming response to that. Some of the tweets she received in the middle of the debate weren’t so kind, so, at some point, she just wanted to disappear.
She cleared later that the Ethereum holdings were a joke, and that she learned a hard-won lesson with the situation: “Never be flippant about Bitcoin on Twitter”. But maybe it was too late for her because she marked as her favorite explanation about Bitcoin one tweet that says “Imagine that something exists which doesn’t actually exist. That’s Bitcoin”. And, well, that’s a very unfortunate concept.
Since then, some scammers took their chance and, by using phishing accounts with the image of the novelist, they’ve been trying to steal the people’s cryptocurrencies. A sad ending. So, she probably doesn’t like Bitcoin now, who knows.
Why so much hate?
Apparently, we have a tiny list of legit? reasons:
1. Hypocrisy and/or “I want to buy it cheap”.
2. Fear of new things.
3. It’s not regulated/backed by a government (not totally true, by the way).
4. Misunderstanding about the functionality.
5. Almost zero comprehension of what really Bitcoin is and how it works.