Legendary investor Gary Shilling is shorting bitcoin because he feels it’s a Ponzi scheme.
In a recent interview with CNBC, Shilling described bitcoin as “some kind of a grand Ponzi scheme.” Because of this view, Shilling and his eponymous investment firm, A. Gary Shilling & Co., is shorting bitcoin.
Shilling believes the price of bitcoin has nowhere to go but down. Shilling didn’t explain his timeframe, nor did he outline any price predictions. However, Shilling appears to believe that the price of bitcoin is doomed to collapse in the near future.
One of Shilling’s major concerns with bitcoin, oddly, is the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Shilling expressed concern that the identity of Satoshi has never been revealed.
Shilling also strangely took issue with another aspect of bitcoin: he’s skeptical that there’s a fixed supply of bitcoin.
“There’s supposedly a limit on there, but where is it written in stone that that can’t increase?” Shilling asked.
Shilling’s final criticism of bitcoin was its electricity consumption. Bitcoin’s enormous electricity consumption is dooming it to fail.
“And of course, the electricity that’s churned out by the miners trying to solve these algorithms is just extraordinary.”
Shilling is a Notorious Crypto Skeptic
Shilling is one of the most outspoken crypto skeptics in the financial analysts space today.
He made headlines last year for admitting that he doesn’t understand bitcoin, for example. He described bitcoin as a “black box”, which is a financial analysis term for a complex investment model.
Shilling has also been outspoken about the transparency of bitcoin – which is another odd criticism considering that bitcoin is entirely open source
“I’m just very suspicious of things that are not transparent. If I can’t understand it, I don’t want to invest in it.”
That’s similar to Warren Buffet’s battle-tested strategy: invest in things that you understand.
Bitcoin Has Three Crucial Problems that Will Lead to Plummeting Future Value
Shilling believes that the price of bitcoin is going to fall in the future. That’s why his investment firm is shorting bitcoin. In his interview, Shilling outlined three specific flaws with bitcoin. These flaws prevent bitcoin from becoming a legitimate currency:
- Bitcoin is not a store of value
- Bitcoin is not a medium of exchange
- Bitcoin is not universally accepted
Because of these flaws, bitcoin fails as a currency.
“We looked at this and said, ‘Let’s look at bitcoin compared to the requirements of a currency,'” he reasoned. “A currency has to have a store of value. With the volatility in bitcoin prices, I don’t think it has a store of value.”
Shilling feels bitcoin’s value is wrapped up in illegal activity. Bitcoin isn’t universally accepted, and Shilling feels that bitcoin’s main purpose is for money laundering and other illegal activities.
“The only legitimate use I can think of in bitcoin is off-the-books kinds of transactions, underworld transactions. I just don’t see a legitimate use. It is a game.”
Obviously, Shilling’s comments are sure to generate controversy in the crypto community. Bitcoin is a proven currency – even if it’s far from globally accepted. Bitcoin is also used for far more than just illegal transactions.
Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Other Traditional Financial Experts Are Also Bearish on Bitcoin
As pointed out by CCN.com, Shilling isn’t the only older financial analyst skeptical about bitcoin.
Investment legend Warren Buffett has also been outspoken against bitcoin, for example. Earlier this year, Buffett called bitcoin “rat poison squared”, while Gates has previously called bitcoin investing “crazy, speculative gambling.”
Younger Billionaires Are Bullish on Bitcoin
While older billionaires are skeptical about the longevity of bitcoin, younger billionaires tend to be more bullish about bitcoin.
Today, younger tech billionaires have been outspoken about their support of bitcoin, with some billionaires even making bold price targets.
Tim Draper, for example, has repeatedly claimed that bitcoin will be worth $250,000 by 2022. Draper is a tech venture capitalist who has become one of the industry’s most outspoken crypto evangelists and investors in recent years.
Draper rose to riches after making early investments in Skype, Tesla, and Hotmail – and now he sees potential in bitcoin:
“This is bigger than the internet…bigger than the Iron Age, the Renaissance. It’s bigger than the Industrial Revolution.”
It’s not surprising to see billionaires have different views on one of the world’s most controversial investment assets. We’ll have to wait to see if Shilling’s decision to short bitcoin is a smart decision – or a costly mistake.