Warren Buffett during an interview with CNBC’s Becky Quick on February 24, 2020.
Gerry Miller | CNBC
My first experience with one of the men who called Peter Thiel “the sociopathic grandpa from Omaha” was in the early 1990s.
Joe Cernan and I were closing out the “Stocks to Watch” segment and discussing Berkshire Hathaway’s earnings. As part of that discussion, we talked about our favorite companies in Warren Buffett’s portfolio.
Mine was See’s Candy, having spent 17 years of my life in Southern California, where Se’s was sold. Which was NetJets.
Suffice to say, less than 24 hours later, I had two large boxes on my desk containing 10 pounds of C’s candy and a note saying, “Thanks for the mention. Warren.”
I had never met Buffett before so I called him, thanked him for the candy, assured him that I had no intention of sharing it with my colleagues.
He laughed and told me not to expect Joe to jet.
Since then, we have had cordial professional and personal relations. As I have with Jamie Dimon and Larry Fink, both joined Buffett on Thursday in what liberal investor Thiel identified as part of a “financial gerontocracy.” Thiel said the group is halting further development of bitcoin to protect its own financial interests.
This is the pot calling the kettle black, as Thiel is using that criticism to defend and tout his own holdings of bitcoin.
Furthermore, I have never in my dealings with any of these gentlemen found them to be sociopathic, backward-looking, or unwilling to accept new ideas, or technologies, if they could benefit from their use in mainstream finance. Huh.
Warren Buffett is arguably the greatest single investor of our lifetime, with Dimon, our most knowledgeable bank CEO, and Fink, whose $10 trillion-plus investment company pioneered more accessible ways for the public to invest, the largest Asset Manager is the creator of the world.
That doesn’t mean these aging titans of business are infallible, nor that they are completely flawless and there are no missed opportunities.
However, they are students of the history of money and markets, astute investors and the wealthy, especially Buffett, far beyond our wildest dreams.
In fact, you would need the net worth of all the crypto billionaires in the world to surpass Buffett’s wealth.
Some people will accuse me of cheating on these men. I am far past the point of wandering, in my life and or in my career. In fact, I never strayed. Never needed.
However, what I have found among bitcoin and crypto enthusiasts, or supporters, is that they try very hard to convince the world that they want to democratize finance and provide assistance to those with less access to banking, payment systems or A new global currency is necessary to do so. investible property.
You can easily achieve this by giving everyone in the world a smart phone and linking to a simple financial app.
problem with bitcoin
Bitcoin remains a problem in search of a solution.
Payment systems are rapidly evolving, offering consumers a range of benefits, from low transaction costs, to secure payments for smart contracts, and quick processing and clearing, all of which are also occurring as bitcoin’s price stalls.
Blockchain and Ethereum are largely responsible for that payment system revolution, while other systems are emerging even more rapidly, creating ever-increasing efficiencies that allow consumers with or without bitcoin or the 12,000 other cryptocurrencies mined so far. will benefit.
Thiel’s highly personal attack on Buffett, Dimon, and Fink does nothing to make the case for bitcoin.
By itself, bitcoin is too volatile to stand as a unit of account, a medium of exchange or, arguably, a store of value – in short, it lacks any of the qualities that define currency, or money. does.
I have been very wrong on the price of bitcoin. But not so much in terms of its use.
It still represents a small part of the world’s currency system. Its market value of $820 billion (whatever the meaning for “currency”) is small compared to the dollar in circulation globally and pale in comparison to the $13 trillion value of the world’s outstanding gold, which is the preferred choice for most. Difficult currency. Planet.
Thiel believes that wealthy, powerful people such as Buffett, Dimon, and Fink are suppressing what he describes as a “revolutionary youth movement”.
Perhaps another explanation is that maybe, as many of us are approaching, or exceeding, retirement age, we’ve seen so many investment cycles, so many whims, frenzy, and bubbles that we can’t imagine the financial imaginary. We tend to be more inherently suspicious that we can identify flights more easily and easily.
And we would love to warn the public about the inherent risks of trading them for a personal reward. If this is sociopathy, let’s make the most of it!