In a recent CNBC interview, Warren Buffett, the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, shared his thoughts on bitcoin (BTC) and likened it to gambling.
Buffett is known for his exceptional investing prowess and has amassed a considerable fortune over the years. Despite his success in traditional investment, Buffett has been a vocal bitcoin skeptic since its inception.
During the interview, Buffett was asked about the longevity of bitcoin, which has persisted for nearly 15 years. The interviewer also questioned whether his previous statement, referring to bitcoin as “rat poison squared,” still held.
Buffett chose not to predict when the speculation around bitcoin would end, stating that it was difficult to determine when more people would want to exit the market than enter it.
The billionaire investor drew parallels between the lottery and bitcoin, stating that people have always been drawn to the prospect of making money quickly. He noted that the gambling instinct is strong in people and has only grown stronger over time, especially as state-sponsored gambling has become more common.
Buffett recounted his experience visiting Las Vegas on his honeymoon when he was 21, observing people participating in unintelligent activities like believing in hot streaks at the craps table. He realized there was an opportunity to become wealthy in a country where people were so driven to make money quickly without considering the risks involved.
Despite his disapproval of bitcoin and gambling in general, Buffett admitted that he occasionally enjoys betting on football games. He, however, emphasized that he would not want to make a living betting against the house. Buffett prefers to own the roulette wheel rather than be a roulette player.
In conclusion, Warren Buffett remains skeptical of bitcoin and continues to draw comparisons between cryptocurrency and gambling. As an investor known for focusing on long-term value and strong businesses, it is no surprise that Buffett sees the speculation and short-term gains of bitcoin as unsustainable and risky.
In a separate interview published by CNBC on Twitter, Buffett also discussed the proliferation of legalized gambling in the United States and its impact on society. He believes that the desire to participate in activities that appear to offer easy money is a strong human instinct that has been unleashed and cannot be easily contained. People are attracted to the idea of getting rich quickly, even though Buffett claims to have always preferred to get rich slowly.
Buffett shared anecdotes from his personal experiences, highlighting the widespread appeal of gambling. He mentioned how, when his father was in Congress, an illegal numbers game was easily accessible within a government building. He also recounted a time when he made a bet at a sportsbook in Nevada, leading to an unbalanced book as other gamblers followed his lead.
The legendary investor drew parallels between this widespread gambling culture and the popularity of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. He reiterated that bitcoin has no intrinsic value and compared it to a gambling token. Despite his claimed lack of inherent value, people are still attracted to cryptocurrencies, which according to him, is the same kind of attraction they feel toward gambling.
Buffett acknowledged that it’s difficult to reverse this trend, as the excitement of potential winnings is a powerful motivator. He compared the allure of gambling to the noise and lights of slot machines designed to entice players. The challenge, he believes, is finding a way to curb this widespread enthusiasm for gambling and speculative investments like bitcoin, which can ultimately erode an individual’s wealth over time.