Started in 2008, cryptocurrency has been around for a decade but it really only picked up the past few years. From headlines on newspapers to special interviews with blockchain experts, cryptocurrency is all the rage in the financial world. Some governments hate it, and others try to cope with the changes it brings.
Just by reading the headlines, you’ll get a sense of the anxieties that most governments have regarding cryptocurrencies. How about from a business perspective? Will cryptocurrency make good business or investment opportunities? Here are the perspectives of some of the top businessmen.
Founder of Alibaba
Jack Ma has always been wary of Bitcoin and is quite open about his stance about it. To him, Bitcoin is likely a bubble. Despite his cautious stance about Bitcoin, he is interested in the blockchain technology. In June 2018, Jack Ma used $14 billion he raised for Ant Financial to invest in blockchain.
“Blockchain technology is not a bubble, but Bitcoin is.”
CEO of Virgin Group
Richard Branson holds a rather optimistic view of Bitcoin. In a post on the Virgin website, he wrote about how digital currency could transform the world. To him, cryptocurrency has to ability to democratise society and bring more power and control back to the everyday citizen. Nonetheless, he also advices taking precaution in investing and warns about Bitcoin scams that go around using his name to promote a get-rich-quick scheme.
Currently, Richard Branson is investing in Blockchain, a UK Bitcoin currency service provider.
“I have invested in bitcoin because I believe in its potential, the capacity it has to transform global payments is very exciting”
Founder of Microsoft
The man who played a key role in revolutionising technology, Bill Gates, isn’t so optimistic about Bitcoin. In an interview, Bill Gates said that he was given some bitcoins for his birthday and had sold it. The founder of Microsoft isn’t exactly very excited about bitcoin and said that he would short bitcoin if he could. Nonetheless, like many critics of Bitcoin, he finds merit in the blockchain technology.
“Bitcoin and ICOs, I believe completely [they’re some] of the crazier, speculative things”
Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffett has been very open about his views of Bitcoin. To him, investing in Bitcoin is more of a gamble than an investment. In an interview he explained that Bitcoin has no intrinsic value – it only increases in value when it’s being bought and sold.
“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage… the idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is a joke. It’s a way of transmitting money.”
CEO of Tesla
The CEO of Tesla is quite indifferent about cryptocurrency in general and hasn’t made many open remarks about whether he is for or against it. According to him, he “literally own[s] zero cryptocurrency, apart from .25 BTC that a friend sent [him] many years ago.” He also mentioned that he can’t even remember where the Bitcoin was sent to.
“A friend sent me part of a BTC a few years, but I don’t know where it is.”
Co-founder and chief executive officer of Avenue Capital Group
In an interview with CNBC, Marc Lasry shared that he personally invests in Bitcoin. Although he thinks that bitcoin investments are largely speculative, he doesn’t believe that it is “completely speculative”. He also believes that cryptocurrency is also slowly making its way into the mainstream.
“I think it’s real, as it coming into the mainstream.”
CEO of Google
Eric Schmidt holds a pretty optimistic view of Bitcoin. The CEO of Google sees great potential in this digital currency and believes that Bitcoin has the potential to create an exciting future in the financial world and many new businesses will spring out from that.
“The bitcoin architecture, literally the ability to have these ledgers which can’t be replicated, is an amazing advancement. Lot’s of people will build businesses on top of that.”
Views on Bitcoin are quite varied among the top business people. Some are completely for it, some are quite against it. However, many are quite interested in blockchain’s technology and the possibilities it could bring about. No doubt, cryptocurrency still has a long way to go before it can be accepted as a mainstream mode of transaction. That being said, its developments are creating conversations and it’s already pushing boundaries and creating changes in our society.