Market Extra: ‘Fraud.’ ‘More than a fad.’ The words Wall Street CEOs are using to describe bitcoin


Market Extra: ‘Fraud.’ ‘More than a fad.’ The words Wall Street CEOs are using to describe bitcoin
  1. Market Extra: ‘Fraud.’ ‘More than a fad.’ The words Wall Street CEOs are using to describe bitcoin
    vse.marketwatch.com
    Seems not a day goes by without some Wall Street VIP or financial luminary deciding it’s time for them to weigh in on bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Here’s a roundup of the latest high-profile sta…
    Finance

Cryptocurrencies have become the hottest of hot topics — it seems not a day goes by without some Wall Street VIP or financial luminary proclaiming their stance.

Is bitcoin BTCUSD, -0.42%   a “fraud” or the future? Are ICOs just a scam? Depends whom you ask. One thing’s for sure, there’s no shortage of opinions.

Here’s what some of the financial-world heavyweights have had to say lately.

Goldman Sachs GS, -0.02%  CEO Lloyd Blankfein:

‘Still thinking...’

In a tweet on Oct. 3, Blankfein appeared to signal that the jury is still out on bitcoin, but also cautioned skeptics to consider that the rise of paper money over gold might also have fostered similar doubts from market stalwarts.

Here’s the substance of his tweet: “Still thinking about #Bitcoin. No conclusion-not endorsing/rejecting. know that folks also were skeptical when paper money displaced gold.”

Meanwhile, Goldman is reportedly exploring a new trading platform that would be centered on trading in bitcoin and its rivals, like ether.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM, -0.18%  CEO Jamie Dimon:

‘It’s a fraud.’

Dimon said in early September that “bitcoin is not a real thing and it’s solely speculative and that there’s no need for it in the U.S.”

He has also compared the rapid ascent of bitcoin with the 17th-century mania over tulip bulbs — viewed as a classic, textbook bubble — and predicted that things may end just as badly for investors in the decentralized currency, which has been surging over the past year.

“Bitcoin will eventually blow up. It’s a fraud. It’s worse than tulip bulbs and won’t end well,” he said.

Dimon also said he would fire any trader trading bitcoin for being “stupid.”

Morgan Stanley MS, +0.26%  CEO James Gorman:

‘More than just a fad’

Gorman came out on the record in late September to argue that the cryptocurrency phenomenon at least is “more than just a fad.”

“I haven’t invested in it. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have. It’s obviously highly speculative but it’s not something that’s inherently bad. It’s a natural consequence of the whole blockchain technology.”

Gorman has said some of the potential attractions of a digital currency are “the privacy protections it gives people,” adding that it is “interesting because what it says to the central banking system about controlling that.”

Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway BRK.A, +0.23%  :

‘It’s a mirage...’

Way back in 2014 (a century ago in cryptocurrency time), the Oracle of Omaha said this about bitcoin on CNBC:

“Stay away from it. It’s a mirage, basically. It’s a method of transmitting money. It’s a very effective way of transmitting money and you can do it anonymously and all that. A check is a way of transmitting money too. Are checks worth a whole lot of money? Just because they can transmit money?”

UBS UBS, -0.35%   Chairman Axel Weber:

‘Only a transaction currency”

“I get often asked why I‘m so skeptical about bitcoin, it probably comes from my background as a central banker,” Weber said at a conference in Zurich on Oct. 4.

“The important function of a currency is, it’s a means of payment, it has to be generally accepted, it has to be a store of value and it’s a transaction currency. Bitcoin is only a transaction currency.”

BlackRock CEO Larry Fink:

‘I am a big believer in the potential...’

The ra…

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