Warren Buffett during an interview with CNBC’s Becky Kwik on February 24, 2020.
Jerry Miller | CNBC
My first experience was with one of the guys Peter Thiel called “the sociopath grandfather from Omaha” in the early 1990s.
Joe Kernin and I were wrapping up the Stocks to Watch section and discussing Berkshire Hathaway’s earnings. As part of this discussion, we chatted about our favorite companies inside Warren Buffettwallet.
My own was See’s Candy, having spent 17 years of my life in Southern California, where the See’s restaurant was sold. It was Joe’s NetJets.
Suffice to say, less than 24 hours later, there were two large boxes on my desk that held 10 pounds of C-candy and a note, “Thanks for the point. Warren.”
I had never met Buffett before, so I called him and thanked him for the dessert, and assured him that I had no intention of sharing it with my colleagues.
He laughed and told me to tell Joe not to expect a plane.
Since then, we have had a friendly professional and personal relationship. as you did with Jimmy Damon and Larry Fink, both of whom on Thursday joined Buffett It was identified by the libertarian investor Thiel as part of the “Government of Financial Aging”. Thiel said the group is blocking further development of Bitcoin to protect its financial interests.
It’s the kind of pot that calls the kettle black, as Thiel uses this cash to defend and promote his bitcoin holdings.
Moreover, I have never found in my dealings with any of these gentlemen that they are sociopaths, backward, or unwilling to accept new ideas or technologies, if they can benefit from their use in mainstream finance.
Warren Buffett is arguably the largest single investor of our lives, Dimon is the CEO of our smartest bank, and Fink, whose $10 trillion investment firm has pioneered more accessible ways to invest the public, is the creator of the world’s largest asset manager.
This does not mean that these aging business giants are infallible, nor are they completely free from bad or missed opportunities.
However, they are students of money and market history, and savvy and wealthy investors, especially Buffett, behind our wildest dreams.
In fact, you would need the total net worth of all the crypto billionaires in the world to exceed that of Buffett.
Some will accuse me of pandering to these guys. I’m past the pimping stage, both in my life and in my career. In fact, I didn’t work out at all. I didn’t need that.
What I found among bitcoin and crypto enthusiasts, or proponents, though, is that they are trying hard to convince the world that the new global currency is necessary to democratize finance and provide assistance to those with little access to banking, payment systems or investable assets.
You can achieve this simply by giving everyone in the world a smartphone and links to simple financial apps.
Bitcoin remains a solution in search of a problem.
Payment systems are rapidly evolving, providing many benefits to consumers from lower transaction costs, secure payments for smart contracts and faster processing and clearing, all of which is happening even as the value of Bitcoin has ceased.
Blockchain and Ethereum are largely responsible for the revolution of these payment systems while others are emerging faster which will create increased efficiencies that consumers will benefit from, with or without bitcoin or the 12,000 other cryptocurrencies minted to date.
Thiel’s very personal attack on Buffett, Dimon, and Fink does nothing to make the case for Bitcoin.
Bitcoin on its own is too volatile to be considered a unit of account, a medium of exchange or, arguably, a store of value — in short, it has none of the characteristics that define a currency or money at all.
I was horribly wrong about the price of bitcoin. But not so much if used.
It still represents a small part of the global currency system. Its market capitalization of $820 billion (whatever that means by “currency”) is small in comparison to the dollars in circulation globally and pales in comparison to the $13 trillion worth of the world’s premium gold stock, the hard currency of choice for most of the planet.
Thiel believes that wealthy, powerful men such as Buffett, Damon and Fink are suppressing what he describes as the “revolutionary youth movement”.
Another explanation might be that perhaps, like many of us approaching or past retirement age, we have experienced so many investment cycles, so many fads, frenzy and bubbles that we can more easily define our financial fancy trips. They remain naturally suspicious.
We prefer to warn the public of their inherent risks, which trade them for personal reward. If this is sociopathy, let’s make the most of it!
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