Opinion

Tuesdays with Teeka: Why the Old Guard Doesn’t Like Cryptocurrencies

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Posted: Sep 11, 2018 12:01 AM
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Tuesdays with Teeka: Why the Old Guard Doesn’t Like Cryptocurrencies

Bitcoin is “antisocial, stupid, and immoral.”

That’s how investing legend Charlie Munger described the most popular cryptocurrency in the world.

Munger is the right-hand man of Warren Buffett… and the vice chairman of Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway company.

Yahoo! Finance interviewed Munger during the company’s annual meeting in May. That’s when he called bitcoin a “combination of dementia and immorality.”

(Note to Charlie: Bitcoin is probably the most moral currency out there. Unlike the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies, central bankers can’t print bitcoin into oblivion. So its value doesn’t erode through inflation.)

But Munger didn’t stop there…

“Suppose you could make a lot of money trading freshly harvested baby brains,” he continued. “Would you do it? To me, bitcoin is almost as bad.”

Not to be outdone, Buffett then likened bitcoin to “rat poison, squared.”

I’m not exactly sure how bitcoin and baby brains are related… But I do think good old Charlie is out of his league here.

Look, Munger and Buffett have imparted tons of investing wisdom over the decades. I’ve studied both legends at depth… especially when it comes to their specialty—value investing.

But I think they’re absolutely off the mark when it comes to the new cryptocurrency asset class.

New World Order

It’s been 22 years since I’ve seen a bull market like the one we’re in now with cryptocurrencies.

I can’t overstate how profound this is…

I won’t blame you if you think bitcoin is just a fad… or akin to “rat poison, squared.”

Why would you put your trust in a digital construct like bitcoin? On the surface, it seems like madness. It flies in the face of sensible wealth-building—the kind that legends like Buffett and Munger advocate.

But consider this… Bitcoin is now nine years old. That’s three years older than the internet bubble. It’s outlived the real estate bubble and the financial crisis… and it’s now worth about $115 billion.

In recent times, it’s outpaced the run-up in stocks, bonds, gold, and silver. Has the whole world gone mad? Is bitcoin just a “hyper-bubble”?

I understand if you have reservations about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin…

In a “normal” world, I’d tell you that bitcoin is a dumb idea. In a “normal” world, bitcoin would be nothing more than a geek-centric curiosity.

But we do not live in a normal world anymore…

That’s why I’m writing to you. I want to show you why cryptocurrencies belong in everyone’s wealth-building plan.

We’re Not in a "Normal" World

We can thank the relentless power grab by the world’s governments and central banks for making bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies a viable financial product.

Let me explain…

As governments impose their will on the population… people will use digital currencies like bitcoin to win back their freedom of choice.

Whether it’s the loss of financial privacy… devaluation of paper money… capital controls in China and elsewhere… or government-sponsored payment bans… digital currencies like bitcoin are stepping in to bridge the gap between what the people want… and what governments will "let" them have.

Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin meet a need that no other conventional asset can: freedom and virtual anonymity.

As governments seek more and more control, they’re actually creating a bigger and bigger market for bitcoin and other digital currencies.

As we see governments trample citizens’ rights even further, it will be cryptocurrencies that step in to give us our freedom back.

Naturally, this makes a certain type of person nervous…

The Old Guard Doesn’t Like Bitcoin

Buffett and Munger aren’t the first smart guys to underestimate bitcoin.

In 2013, famed economist Paul Krugman penned an article titled, “Bitcoin Is Evil.” And he still stands by that position. In 2016, he said that bitcoin was in a “bubble” when it was at just $350. Since then, bitcoin is up 1,850%. That shows you how smart Krugman is.

In 2014, Seth Klarman (another one of our favorite value investors) said that “bitcoin is yet another bandwagon we are happy to let pass us by.” Since then, bitcoin has risen as much as 50 times higher. If your money manager said that he was okay with leaving a 50-bagger on the table, how long would you keep him around?

In 2017, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said that he’d fire any of his employees who traded bitcoin for being “stupid.” He also called bitcoin a “fraud.” (Dimon later said that he regretted calling bitcoin a fraud.)

Notice any similarities?

Not only were these guys wrong… they missed out on the greatest investment opportunity of the 21st century.

Bitcoin is up 9,642,757% since 2010. That’s right. If you invested $100 in bitcoin eight years ago, it would be worth about $9.6 million today.

Now, these guys are successful, and they’ve made billions. But cryptos aren’t their expertise.

If Charlie Munger told me about a great value idea, I’d back up the truck and buy. But I wouldn’t listen to his advice on bitcoin.

But that’s not the biggest reason why I choose to ignore them.

Hypocrisy

Do you know how much JPMorgan has paid to settle allegations of fraud during Jamie Dimon’s tenure? It’s in the billions. And there’s more… We’ve come to discover that while Dimon was calling bitcoin a fraud and knocking the price lower, his traders in London were actually buying bitcoin.

Recently, Munger called bitcoin a “noxious poison,” while at the same time saying that Wells Fargo (Berkshire’s second-largest position) should be given a break by regulators.

Think about that.

Wells Fargo has been fined billions of dollars for falsifying millions of customer accounts… mortgage records… and auto insurance records—all to pump up fees. And Munger says that they should be given a “break.”

I can barely breathe through the hypocrisy.

In a blockchain world, Wells Fargo could never commit the fraud it’s been found guilty of. That’s because records are tamper-proof when they’re secured by a blockchain. No wonder the bankers and the old guard are so scared. In a blockchain-enabled world, we don’t need their institutions.

I’ll leave you with this thought…

If you are a lover of personal freedom, then you owe it to yourself to get educated on how digital currencies can liberate you from the limitations, onerous fees, and stifling regulations of our current financial system.

Let the Game Come to You!

Teeka Tiwari

Editor, The Palm Beach Letter and Palm Beach Confidential

And Official Cryptocurrency Expert for Townhall

My New Crypto Master Course Reveals the Truth Behind Cryptos -- Click HERE for Details