Charlie Munger calls bitcoin ‘disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization’

Charlie Munger at Berkshire Hathaway’s annual meeting in Los Angeles California. May 1, 2021.
Gerard Miller | CNBC

Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger’s distain toward bitcoin has only intensified amid the digital asset’s record run this year.

“Of course I hate the bitcoin success,” the 97-year-old Munger said during a Q&A session at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting Saturday. “I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists and so forth, nor do I like just shuffling out of your extra billions of billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air.”

“I think I should say modestly that the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization,” said Munger, a legendary investor in his own right.

Warren Buffett, who avoided the initial question on bitcoin earlier, responded to Munger’s answer: “I’m alright on that one.”

The “Oracle of Omaha” said he didn’t want to comment directly on the digital token because he didn’t want to get grief from everyone who is long.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency enjoyed a head-turning rally this year, topping $60,000 apiece in April as involvement from Tesla to major Wall Street banks made bitcoin mainstream. Tesla recently made a $1.5 billion bet on bitcoin and now accepts the digital currency as a method of payment for its cars. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are looking to offer their wealthy clients some exposure to bitcoin.

Bitcoin last traded above $57,000, up from about $30,000 at the start of 2021, according to Coin Metrics.

Munger has long criticized bitcoin for its extreme volatility and a lack of regulation. At the annual shareholders meeting for Daily Journal in February, Munger said bitcoin is too volatile to serve well as a medium of exchange.

“It’s really kind of an artificial substitute for gold. And since I never buy any gold, I never buy any bitcoin,” Munger said then. “Bitcoin reminds me of what Oscar Wilde said about fox hunting. He said it was the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable,” he added.

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