Black Swan author Nassim Nicholas Taleb criticized Bitcoin as a “gimmick” on Friday, telling CNBC that he believed it was too volatile to be an effective currency and that it was not a safe hedge against inflation.
“Basically there is no connection between inflation and Bitcoin. None. I mean, you can zero hyperinflation and Bitcoin. There is no connection between them,” Taleb said in a “Squawk Box” interview.
“It’s a beautifully set up cryptographic system. It’s well done, but there is absolutely no reason why it should be associated with anything economic,” added Taleb, whose 2007 bestselling book The Most Unlikely Events and Their Potential for serious consequences examined. He said Bitcoin has properties of what is known as a Ponzi scheme, which is open.
A ponzi scheme is a type of scam in which crooks steal money from investors and mask the theft by forwarding returns to customers on funds provided by newer investors.
Taleb once had positive views on Bitcoin, which was founded in 2009 and is the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market value. However, he told CNBC he was “initially fooled” because he thought it could become a currency to be used for transactions.
“Something that moves 5% a day, 20% in a month – up or down – can’t be currency. It’s something else,” said Taleb, a former derivatives trader who worked as a scientific advisor to Universa Investments hedge fund acts.
“I took part in it … not prepared to achieve capital growth, but to want an alternative to the fiat currency issued by the central banks: a currency without a government,” said Taleb. “I realized that it’s not a currency without a government. It was just speculation. It’s like a game … I mean, you can make another game and call it a currency.”
While some companies are accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment for goods and services, including electric vehicle maker Tesla, there are those in the crypto community who believe that it is actually an asset and store of value. Bitcoin, whose supply is limited to 21 million tokens, has been called “digital gold”.
“It’s easy to carry and can be sent anywhere in the world with a smartphone, so it’s a much better version of a store of value than gold,” famed value investor Bill Miller told CNBC earlier this week.
“With bitcoin, volatility is the price you pay for performance,” added Miller, who has also previously claimed that the more adoption and price of bitcoin increases, the less risky it becomes.
In fact, the price of Bitcoin has soared in the past few months – from below $ 11,000 per unit in October to an all-time high of nearly $ 65,000 last week. Increasing institutional acceptance was cited as a factor in advancement.
In line with its propensity for wild price swings, Bitcoin has been falling in the past few days, breaking below $ 50,000 per token on Friday, a 23% decline in just over a week. However, according to Coindesk, the price has still increased by more than 70% since the beginning of the year.
Bitcoin has received long-term price targets between $ 400,000 and $ 600,000 per token from some members of the investment community, including Scott Minerd of Guggenheim Partners. others projected even higher.
Taleb suggested that the price of Bitcoin is not what is influencing his now critical view. He said “Bitcoin could cost as much as $ 1 million” and it wouldn’t change his argument. “Those gimmicks, you have bitcoin today. You might have another tomorrow. They come and go and there is no systematic link between them and the claims they make,” he added.
Investors worried about inflation would be better off buying real estate than investing in bitcoin, Taleb said. “If you want to hedge against inflation, buy a piece of land. Grow, I don’t know, olives on it. You will have olive oil. If the price collapses, you have something.”
“But Bitcoin, there is no connection and of course the best strategy for investors is to own things that will bring returns in the future. In other words, you can draw on real dollars that come out of the company,” he said.