US billionaire Warren Buffett has ruled out a foray into cryptocurrencies, warning that the Bitcoin boom will “come to a bad ending”.
The chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway has joined the chorus of voices criticising the digital currency, which endured a rollercoaster ride at the tail end of 2017.
Speaking to CNBC, the so-called Oracle of Omaha said : “In terms of cryptocurrencies, generally, I can say with almost certainty that they will come to a bad ending.”
“When it happens or how or anything else, I don’t know. If I could buy a five-year put on every one of the cryptocurrencies, I’d be glad to do it but I would never short a dime’s worth.”
Bitcoin was marginally lower at 14,426 US dollars in afternoon trading on Wednesday, according to prices listed by Coindesk.
While the cryptocurrency has fallen from a peak of 20,000 US dollars in mid-December, it remains significantly higher than its 900 US dollar position recorded in January 2017.
Bitcoin prices have been buoyed by the launch of bitcoin futures by both the CME and CBOE last month following US regulatory approval.
However, Mr Buffett said he would never take short position on bitcoin futures.
He added: “We don’t own any, we’re not short any, we’ll never have a position in them.”
“I get into enough trouble with things I think I know something about.”
“Why in the world should I take a long or short position in something I don’t know anything about?”
His comments come just a day after JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon said he regretted calling Bitcoin a “fraud”.
The Wall Street boss was one of the most high-profile critics of the digital currency, saying he would fire employees trading the digital currency.
While there has been widespread concern about the rise of Bitcoin, major international figures have also shown their support for cryptocurrencies.
Christine Lagarde of the International Monetary Fund said “it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies”.
The Treasury is eyeing closer scrutiny of the virtual currencies as part of EU-wide plans requiring online platforms trading in Bitcoin to carry out due diligence on customers and report suspicious transactions.