Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, believes that critics of bitcoin are "underestimating" the cryptocurrency.
In remarks made on the third day of the Financial Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia, Thiel said that while he is "skeptical of most [cryptocurrencies]," he believes bitcoin has a promising future depending on the trajectory it takes, according to CNBC.
Speaking with Fox Business Network anchor Maria Bartiromo, Thiel said that those criticizing bitcoin are "underestimating [it] especially because ... it's like a reserve form of money, it's like gold, and it's just a store of value. You don't need to use it to make payments."
He went on to say:
Thiel has previously argued that bitcoin doesn’t work well for payments. Back in 2014, during a Reddit Ask-Me-Anything session, he said that "the payment system is badly lacking" and that he wasn't ready to take a more bullish position just yet.
"I will become more bullish on bitcoin when I see the payment volume of bitcoin really increase," he said at the time.
He notably remarked that bitcoin mining – the energy-intensive process by which new transactions are added to a blockchain – is more difficult than gold mining. His comments highlighted the limited issuance of coins encoded in the cryptocurrency's software, as only 21 million bitcoins will be created.
"Bitcoin is mineable like gold, it's hard to mine, it's actually harder to mine than gold. And so in that sense, it's more constrained," he said.
Image via Wikimedia
This piece has been updated for clarity.
CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk offers all employees above a certain salary threshold, including journalists, stock options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.