Billionaire Investor Howard Marks Warming to Bitcoin

Marks, who is worth $2.1 billion, said his early comments on bitcoin were a "knee-jerk reaction."

Mar 16, 2021 at 2:41 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:27 p.m. UTC

Howard Marks, co-founder of alternative investment manager Oaktree Capital, says he has reconsidered his previous "dismissive" stance on bitcoin.

The investor, who is worth $2.1 billion according to Forbes, previously said in a 2017 memo that cryptocurrency was "an unfounded fad." The comment was "a knee-jerk reaction without information," Marks conceded in a video interview with the Korea Economic Daily on Monday.

While he'd previously considered bitcoin to have no intrinsic value, he said that "there are plenty of things that people want and value highly that have no intrinsic value. How about a painting or a diamond or a bar of gold?" he said.

Marks described the positives of of bitcoin as being able to trade 24 hours a day and confidentiality.

Saying his early comments hadn't been proven correct so far, Marks added that, with bitcoin now over $50,000, people who bought at $5,000 "look right."

However, while bitcoin, unlike the U.S. dollar, has a limited supply of 21 million units, Marks argued the market is "circular," meaning people want the cryptocurrency because the price is rising and that demand drives prices up.

Marks also said in a recent Oaktree memo that his son "thankfully owns a meaningful amount" of bitcoin.

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