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Bitcoin's Success Is 'Disgusting': Berkshire's Charlie Munger

Shares of Berkshire Hathaway are up 50.5% in the last 52 weeks. The price of bitcoin is up better than 500% in that same time period.

May 2, 2021 at 2:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 12:49 p.m. UTC

It was probably good no one asked Charlie Munger about dogecoin.

  • Munger, the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, speaking at the multinational conglomerate's annual meeting on Saturday, left no doubt he's no fan of bitcoin's impressive performance over the last year or of the leading cryptocurrency itself.
  • While Munger has never been a bitcoin advocate – during a Q&A session earlier this year, he called bitcoin "too volatile" to be considered a global medium of exchange – his dislike seems to have crystalized into something close to hatred.
  • "Of course I hate the bitcoin success," Munger said. "And I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists and so forth. Nor do I like shuffling out a few extra billions and billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air."
  • "I think I should say modestly that I think the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization," he continued.
  • That success to which Munger was referring is bitcoin's better-than-90% price increase year to date. While Berkshire shares have handily beaten the performance of the S&P 500 for far this year, up 18.6% against the S&P 500's 11.3%, they pale beside the leading cryptocurrency.
  • Looking back over the past 52 weeks, the reason for Munger's anger becomes even more apparent with Berkshire having risen 50.5% against bitcoin more than 500% gain.
  • Given Munger's apparent loathing for the leading cryptocurrency, which is rapidly gaining acceptance on Wall Street and beyond as a respectable and investable asset, it was probably a good thing for the 97-year-old's health that no one brought up dogecoin. That meme-based cryptocurrency that was started as a joke in 2013 is up more than 7,900% year to date.
  • Meanwhile, Munger's boss, Berkshire's Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, took a hard pass on commenting on bitcoin.
  • “I’m gonna dodge that question,” said Buffett, who had previously referred to bitcoin as "probably rat poison squared" and as a gambling instrument.
  • “We’ve probably got hundreds of thousands of people watching this [meeting remotely] that own bitcoin, and we’ve probably got two people who are short," the legendary investor said.
  • "So we have a choice of making 400,000 people mad at us and unhappy, or making two people happy, and that’s just a dumb equation."

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