A hot potato: Another public figure has disparaged cryptocurrency, calling it “dangerous” while comparing digital currencies to gambling. This time, the criticism comes from the inventor of the World Wide Web himself, Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
In March 1989, Berners-Lee proposed an information management system that would eventually become the World Wide Web we know today. The British computer scientist was speaking on a recent episode of CNBC’s “Beyond The Valley” podcast about cryptocurrencies, which continue to divide opinion.
Berners-Lee said crypto was “only speculative.” He compared it to the dot-com bubble, the stock market bubble of the late 1990s when companies tried to boost their stock and encourage investment by adding .com to their names. Many stock prices skyrocketed before the bubble burst in 2000.
“It’s only speculative. Obviously, that’s really dangerous,” Berners-Lee told CNBC. “[It’s] if you want to have a kick out of gambling, basically.”
“Investing in certain things, which is purely speculative, isn’t what, where I want to spend my time.”
Berners-Lee’s crypto comments weren’t all negative. He highlighted the usefulness of digital currencies for remittances as long as they are converted back into fiat currency as soon as they are received.
Other famous crypto detractors include Bill Gates, who called it 100% based on greater fool theory last year. He’s also warned that regular investors should be more aware of crypto’s volatile price and shouldn’t invest based on tweets from the likes of Elon Musk. In 2018, Gates said crypto is being used to buy drugs, making it a rare technology that has caused deaths in a fairly direct way.
Berkshire Hathaway CEO/chairman Warren Buffett once called Bitcoin “rat poison squared,” claiming he wouldn’t pay $25 for all the Bitcoin in the world. His long-time business partner and Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman Charlie Munger has been even more critical of Bitcoin in the past, saying that holding onto crypto was “stupid,” predicting its value would fall to zero in time, and calling crypto “evil” because it undermines the integrity and stability of the US financial system. Munger also said crypto’s use makes the US “look foolish” because China was sensible enough to ban it. Just in case the 99-year-old didn’t make his feelings about crypto clear enough, he called it a “venereal disease” that should be banned.
Last year’s crypto winter meant 2022 was a nightmare for investors and businesses within the industry, but Bitcoin has seen a bit of resurgence in 2023, rallying 50% since the start of the year to reach almost $25,000, its highest price since August. Some analysts think BTC will continue to rise over the next 10 months, though others believe the thaw will take longer.