At a time in which bitcoin reaches a new record high around the $7,500 mark and catapults the cryptocurrency market cap above the $200 billion mark for the first time in history, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam makes it clear that he isn’t a fan of the cryptocurrency, as he stated it was the “very definition of a bubble” while speaking at a news conference in Zurich.
The CEO expressed caution as interest in bitcoin could eventually subside. He noted that right now people are buying the cryptocurrency expecting a price rise that will help them make money, not as a store of value, meaning it is a bubble. He notably stated:
“From what we can identify, the only reason today to buy or sell Bitcoin is to make money, which is the very definition of speculation and the very definition of a bubble.”
Tidjane Thiam added that bitcoin currently presents a number of challenges, and expressed concern over its anonymity, as to him it is particularly problematic for financial institutions that, given the potential money-laundering risks, are likely not to get involved with the cryptocurrency. He added:
“Bitcoin presents a number of challenges. The first of them is really the anonymity. (…) I think most banks in the current state of regulation have little or no appetite to get involved in a currency which has such anti-money laundering challenges.
Analysts believe that more institutional investors are going to enter the cryptocurrency ecosystem, as one of the largest derivatives exchange in the world, CME Group, recently decided to launch bitcoin futures.
Given his words, Thiam now joins a list of bankers and Wall Street executives who believe bitcoin is a bubble. Among them are Berkshire Hathaway CEO and billionaire investor Warren Buffet, who warned there’s a “real bubble” in bitcoin as, according to him, the cryptocurrency cannot be valued because it isn’t a value-producing asset.
Earlier this year, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon also criticized bitcoin by calling it a “a fraud” and stating he would fire anyone in his financial institution trading it. Later on, Dimon stated that the cryptocurrency was “worth nothing” before taking a third shot at the cryptocurrency and its investors, notably stating that anyone “stupid enough to buy [bitcoin] will pay the price.”
Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, also stated that bitcoin is a bubble, as it met his firm’s criteria for it., partly because some investors buy coins to later on sell them at a higher price, and because of its volatility.
On the other hand, some aren’t as dismissive of bitcoin. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein recently told Bloomberg he wasn’t willing to “pooh pooh” the cryptocurrency, despite having a certain “level of discomfort with it” as is the case with anything new. Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman also recently stated that bitcoin is “more than just a fad” that “isn’t inherently bad.”
Featured image from Flickr/Africa Progress Panel.