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Legendary Millionaire Investor Pivots from ‘Fraud’ to ‘Alive and Well’ on Bitcoin

Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:31 PM
Ben Brown
Last Updated March 4, 2021 2:31 PM

By CCN.com: Bitcoin has converted yet another critic. World-famous investor and emerging markets guru Mark Mobius once called bitcoin a fraud. But in an interview yesterday with Bloomberg  he appeared to change his mind, saying it was “alive and well.”

“There’s definitely a desire among people around the world to be able to transfer money easily and confidentially. That is really the backing to bitcoin and other currencies of that type. So I believe it’s going to be alive and well.”

Mobius in 2018: “I think bitcoin is a real fraud”

The 81-year-old investor, founder of Mobius Capital Partners, struck a harsh tone on cryptocurrencies last year, slamming the cryptocurrency as a fraud .

“I think bitcoin is a real fraud, I really do. The first thing I do is ask people ‘can you explain it to me? Who is running it? Who is controlling it?’ And nobody can.”

He shrugged off the growing interest in cryptocurrency and likened the movement to a religion. In the 2017 interview below with Reuters, he said bitcoin was only useful for “illicit activites” and that China was right to clamp down on cryptocurrencies.

In this 2018 interview with Bloomberg, Mobius said bitcoin “makes tulips look bad,” comparing crypto to the infamous Dutch tulip bubble.

Mobius in 2019: Bitcoin is “alive and well”

Fast forward to 2019 and Mobius has warmed to the idea that bitcoin is here to stay. A Bloomberg interviewer asked him whether the cryptocurrency had a role to play in emerging markets like Venezuela. He responded positively, saying there’s a role for digital assets in money transfer.

However, he confirmed that he owned no BTC himself and isn’t quite ready to open a Coinbase account.

“Whether I would invest in it is another question because of the incredible volatility.”

The investor, who was once named one of the Top 100 Most Powerful and Influential People, is also worried about high-profile hacks and lack of central organization. Citing the legendary Mt. Gox hack he said:

“And at the end of the day, you can’t trace one individual group or organization that will keep track of what’s going on.”

Like many traditional investors, there seems to be some gaps in Mobius’ understanding of cryptocurrencies. Despite his conclusions, bitcoin is not confidential and transactions are entirely transparent and traceable on the blockchain. 

Traditional investors finally coming around

As the crypto winter thaws, traditional investors are beginning to realize that bitcoin won’t die. Having survived the bitcoin bubble, the fundamentals are now stronger than ever.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, JP Morgan boss Jamie Dimon made a U-turn on crypto. After slamming bitcoin as a fraud at the height of the bubble, his bank later embracing blockchain technology and launched its own cryptocurrency.

The giants of industry are slowly waking up to the transformational power, not just of blockchain, but cryptocurrencies themselves.

Warren Buffet and Nouriel Roubini next?

As one bitcoin critic warms up to bitcoin, will others follow? Among its harshest dissenters is legendary investor Warren Buffett who called bitcoin “rat poison squared,” a “delusion,” and a “gambling device .”

And who can forget bitcoin’s most vitriolic opponent, Nouriel Roubini? The NYU economics professor famously called bitcoin the “mother and father of all bubbles” and said its followers are “arrogant” and “clueless.”

I don’t think we’ll see Buffett and Roubini join Mark Mobius in a bitcoin U-turn just yet.