Bitcoin emerged back in January 2009 after the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto began working on the project two years prior. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have since made quite the splash in economies worldwide. Bitcoin has received a hefty backing of powerful supporters, along with numerous skeptics and naysayers.
Those in support believe the blockchain technology that oversees Bitcoin is genius and keeps hands out of the pot when it comes to the people’s money. Those in opposition believe Bitcoin will fuel terrorism and money laundering among other illegal activities. And with the China Exchange halting the exchange of Bitcoin, its value is taking a hit.
All of this considered, Bitcoin continues to have powerful people in its favor — and valiantly against it. Here are the well-known lovers and haters of the famed Bitcoin. Let’s start with the lovers.
1. Bill Gates
The Microsoft co-founder made his Bitcoin support public back in 2014 at the Sibos Conference in Boston. Bill Gates told Entrepreneur, “Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”
Gates has changed his tune, though. In a Reddit AMA in February 2018, he criticized the anonymity of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Such currencies can facilitate money laundering and have been directly linked to deaths, according to Gates.
Next: Is it working? This Virgin mogul weighs in.
2. Richard Branson
Virgin founder and billionaire Richard Branson is a huge fan of the blockchain technology. In terms of whether Branson believes Bitcoin will work, he told Bitcoin.com, “Well, I think it is working. There may be other currencies like it that may be even better. But in the meantime, there’s a big industry around Bitcoin — people have made fortunes off Bitcoin, some have lost money. It is volatile, but people make money off of volatility too.” His Virgin Group company is happy to take Bitcoin in all sectors of its business.
Next: A famous actor and investor has us all listening.
3. Ashton Kutcher
While his heyday on That ’70s Show put Ashton Kutcher on all the ladies’ maps, Kutcher has had his hands in the venture capitalist pot for years now. Co-founder of the venture capitalist fund A-Grade, Kutcher has been very successful with his investments in the likes of Bitcoin, Airbnb, Uber and Spotify.
On Bitcoin, Kutcher has said, “The notion that we could civically monitor each other in an anonymous way actually keeps the anonymity of the Internet. We don’t have to worry about Big Brother, and that same infrastructure that built out Bitcoin could be used in the security industry for mass good.” Can’t help but wonder whether Kelso would be on the same page.
Next: A former Facebook exec explains the importance of staying tuned in.
4. Chamath Palihapitiya
Founder and CEO of venture capital fund Social + Capital and previous member of Facebook’s senior executive team, Chamath Palihapitiya is a leading supporter of Bitcoin. In May 2017, he tweeted, “Reiterating my belief about $BTC. It’s the ultimate insurance policy against autocracy, currency curbs and other forms of value destruction.” And though there’s a lot of hype surrounding the future of Bitcoin’s success with the recent announcement from China, Palihapitiya believes these events are important for sparking interest and attention within the industry.
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5. Al Gore
The former vice president and environmentalist is well known for his stance on climate change, as well as policies surrounding technology. Al Gore has been a longtime proponent of both Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies.
According to Coindesk, Gore said, “When Bitcoin currency is converted from currency into cash, that interface has to remain under some regulatory safeguards. I think the fact that within the Bitcoin universe an algorithm replaces the functions of [the government]…is actually pretty cool.” Gore continues to look forward to the innovators of our time developing new models to the cryptocurrency technologies.
Next: While the lovers pull some heavy weight in the success of Bitcoin’s investments, these haters are eager to see it disappear.
1. Warren Buffett
One of the most highly revered investors of our time, Warren Buffett is not on board for investing in Bitcoin. According to CNBC, the Berkshire Hathaway CEO warned interviewers to “stay away” from Bitcoin, as it is simply “a mirage.” While Buffett recognizes the convenience of the cryptocurrency, he doesn’t find it to be a worthy or secure investment.
Next: A major opponent has some strong words.
2. Jamie Dimon
When it comes to Bitcoin, JPMorgan Chase and Co. CEO Jamie Dimon is easily the most heated. He went as far as to say he would fire employees if he found out they were investing in Bitcoin on grounds of stupidity, according to Bloomberg.
His harsh opinions don’t really come as a huge surprise, considering that his bread and butter lies within the multinational banking of the U.S. dollar. Dimon claims that Bitcoin investments “won’t end well” for investors. He remains firm in his belief that Bitcoin is for murderers and criminals.
Next: Is Bitcoin overpriced?
3. Mohamed A. El-Erian
Chief economic adviser for Allianz, Mohamed A. El-Erian told CNBC the blockchain is a “disruptive technology” that should be priced at “half or a third” of what it is currently valued. El-Erian is a smart guy, so it’s a bit of a chin-scratcher when he explained that the Bitcoin is likely to “blow up” yet the current price would have to assume a “massive adoption,” which simply won’t happen at this price.
Next: This guy thinks Bitcoin is “evil.”
4. Paul Krugman
Esteemed economist and columnist for The New York Times, Paul Krugman is entirely unimpressed with the positive kudos backing Bitcoin, writing that “to be successful, money must be both a medium of exchange and a reasonably stable store of value. And it remains completely unclear why Bitcoin should be a stable store of value.” It frustrates Krugman that he can’t seem to get a straight answer from investors as to how Bitcoin is a “reliable store of value.”
Next: This billionaire doesn’t understand what’s backing Bitcoin.
5. Howard Marks
Billionaire co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital Management, Howard Marks finds Bitcoin to be a commodity rather than a currency, saying that currencies don’t “go up 85 times in a year,” according to CNBC.
Although Marks is open about the fact that he might be “too old and too much of a dinosaur to understand Bitcoin,” he still doesn’t “understand what’s behind Bitcoin.” Marks remains extremely successful in predicting the financial market and how it will behave. But as of now, it might be too early to determine what will happen with Bitcoin’s overall success.