Have you ever heard about Bitcoin? If you’re one of the people who has heard about it just this year, then we can’t blame you. 2017 is the year when the cryptocurrency rose, breaking records and whatnot in the market, causing controversies, and looking for the answer that raised the question: Should I invest in Bitcoin?
Let’s start first with the basic by answering the question what is Bitcoin and how does it work?
Bitcoin was invented as a peer-to-peer system for online payments that doesn’t require a trusted central authority. In other words, it doesn’t control by any government. But since its digital, can’t you just copy and paste it a million times so you become a millionaire? No, and it wasn’t designed to be that way.
The innovation that makes Bitcoin special is that it uses consensus in a massive peer-to-peer network to verify transactions. By then, the payments would be non-reversible, prevention of accounts being frozen, and transaction fees are much lower.
By now, it’s naturally normal to ask “where do Bitcoins come from?” To make it simple and not getting too technical, Bitcoin came from mining. Mining is when users put their computer to work verifying transactions in the peer-to-peer network mentioned earlier. What is the reward for this work? Why, new Bitcoins, of course!
However, these Bitcoins that are rewarded are proportional to the amount of computing power they donate to the network.
Bitcoin was designed as an alternative to fiat money that is secure, anonymous, and most of all, beyond the control of the state. The fact that it’s not traceable and vulnerable to hacking had raised many controversies since its development. Back then, and probably still now, the mode of payment that was used for drugs, guns, and crime was the cryptocurrency. But that’s not we are here about.
We are here to answer the question if it’s a good idea to invest in Bitcoin. And we could help you answer this question through the thoughts and opinions who are the top players in investing.
Mark Cuban, the billionaire and the most successful investor of all time, has only 1 rule when investing in Bitcoin, only if you’ve got cash to spare.
Cuban owns Bitcoin himself, with another cryptocurrency, Ethereum. But with a net worth of $3.3 billion, and assets like the NBA team Dallas Mavericks, of course, he can afford to take risks.
“It’s still very much a gamble,” said Cuban in an interview. “It could go to $15,000 or zero and maybe both on the same day.”
“If it’s money you need to depend on and can’t afford to lose, don’t do it,” Cuban said. “If you have money you can gamble with, then it’s worth taking a shot.”
He also said that it’s ok to invest up to 10% of your savings in high-risk investments. You’ve just “got to pretend you’ve already lost your money.” It’s like throwing “the Hail Mary.”
“If you’re stupid enough to buy it, you’ll pay the price for it one day,” said JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon in a conference.
Dimon declared Bitcoin as a “fraud” and said that he would fire any trader known to be trading the cryptocurrency. “It’s not just a real thing, eventually it will be closed,” according to Dimon.
In a separate conference, Dimon said Bitcoin mania is reminiscent of the tulip bulb craze in the 17th century.
“It’s worse than tulip bulbs. It won’t end well. Someone is going to get killed,” he said. “Currencies have legal support. It will blow up.”
Microsoft co-found Bill Gates expressed his view on Bitcoin and it was mostly positive. He said, “Bitcoin is a technological tour de force.”
One of his focal points has been in Africa, a place where people are grossly under banked, which makes it fit for digital currencies such as Bitcoin.
“Someone who’s interested in finance can help drive innovations such as a digital currency that reduce transaction costs, so that poor people can borrow at 5% a year instead of 15%,” said the richest man in the world.
He also said in a separate conference, “Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. 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.”
Legendary investor and index fund revolutionary Jack Bogle isn’t impressed with Bitcoin. He has cautioned investors against buying up the crytpocurrency.
At a Council on Foreign Relations event, he told the audience, “Avoid Bitcoin like the plague. Did I make myself clear?”
“You know bonds have an interest coupon, stocks have earnings and dividends, gold has nothing,” he explained. “There is nothing to support Bitcoin except the hope that you will sell it to someone for more than you paid for it.”
According to Bogle, it’s “crazy” for anyone to invest in the digital asset. “Bitcoin may well go to $20,000 but won’t prove I’m wrong. When it gets back to $100, we’ll talk.”
As the former Vice President of the United States and board member of Google, he is a big fan of Bitcoin, according to him. As he is uniquely in touch with digital concepts and an expert on technology policy, it gives him some understanding of new paradigms like Bitcoin.
“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.”
A new era began when CBOE Global Markets launched Bitcoin futures trading for the first time. While Bitcoin captured the imagination of the investment community, the greatest and one of the most famous investors said that Bitcoin is simply a textbook bubble.
In 2014, Warren Buffet praised the cryptocurrency as an effective way of transferring money. “Bitcoin is exciting because it shows how cheap it can be. 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.”
However, he said that it was a terrible investment.
“Stay away from it,” the Oracle of Omaha said. “It’s a mirage basically. The idea that it has some huge intrinsic value is just a joke, in my view.”
At the time, Bitcoin had a price of about $640. Now that it’s trading above $16,000, Buffet is still sticking with his opinion.
When he was asked at a Q&A session in October, he answered that the cryptocurrency is a “real bubble.”
“You can’t value Bitcoin because it’s not a value-producing asset.”
Everyone has an opinion about Bitcoin. While some are with it, and some are against it, at the end of the day, it’s all up to you if you want to invest in it or not. If you consider investing in Bitcoin, you have to be sure and know the risk you are about to get into. Research before spending on it and plan your strategies before buying.
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