Business Titans Take a Jab at Bitcoin

May 10, 2018

By Jacqueline Corba

Business and tech titans didn't hold back in making their real feelings about cryptocurrency widely known. On Cheddar's Crypto Craze, Jen Wieczner of Fortune discussed the top headlines with Nora Ali and Brad Smith, including news about a new round of funding for the fintech firm Robinhood.

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Gary Cohn slam Bitcoin.

In an interview with Fox Business at Berkshire Hathaway's annual meeting last weekend, Buffett called Bitcoin "rat poison squared."

"This is a little bit more of a sharp-worded barb at Bitcoin than we've heard from Warren Buffett in the past, but he's been no fan of Bitcoin and he's made that no secretー after all he is the most famous stock investor in the world," said Wieczner, a senior writer at Fortune. "This is something that the older generation has always had trouble with is anticipating where we are going next."

Indeed, Bill Gates said he'd invest in Bitcoin only if there was an easy way to short it. That burn prompted Tyler Winklevoss, an early evangelist for cryptocurrency, to challenge Gates on Twitter to "put your money where your mouth is."

Gary Cohn, the former White House Economic Advisor, told CNBC's Bob Pisani, "I'm not a big believer in Bitcoin, I am a believer in blockchain technology."

NYSE and Goldman consider getting into crypto.

Two major institutions are looking to get some skin in the crypto game, according to a recent report in The New York Times. Goldman Sachs may build a team dedicated to trading Bitcoin, which would make it the first Wall Street bank to do so. Also ICE, the parent company of the NYSE, is reportedly building a Bitcoin trading platform. ICE did not comment.

"In order for this to really go mainstream and for the price to take off you need these big institutions," said Wieczner.

Robinhood looks to take crypto trading big time.

The fintech app maker closed $363 million in Series D funding, and it looks to bring cryptocurrency trading nationwide by the end of 2018. Now valued at $5.6 billion, Robinhood is taking on Coinbase to become one of the biggest cryptocurrency trading platforms.

"They still think they can steal a huge part of that market," said Wieczner. "They think its better the more they compete, the better it is for cryptocurrency, and everyone can make money."

For the full interview, click here.