These 3 Billionaires Changed Their Minds on Bitcoin. Should You?

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KEY POINTS

  • Mark Cuban used to think bananas were better than Bitcoin, but now he sees it as money 2.0.
  • Ray Dalio says Bitcoin is no longer a speculative asset, but he's still cautious.
  • Kevin O'Leary is excited about the potential for green Bitcoin mining.


Get to know some of the financial gurus who've switched from Bitcoin critics to believers.

There are many things we don't know about what the future holds for Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency. But one thing's for sure: The sprawling industry has attracted its share of fierce critics and loyal fans and will continue to provoke extreme reactions for a while.

But what of the people who changed their minds? According to research by crypto exchange Gemini, over 40% of crypto owners worldwide got started in 2021 -- which is just one indication of the evolving attitudes toward crypto. Let’s take a look at three billionaires who changed their minds on Bitcoin.

1. Mark Cuban

The Shark Tank judge and Dallas Mavericks owner is now a huge cryptocurrency convert. He said recently that 80% of his non-Shark Tank investments are in and around crypto. He believes crypto can disrupt the way that many traditional companies operate, and he's particularly excited about the potential of smart contracts.

But he hasn't always been so bullish on blockchain. In a 2019 YouTube video, Cuban said he'd rather have bananas than Bitcoin. "I'd rather have bananas," he said. "I can eat bananas. Crypto not so much." Now he believes Bitcoin is digital gold and crypto is money 2.0.

2. Ray Dalio

Dalio's views on crypto are quite nuanced, but he's certainly moved from being uncertain about Bitcoin to being a Bitcoin investor, albeit an uncertain one. Back in 2020, the Co-Chairman & Co-Chief Investment Officer of Bridgewater asset management firm tweeted that he thought he might be missing something about Bitcoin. He raised concerns that it doesn't make a great medium of exchange, is too volatile to act as a good store of wealth, and would likely be outlawed by governments if it becomes too successful.

Fast forward today. Not only are there rumors that Bridgewater will launch a crypto fund, but Dalio also says he owns a small amount of Bitcoin. However, he says, "Bitcoin looks like a long-duration option on a highly unknown future that I could put an amount of money in that I wouldn’t mind losing about 80% of."

Among other things, Dalio recognizes that it's an "amazing accomplishment" to create a new type of digital money that's worked for 10 years. He also thinks Bitcoin has crossed the line from a speculative idea to something that could have value. But he's still concerned about cyber risks and government intervention.

3. Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O'Leary is another Shark Tank judge who's become a crypto fan. The man who called Bitcoin a "giant nothing burger" in early 2021 has now backed -- and even given his nickname to -- a crypto app called WonderFi that aims to make decentralized finance accessible to all. He's also become an official ambassador for the FTX cryptocurrency exchange.

O'Leary was initially concerned about the regulatory environment and Bitcoin's environmental impact. His native Canada relaxed restrictions on Bitcoin, which eased some of the prolific investor's concerns. He also took positions in clean Bitcoin mining companies so he could be confident he only owns sustainably-mined coins. These two factors combined contributed to his turnaround. He now argues that green Bitcoin mining is a huge investment opportunity.

Should you buy Bitcoin?

These aren't the only billionaires who've changed their stances on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. But these three highlight some of the wide-ranging concerns and viewpoints about what is still a relatively new asset class. If you're considering buying Bitcoin, it's good to understand what drives the skeptics, the believers, and everything in between. Then you can make up your own mind about what's right for you.

As Dalio points out, it is a high-risk asset that could produce huge gains, but also could lose a lot of its value. One of the big unknowns is how increased regulation will impact crypto's development. Various countries including the U.S. are inching toward clearer regulatory frameworks, but the details are still unclear.

The high levels of risk is why investing in cryptocurrency is as much about your individual financial situation as it is about your belief about its potential. The golden rule is to only invest money you can afford to lose. That way if the market crashes, it won't be financially devastating. It's also important to prioritize other financial goals ahead of crypto investments. If you're paying down debt or building up an emergency fund, take care of these financial bases first. Once you're on top of them, you can see how crypto might fit into your wider investment planning.

It's interesting to see how some of these financial gurus' opinions have evolved. If nothing else, they highlight that there's no right or wrong decision, beyond treading carefully and doing your research.

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