Warren Buffett Says He Wouldn't Pay $25 for All the Bitcoin in the World

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  • Buffett's main objection to Bitcoin is that it doesn't produce anything.
  • Buffett also says the U.S. government will never allow another form of money to replace the dollar.

The Oracle of Omaha hasn't changed his views on cryptocurrency.

Warren Buffett has long been skeptical about Bitcoin (BTC), but in recent years he's mostly kept his views to himself. However, at this year's Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting, the Oracle of Omaha explained his objections in more detail. He said he wouldn't buy Bitcoin, even at a fraction of the price and that he didn't see how the government would allow anything to replace the dollar.

Buffett's main Bitcoin objections

Buffett believes that in order to have value, assets need to deliver something to somebody. This has always been his main concern when it comes to Bitcoin. As he said at the shareholder meeting, "Whether it goes up or down in the next year, or five years, or 10 years, I don't know. But one thing I'm pretty sure of is that it doesn't multiply, it doesn't produce anything."

Here are the issues he raised:

1. It doesn't do anything

The market cap of Bitcoin is currently around $740 billion, but Buffett says he wouldn't buy it -- even if at a fraction of that value. "If you told me you owned all of the Bitcoin in the world and you offered it to me for $25, I wouldn't take it because what would I do with it," he said. "It isn't going to do anything," he added. Buffett likes assets that generate income, and he says cryptocurrency doesn't do that.

Unlike property, which generates rent or farms that produce food, the billionaire investor points out that Bitcoin is an unproductive asset. He told the audience that the difference between productive assets and non-productive assets is that the latter depends on someone paying more than the last guy paid.

2. There's only one currency

Buffett also pointed out that, "There's only one currency." He said you can come up with all kinds of other types of coin but the preferred form of money is the U.S. dollar. Indeed, Buffett said that anyone who thinks the U.S. will let another currency replace theirs is "out of their mind."

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This echoes another investment guru's thoughts on Bitcoin. Ray Dalio is much less skeptical than Buffett, and recognizes some of the potential of cryptocurrency. But he worries the government won't allow Bitcoin or gold to become a better choice. "I suspect that Bitcoin’s biggest risk is being successful, because if it’s successful, the government will try to kill it and they have a lot of power to succeed," he wrote in a blog post.

Bottom line

Warren Buffett is one of the most successful investors of all time, so it's worth listening to and understanding his opinions. But bear in mind there are also other investment gurus who have become Bitcoin evangelists.

Some believe Bitcoin could herald a monetary revolution and change the way we use money. Others see it as a form of digital gold, or a potential hedge against inflation. If you think their ideas have merit, take time to research the top crypto and blockchain technology. Look at your own financial situation and be honest about your attitude toward risk.

If you don't have much cash to spare, don't have time to understand how blockchain works, or don't want a high-risk asset, you may follow Warren Buffett and avoid crypto. But if you see long-term potential, you might decide to buy a small amount of Bitcoin. If you do, use a top crypto exchange, step carefully, and only invest money you can afford to lose. There's a lot we don't know about how this industry will evolve, particularly when or whether the government will apply the brakes.

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