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Munger: Bitcoin investors celebrate 'Judas Iscariot' at their happy hours

Krystal Hu

Legendary investors Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger have never been fans of bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that once hit $20,000 and became the talk of the family dinner table in late 2017.

With bitcoin’s price having crashed to about one-third of its heyday high, Buffett and Munger joked around about the once red-hot investment during the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders Meeting on Saturday.

Munger told the audience that he was invited to a happy hour by bitcoin investors.

“I wondered what they have been doing in their happy hour, and I finally figured it out. They celebrate the life and work of Judas Iscariot.”

According to Christian history, the apostle Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver. He revealed the identify of Jesus by kissing him on the cheek in front of soldiers who arrested him.

Buffett’s longtime business partner once described the frenzy over bitcoin as “like someone else is trading turds, and you decide ‘I can’t be left out.’”

Buffett also weighed in on the crypto craze, sharing a story about his honeymoon in Las Vegas in 1952, when he found himself surrounded by people who came from thousands of miles away to gamble. “They came to do something that every damn one of them knew was mathematically dumb,” recalled Buffett. “And I told Susie, ‘We're going to make a lot of money.’”

Buffett says bitcoin was reminiscent of that feeling. He sees investing in bitcoin as a gamble based on speculation — and not an investment.

However, Buffett holds a more open attitude toward blockchain, the underlying technology in cryptocurrencies which is increasingly being adopted by major companies in finance, logistics, and tech, including JPMorgan and Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway’s partners in a health care venture.

“We probably are doing it indirectly through a bank,” Buffett said of blockchain. “But no, I wouldn't be the person to be a big leader in blockchain.”

Krystal covers tech and China for Yahoo Finance. Write to her via krystalh@yahoofinance.com or follow her on Twitter.

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