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.
Highlight: "Your vice chairman is getting new social distinction," Munger says. "I've been invited during the gathering to go to a happy hour put together by the bitcoin people. And I tried to figure out what the bitcoin do in their happy hour and I finally figured it out..." pic.twitter.com/BM7FHiKPyf— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) May 4, 2019
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.
Highlight: Buffett on bitcoin: "On my honeymoon in 1952, my bride, 19, and I, 21, stopped in Las Vegas. ... I looked around and saw all of these well-dressed people... they came to to do something that every damn one of them knew was mathematically dumb..." #YFBuffett pic.twitter.com/6Hi5ukbDFr— Yahoo Finance (@YahooFinance) May 4, 2019
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.”