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Munger compares bitcoin to what Oscar Wilde said about fox hunting

Berkshire Hathaway Vice Chairman Charlie Munger once again minced no words in his opinion on bitcoin at the Daily Journal (DJCO) annual meeting on Feb. 24, streamed on Yahoo Finance.

“I don’t think bitcoin is going to end up the medium of exchange for the world,” he said in response to a question about new technology disrupting the banking system. “It’s too volatile...to serve well as a medium of exchange.”

Munger is the executive chairman of the Daily Journal, a technology and publishing company that owns newspapers and owns judicial software.

The reason, Munger said, was that central banks like controlling their own banking system and their own money supplies.

“It’s really kind of an artificial substitute for gold,” he said.

Munger, as has been made clear by decades of running Berkshire Hathaway with Warren Buffett in addition to his position at the Daily Journal, does not like gold.

“Since I never buy gold, I never buy any bitcoin, and I recommend other people follow my practice,” he added.

Bitcoin, Munger said, reminded him of an old Oscar Wilde quote about fox hunting: “the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable.” (The quote is actually: "Fox hunting is the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible," from the play “A Woman of No Importance.”)

Another shareholder asked Munger whether the Daily Journal would follow Tesla’s lead and put bitcoin on the balance sheet. “We will not be following Tesla into bitcoin,” Munger replied flatly.

In the meeting Munger delivered plenty of more burns and digs at cryptocurrency, investment bankers (“they’ll sell shit as long as shit can be sold”) as well as brokers like Robinhood (“dirty way to make money”).

When asked what was more unbelievable, Tesla’s stock price or bitcoin at $50,000, the 97-year-old billionaire quoted the lexicographer Samuel Johnson: “I can’t decide the order of precedence between a flea and a louse, and I feel the same way about those choices.”

These are not the first times Munger — or Buffett — has bashed bitcoin.

Back in 2018, Buffett called it "probably rat poison-squared," and Munger called it a "turd," but also cited similar reasons for not liking gold, the fact that there are better things to invest in. At that time, bitcoin (BTC-USD) was worth $9,800; it is now over $49,000.

“I think every time you buy a nonproductive asset, you’re counting on somebody else, later on, to buy a nonproductive asset, because they think they can sell to somebody for more money,” Buffett said at the 2018 Berkshire annual meeting. “It does come to a bad ending.”

“I think people who are professional traders that are going to trade cryptocurrencies, it’s just disgusting,” Munger added at the time. “It’s like someone else is trading turds and you decide I can’t be left out.”

Ethan Wolff-Mann is a writer at Yahoo Finance focusing on consumer issues, personal finance, retail, airlines, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.