While giving a recent keynote address for Zoom’s 2023 Zoomtopia Conference, the Berkshire vice president said Bitcoin is the “stupidest investment I ever saw.”
He didn’t stop there, though. Charlie Munger went on to say that most cryptocurrencies aren’t just unprofitable, but he thinks bagholders will eventually lose all their money:
“Don’t get me started on Bitcoins. Most of those investments are going to zero.”
Now, he’s not entirely wrong on that second count.
Charlie Munger: Most Cryptos Are ‘Going to Zero’
Referring to all cryptos as “Bitcoins,” Munger is correct that most cryptocurrencies will likely go to zero. At least so far, that has historically been true of cryptocurrency projects.
There have been thousands of new crypto projects created since the genesis of Bitcoin and its decentralized computing cousin, Ethereum.
The track record is most new crypto projects fail. In fact, 80% of new altcoins fail within a year.
Even Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse says 99% of cryptos will probably go to zero.
But let’s put these numbers in context. That’s not unlike the failure rate for new restaurants or new businesses in any segment. Just ask any venture capitalist or angel investor.
That doesn’t mean the industry is completely worthless or stupid.
It just shows how difficult it is to get a new business profitable and that picking the winners is easier said than done, even for knowledgeable experts like VCs and angels.
But the new restaurants, tech startups, and blockchain projects that do succeed – succeed so greatly that their profits pay for the losses capitalists incur on their failing investments.
Is Bitcoin Really the Stupidest Investment Munger ever saw?
Now, as for Bitcoin, it certainly isn’t the stupidest investment Charlie Munger ever saw. Even though the longtime Berkshire Hathaway vice president was using hyperbole, he’s seen some worse investments.
Like in 2019 when Berkshire Hathaway lost $4.5 billion in a single day on its 2015 investment in Kraft Heinz.
To his credit, Warren Buffett was pretty quick to fess up to overpaying for the acquisition.
But if the Berkshire dons are willing to buy into a high-flying stock like 2015 Kraft Heinz to own some of the cheese and ketchup business, what’s so stupid about the price volatility of a borderless, deflationary, digital currency secured by a peer-to-peer network?