There’s plenty of doubt and belief that we all have surrounding cryptocurrency- whether it’s Bitcoin, Monero, Polkadot, Solana, Ripple, Binance Coin, Chainlink, or Ethereum. If only there were several famous figures that have commented on Bitcoin and the blockchain movement- oh wait, nearly everyone has said their piece. We’ll look at 5 bullish and 5 bearish quotes from public figures and analyze. Let’s start with the good news first:
The 5 Best Positive Quotes About Crypto
“Bitcoin is a technological tour de force.” Bill Gates
For those who are lesser-read like me, ‘tour de force’ is described by Google as “an impressive performance or achievement that has been accomplished or managed with great skill.” Obviously, Bill Gates needs no introduction. I agree with Bill that the concept of a decentralized ledger is indeed an extremely clever idea. Gates has spent plenty of his time thinking about technologies that can change the world. If the father of modern computer technology and programming is on board with something like Bitcoin, it’s a sign that maybe you should be too.
“Cryptocurrency will do to banks what email did to the postal industry.” Rick Falkvinge, founder of the Swedish Pirate Party
Wait, a major OECD country has a political party called the pirate party? Sweet. Anyway, there’s a good analogy here that I think is fairly accurate. To be clear, the future will be multi-chain (no one coin will rule them all), and blockchain technology will coexist with fiat currency- at least, this is the most likely outcome. Simply put, transactions, record-keeping, and middlemen have not kept pace with the digital transformation of the last 30 years- and blockchain is here to fix that. Banks will have their place, and so will private currencies due to their efficiency, speed, and ease of use (you don’t need an ID or a birth certificate to get a Bitcoin wallet). Notice that email did not eradicate the postal industry, which is still extremely important. But now there are multiple mediums to achieve desired outcomes. The banking industry will inevitably shrink- especially wire transfer services like Western Union who charge astonishing rates for remittances.
“Bitcoin is a remarkable cryptographic achievement… The ability to create something which is not duplicable in the digital world has enormous value…Lot’s of people will build businesses on top of that.” Eric Schmidt, former long-time CEO of Google
Schmidt helped transform Google from a small search engine company to the $2 trillion dollar monopolistic behemoth that it is today. He makes a good point about being able to create something in the digital universe (the ‘metaverse’) that cannot be duplicated. If you think about it, there are several things in the physical world that have these same properties of being unique and valuable- the Mona Lisa, the Great Wall, the Christ the Redeemer statue- but having digital assets that cannot be duplicated adds an entire layer of utility. Transfer of ownership can be instantaneous and immutable. For me, the idea of NFTs is still simmering in my brain, and I’m somewhat unconvinced of their value. But I like what Schmidt says about businesses being built on blockchain technology. I think some of blockchain’s greatest use cases have yet to be discovered- much like how streaming, cloud computing, and Zoom were undiscovered/not widespread in the 1990’s with the internet boom.
“The Federal Reserve simply does not have authority to supervise or regulate Bitcoin in any way.” Janet Yellen, US Treasury Secretary
We have confirmation here from one of the utmost authority figures in finance that Bitcoin cannot be interfered with by one of the world’s greatest financial institutions. This credits the fact that blockchain technology and cryptos in general are extremely economically expensive to meddle with.
“At its core, bitcoin is a smart currency, designed by very forward-thinking engineers. It eliminates the need for banks, gets rid of credit card fees, currency exchange fees, money transfer fees, and reduces the need for lawyers in transitions… all good things.” Peter Diamandis, Technologist & founder of the X-Prize
Not much need to explain this caption away- just that it clearly articulates some of the clear value-adds of blockchain technology.
The 5 Worst Negative Quotes About Crypto
“It’s not a durable means of exchange, and it’s not a store of value. It’s rat poison squared.” Warren Buffett
Ouch. Buffett is one of my financial idols- there is so much good stuff that he says- he’s essentially a master of taking complex financial concepts and boiling them down into sayings that make a lot of sense. For instance, one of my favorite quotes of his is “whether it’s socks or stocks, I like to buy things on sale.” It basically outlines the fact that value and price are two different things no matter what you’re buying. Buffett believes that Bitcoin proliferates off of the greater fool theory- that the only reason people buy it is because they believe the next person will pay more- and that next person believes there is another that will pay more on top of that. If it makes you feel any better, Buffett believes that gold is completely useless- that “it doesn’t do anything except for sit there and look at you.” It helps to keep Buffett’s approach to investing in mind- that he sees the value of anything as the future of cashflows that that thing can produce. He must’ve missed the fact that crypto can be staked or lent to get some solid returns.
“The whole damned development [Bitcoin] is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization.” Charlie Munger
For those unfamiliar, Munger is Buffett’s right hand man and co-operator of Berkshire Hathaway. Munger stated he’s upset by the fact that crypto seems to be a vehicle for extortionists and kidnappers. Further, he says he doesn’t invest in anything that he doesn’t understand, and it is true that the gross majority of people, and even most who claim to know how blockchain works, actually don’t know how it works.
“What value has cryptocurrency been able to add? No one has been able to explain that to me.” Steve Eisman
Steve Eisman was one of the main institutional investors who shorted the Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) that helped blow up the world financial markets in 2007-2008, and is one of the main characters in Michael Lewis’ The Big Short, a book and Oscar-winning movie. Side note- I fucking love this book and have read it twice, and will read any Michael Lewis book, even if it was an 800-page history of the stapler. Anyway, Steve Eisman probably doesn’t hang around people who get the value-add of cryptocurrency. What is that value-add? Faster, decentralized, more efficient, immutable record keeping that’s on par with technology that we have today. Go read a little bit, Steve!
“It’s [Bitcoin] gold, but for nerds.” Stephen Colbert
We’ll take that one to the bank, Steve. Especially since each of the $2 trillion dollar companies in existence today (Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon) were founded by nerds and now they and anyone who were early investors and employees in their companies are flying in their private jets for vacations in the South Pacific. Real talk though, Bitcoin is indeed comparable to gold- it’s one of those things that stand alone has no intrinsic utility but is valuable because people decide it’s valuable. Bitcoin is also far more secure than gold given that it’s part of an immutable ledger that is extremely economically expensive to manipulate. Sure, it consumes the electric footprint of Norway every year, but it’s also not the subject of civil war conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Bitcoin is evil. Usually after 10 years, technology finds its use case and starts being part of society. Bitcoin hasn’t done that yet.” Paul Krugman, Nobel-prize winning economist
Paul Krugman is a highly quotable celebrity economist who’s served under countless presidential administrations. There’s definitely some validity to what Paul’s saying here- why haven’t we seen more ubiquity given all of the revolutionary claims crypto makes? For me the answer is this: Switching costs. The 500 year-old institution of centralized finance and its pairing with the nation-state is deep in our DNA. Countries aren’t just going to willy-nilly give up their power to control interest rates and monetary supply. Also, Paul Krugman is wrong about the whole it takes 10 years thing. By the time the Dotcom Boom rolled around in 1999, the internet was already a 30 year old technology, and by the time cloud computing, social media, and streaming became widespread (recently) the internet was 40-50 years old. By the way- Krugman said the same thing about the internet in the 90’s (that it’s dumb.) Why don’t these people ever get held accountable for the dumb stuff they say? Why are 70% of the world’s governments researching blockchain tech for a digital currency? I think we’re going to see a paradigm shift unfold.
Everyone has an opinion
If you’re a crypto believer like me, get ready for all of the FUD, the doubts from your friends and family, and the doubts in between your ears. Most importantly, be patient and stay stoic. Almost everyone who’s worth tens or hundreds of millions of dollars (that made it themselves) have these traits to some degree- it’s not an accident. Always make allowance for the doubts of others and give those ideas a good look. Don’t siphon yourself off into echo chambers of crypto maniacs or ardent crypto deniers. I want to mention that during my research for this article, I found a far easier time finding quotes that were overwhelmingly positive about blockchain technology. If you’ve read this blog at all you know where I stand- I believe crypto is going to do some amazing things including banking the unbanked, combating disinformation, and reducing fees charged by middlemen that are no longer necessary but have powerful lobbies to protect their interests. In order to overcome all of the obstacles and switching costs, a new technology has to be at least 10 times better than the existing technology- and blockchain has that covered, because it’s 100 times better.