Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s right-hand man, Bitcoin Skeptic, and vice chairman of multinational conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, has passed away at the age of 99.
Berkshire announced Tuesday that Munger died peacefully at a California hospital just over a month before he would have turned 100 on Jan. 1, 2024.
Charlie Munger’s Bumpy History With Bitcoin
Charlie Munger left no doubt that he was no fan of Bitcoin despite the leading cryptocurrency rapidly gaining acceptance on Wall Street and beyond as a respectable and investable asset.
“I think it’s rat poison,” Munger infamously declared back in 2013, when Bitcoin was valued at around $160. When he was asked to reconsider his remarks five years later, when the benchmark cryptocurrency was trading for roughly $8,000, the Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman summarily posited, “So it’s more expensive rat poison.”
In 2018, Munger praised China for coming down hard on Bitcoin.
“It’s stupid because it’s very likely to go to zero; it’s evil because it undermines the Federal Reserve system… and third, it makes us look foolish compared to the communist leader in China,” the billionaire said. “[Xi Jinping] was smart enough to ban Bitcoin in China… we are a lot dumber.”
The Chinese government, in 2021, introduced much harsher measures against crypto assets, banning trading and prohibiting financial institutions from offering any crypto-related services, while also tightening its crackdown on the mining sector.
Munger still hated Bitcoin in 2022, comparing it to a venereal disease and wishing the asset had “never been invented. Earlier this year, the 99-year-old veteran investor doubled down on his Bitcoin scepticism, comparing it to gambling contracts. Munger also called for the United States to follow in China’s footsteps and ban cryptocurrencies.
While Munger’s verbal attacks often rubbed crypto enthusiasts the wrong way, he will be remembered by many for his success in the financial markets. Alongside his partner Warren Buffett, the duo transformed a struggling New England textile mill into the astoundingly successful investment company Berkshire Hathaway.
“Berkshire Hathaway could not have been built to its present status without Charlie’s inspiration, wisdom, and participation,” Buffett said in a statement.
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