Cryptocurrency has not always found the most welcoming audience among the world’s richest. Billionaires have been some of the biggest critics, with big hitters including Berkshire Hathaway president and CEO Warren Buffett, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon all openly skeptical or totally opposed to digital assets such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
“If you told me you owned all the Bitcoin in the world and offered it to me for $ 25, I wouldn’t accept it,” Buffett, the historic investor and the number 5 richest person on the planet, with an estimated $ 113. million, he said at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting in May.
Gates, meanwhile, said in May that he avoids digital currencies because they are not “adding to society like other investors” and warned of the risk to everyday investors. “If you have less money than Elon, you should probably be careful,” he said before.
However, cryptographic resistance among the three-point club may not be as widespread as many think. A recent survey conducted by Forbes of 65 of the richest people in the world have revealed that almost 30% invest directly or indirectly in cryptocurrencies, a rate that is higher than among non-billionaire investors. A Pew Research study late last year found that 16% of American adults would invest in cryptocurrency at some point, while a NBC News survey of 1,000 Americans published in March found that 20% invested, traded or used cryptocurrencies.
Of the billionaires surveyed, about 18% reported having at least 1% of their fortune in cryptocurrencies. Of that group, most are investing as a small parallel experiment; 80% of crypto investors said they had well under a tenth of their wealth invested in this way, while 3.2% of billionaires surveyed said they had more than half of their fortune poured into cryptography. Another 10% said they did not invest directly in cryptocurrencies, but rather supported cryptocurrency-focused companies. Sam Bankman-Fried, co-founder and CEO of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange and one of the few billionaires who put their names on the anonymous poll, said Forbes which had between 76% and 100% of its $ 20.6 million crypto net worth (almost all of its wealth is wrapped in its stake in FTX and its ownership of FTT, which are FTX tokens).
Bankman-Fried is one of 19 billionaires on our annual list of billionaires around the world published in April who not only support crypto companies, but also make the most of their fortunes with crypto. Some of them, including Coinbase co-founders Brian Armstrong and Fred Ehrsam and Microstrategy co-founder Michael Saylor, have seen their fortunes fall in recent months.
While some remain openly opposed, a growing number of billionaires have delved into alternative currencies, even reversing the previous opposition, in recent years. One of the most famous converts, billionaire investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, joked in 2019 that “I’d rather have bananas than Bitcoin.” It has since developed a diverse portfolio of Bitcoin, Ethereum, non-perishable tokens (NFTs) and more, and continues to publicly support investors, even if prices plummet. “It’s no different than investing in stocks, bonds and other assets. Interest rates are going up, risk assets are going down,” Cuban said. Forbes in an email on Tuesday. “My technological actions worked worse than my crypto.”
Others dipped their toes a little more shyly. John Sobrato, the California-based Sobrato billionaire real estate organization that rents office space to clients like Netflix, said he invested in the fourth cryptocurrency fund of Silicon Valley venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, announced in June, which raised $ 4.5 billion of dollars for cryptocurrency and Web3 companies. It was his way of getting involved in cryptography by avoiding “the brain damage of doing our own due diligence on an asset class that we don’t understand,” Sobrato said.
Omid Malekan, an associate professor at Columbia University Business School who has written several books on the cryptographic industry, said the shift among billionaires could be attributed to a general increase in the acceptance and availability of cryptocurrencies. “You are now seeing more and more traditional financial players, fintechs [get involved] Which makes it easier for people who are in the fence to invest, “Malekan said.
He also argues that billionaires are especially prepared to experiment with cryptocurrencies and have the resources to do so. “I imagine one of the ways you become a billionaire is by having an open mind,” Malekan said. Excluding those like Dimon and Buffett who have made their careers largely through existing banking systems, it is relatively insignificant for a billionaire to throw a few million dollars into crypto, he argues. “They are not so worried about what will happen to the price of Bitcoin next month.”
Still, many billionaires do not sell in cryptocurrencies, not even as an experiment. “I think cryptocurrency is too volatile for investment, and a sensible investment would look for something more stable,” said Jim Thompson, the Hong Kong-based billionaire behind Crown Worldwide, one of the world’s largest private relocation companies.
David Hoffman, the largest real estate developer in Naples, Florida, with an estimated value of $ 1.3 billion, expressed similar concerns, saying he hopes to wake up someday and see the “cryptocurrencies” disappear. “I don’t see the currency ever replacing the dollar,” Hoffman said Forbesadding, “When Jamie Dimon and Warren Buffett did not support cryptography, it fundamentally influenced my decision.”