Over the weekend at the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting, Warren Buffett double-downed on his critical stance of the cryptocurrency craze. Before that, he referred to Bitcoin as “probably rat poison squared.”
Charlie Munger also joined Buffet in his strong disdain for digital currency, citing it as a “noxious poison”.
The two investing giants argue that the changing tide on crypto shouldn’t be taken as evidence that it is something of real value. The reason, according to Buffet, is that it’s not a productive asset – it doesn’t produce anything tangible, anything real.
“It’s got magic to it”, says Buffet. Magicians, we know from childhood, are entertaining, but at the end of the day, it’s all just tricks up their sleeve: nothing they do is real. Is the same true of crypto?
Wherever you stand on bitcoin or bunnies in hats, it would be foolish to completely discard the opinion of these two finance giants. There’s a psychology of leadership and deep experience at play that should give us pause for thought and, perhaps, a reality check.
They stand on their values and principles
On Saturday, Munger commented, “It’s evil because it undermines the Federal Reserve System.” It’s easy to criticize the fed and central banks in the U.S., but at the end of the day, it is possible that a destabilization of the FRS at the hand of crypto could mean chaos in the markets. Banks, like them or not, create a functioning financial system that protects savers and borrowers.
Part of the reason why Munger and Buffett aren’t on board with crypto is because they see the broader negative impact it could have on the capital markets and your average person and investor relying on those systems. They stand behind this utilitarian ethic.
They are immune to bandwagon effects of herd psychology
Buffett and Munger are sticking to their guns. They recognize that much of the rise of crypto is the result of a psychological game. And when it’s human beings who are involved in making the moves, our decision-making is highly flawed.
Even as public perception about Bitcoin shifts in the positive direction, Buffet and Munger are unwavering. Being in the game for as long they have, they’re immune to the biases and cognitive distortions that so easily sway much of other people’s investing-related decisions.
They have decades of experience with a razor-sharp intuition
According to Gerd Gigerenzer, psychologist and behavioral economist, experts have gut hunches that allow them to be “fast and frugal” in their adaptive decision making, which comes from years of experience. And, when it comes to experience, Buffett and Munger have oodles of it
You may watch a YouTube video of a so-called investing expert. Or you may talk to your friend who “made it rich” on day trading different cryptocurrencies. But their experience (and relative “expertise”) pales in comparison to real experts like Buffett and Munger with their 70 years plus in finance and investing. To follow their lead – and their intuitive feel – on anything related to investing generally or crypto specifically is probably a wise move.