Shark Tank star Kevin Oâ€™Leary, also known as Mr. Wonderful, has warned about regulators coming down hard on bitcoin. In addition, he says that â€œeven if bitcoin were to go up another 2,000%, itâ€™s completely irrelevant to institutional clients.â€
Kevin Oâ€™Leary Warns of Brutal Bitcoin Regulation, Says Bitcoin Is Not an Institutional Product
Canadian investor and television personality Kevin Oâ€™Leary talked about bitcoin in an interview on Thursday with CNBCâ€™s Squawk Box.
Oâ€™Leary was asked whether he had changed his mind about bitcoin from thinking that it was â€œnot a real currencyâ€ to investing in it and possibly buying more. â€œLet me be clear â€¦ Iâ€™ve been a cryptonian for years,â€ the Shark Tank star replied.
Whipping out his phone, he said, â€œhere is my bitcoin wallet. At the time, all you can get was ethereum, XRP, bitcoin, litecoin, stellar lumen, and bitcoin [cash]. I bought this at the last craze. I put $100 to work here. This morning it is worth $52.77 because not all cryptocurrencies are the same, clearly.â€ He elaborated:
Reiterating that he owns bitcoin, Oâ€™Leary noted, â€œI ride with it on the weekends,â€ but emphasized that â€œyou canâ€™t put this into a fiduciary product â€¦ itâ€™s irrelevant to financial markets.â€
He clarified that â€œThe real problem is if you get involved in this as a fiduciary, and it gets regulated, and it gets cut in half or goes to zero, who knows what, you have never seen the mother of class action lawsuits thatâ€™s coming from that one.â€
Oâ€™Leary was asked to comment on how the Dallas Mavericks, the professional basketball team owned by his fellow Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, recently began to offer merchandise discounts to customers paying with bitcoin. â€œThatâ€™s another arena â€¦ where you can see legitimacy to bitcoin from people like Mark Cuban, your buddy, whoâ€™s trying to make this into a more relevant part of peopleâ€™s lives,â€ said the CNBC host. Cuban also recently said bitcoin was more of a religion than a solution to anything.
â€œI know Mark quite well, he also was quoted saying he thinks bananas are bigger common currency and he is probably right,â€ Oâ€™Leary said, adding:
The Shark Tank investor proceeded to detail that â€œThe financial markets deal with regulators, and you can only operate within the confines of those rules, and so when we glorify something like this [bitcoin], it really has nothing to do with the financial markets that make the whole world work. And no institutional sovereign fund investors Iâ€™ve ever talked to has said to me go index all of the cryptocurrencies for me.â€
Asserting that the institutional investors he talked to do not want to own bitcoin because â€œthey fear the regulator,â€ Oâ€™Leary warned:
Meanwhile, a growing number of institutional investors are investing in bitcoin. Bitgo recently said that it is seeing â€œunprecedented institutional interestâ€ and Skybridge Capital has launched a bitcoin fund, expecting an â€œavalanche of institutional investors.â€ More banks have also started offering crypto services to institutional clients, such as Standard Chartered Bank. In terms of regulation, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) recently proposed new rules affecting cryptocurrency wallets.
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