Currently, when crypto believers generalize every Wall Street banker to be a Bitcoin critic, a celebrated hedge fund manager and former Goldman Sachs executive changed his perception.
Mike Novogratz is a now a name beyond the mainstream finance, and perhaps among the only consistent voices speaking in favor of bitcoin even after its 80 percent-plus drop this year. The 54-year old financial veteran sat before Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker recently to discuss how the crypto market crash impacted their ventures and how he remains confident about crypto’s long-term potential.
Novogratz admitted being on the losing side, stating that his cryptocurrency merchant bank, dubbed Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd, brought $136 million in losses to its investors when he was raising funds for it. Nevertheless, the crypto crash couldn’t put Galaxy beneath the grounds, and the project was still on its way to – at least – break-even in 2019, he explained.
“We’re not nervous; we’re frustrated that our investors have lost money. We’ve got plenty of cash to run the business for a long time. I keep telling my guys we’re a surfer getting ourselves in shape for when the next wave comes, and when the wave comes we’d better be the Laird Hamilton of crypto.”
Digital Gold in Making
Analysts have continuously argued whether or not bitcoin has a use-case in the mainstream. A majority of them believes that the digital asset’s lower adoption make it an overvalued bubble similar to the infamous Tulipmania from the Dutch Golden age. Investors have entered bitcoin markets on a promise of getting rich quickly, and it is no more stable than a pyramid scheme, i.e., it is all horns but no product.
Novogratz, on the other hand, interpreted bitcoin as a digital gold in the making, counterarguing that it is one of the only crypto assets that “gets to be a legal pyramid scheme.” Because, to him, it is the belief that denotes value to a store of value- nothing more, nothing less.
“All the gold ever mined in the history of the world fits in an Olympic-size swimming pool,” reasoned Novogratz. “You’re out of your mind to think that pool’s worth $8 trillion. But it is because we say it is.”
As a metal, a store of value asset like gold does have plenty of use cases. Most notably, it is a good reflector of electromagnetic radiation such as radio and infrared rays, as well as visible light. Therefore, gold makes an ideal metal when it comes to protecting artificial satellites, astronauts’ helmets and in electronic warfare planes.
But, in reality, only about 17% of the mined gold gets used in industrial applications – minus jewelry – while the rest gets stored inside vaults.
That being said, the value of gold bullion itself is 83% speculation and 17% use case. Bitcoin, according to Novogratz, strictly possesses such characteristics.
“The fact that David Swensen [Yale University’s chief investment officer] put an investment into Bitcoin, with his reputation on the line, his endowment on the line, tells you something. Some of the smartest people in the investing world think it’s a store of value,” Novogratz asserted.