A veteran investor who once called bitcoin a “real fraud” flipped his critical views amidst a gloomy macroeconomic outlook.
Mark Mobius, the founder of Mobius Capital Partners LLP, said in an interview that he would probably buy bitcoin as a protection against the Federal Reserve’s dovish stance on the economy. The emerging markets maven held the cryptocurrency higher in terms of faith, citing people who, despite being small in number, trust it.
“If [bitcoin] continues and grows, then I would probably have to a buyer and be involved in this,” Mobius told Bloomberg.
He added that fiat currencies around the world — be it the US dollar, Chinese Renminbi or the Euro — also function because of people’s faith in it. That makes bitcoin no different than any government-backed asset. At the same time, Mobius expressed his cluelessness about the bitcoin’s actual value, admitting that it would be difficult to estimate how much he should pay for buying one bitcoin.
“Unless it is so widely held and accepted then that’s a different story,” added Mobius.
Then and Now
The statements appeared reminiscent of what the 82-year old financial veteran had said in December 2017, ahead of Bitcoin’s meteoric rise to the $20,000 level. Back in time, Mobius had admitted that the cryptocurrency is faith-driven. But he didn’t have any interest in participating in its economy even if its adoption grows.
— Bloomberg Markets (@markets) December 6, 2017
Bitcoin’s subsequent crash in 2018 strengthened Mobius’ anti-bitcoin views. FN London quoted the 82-year old finance veteran last year saying that bitcoin was, to him, was something that “makes tulips look bad.”
“I think bitcoin is a real fraud, I [really] do,” Mobius told Reuters in 2018. “The first thing I do is ask people, ‘can you explain it to me? Who is running it? Who is controlling it?’ And nobody can.”
But bitcoin, nevertheless, profited from a growing infrastructure and adoption. Upon crashing from $20,000 to $3,126.68 in just 12 months, the cryptocurrency rebounded by more than 275 percent to settle a year-to-date high of $13,868.44. The move uphill closely followed a positive statement about bitcoin issued by Mobius this May. The investor said:
“There’s definitely a desire among people around the world to be able to transfer money easily & confidentially […] so I believe it’s going to be alive and well.”
Gold and Stocks are a Still Better Choice
The Federal Reserve’s dovish stance sent the US yield, which shows rates on bonds of differing maturities, down. The move cemented a grim outlook for the US economy in the long-term. At the same time, the S&P 500 equity market benchmark closed at a 2,995.82 high ahead of the independence day holiday, creating a significant divergence between the bonds and stocks as a whole.
Recognizing that investors might look into bitcoin as a safe haven, Mobius stated the best place to keep money is in either Gold or stocks. He added:
“If you are not getting anything in the bank with these lower rates, it makes sense to have a little gold in your portfolio. And I believe that’s happening in addition to the fact that Russian’s and other central bankers stocking up on gold.”