Television personality and Canadian investor, Kevin O’Leary gave an interview to CNBC’s Squawk Box on Thursday and talked about Bitcoin. Also known as Mr. Wonderful, the Shark Tank star was questioned about whether he had changed his opinion about the world’s first cryptocurrency. Mr. O’Leary had referred to Bitcoin as not being a real currency and he was asked if he had given some thought to investing in it and purchasing more of it. The Shark Tank star said in response that he had been a cryptonian for years. He pulled out his phone and showed his Bitcoin wallet. He said that at that time, all that could be bought was Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Stellar Lumen and Litecoin.
O’Leary said that he had purchased all of them at the time of the last craze and had invested $100, but he said that they had been worth $52.77 now because not all cryptocurrencies work the same. He went on to say that the only reason he was involved in crypto was because it was fun and not because it was an institutional product. He said that the entire crypto market was completely irrelevant for institutional customers, even if Bitcoin were to rise in price by 2,000%.
He reiterated that he does own Bitcoin and enjoyed trading it on weekends, but he said that it wasn’t relevant to financial market and couldn’t be put into a fiduciary product. Clarifying his point, O’Leary said that if Bitcoin were to become a fiduciary product, then it would have to be regulated, which means it could get cut in half or even go to zero. He went on to say that this could result in a class action lawsuit. O’Leary was also questioned about how the professional basketball team, Dallas Mavericks, which is owned by another Shark Tank star Mark Cuban, had begun to offer discounts on merchandise to customers making payments in Bitcoin.
Speaking about it, he said that it was a completely different arena altogether, where people were trying to add legitimacy to Bitcoin and his friend Mark Cuban was just trying to make it more relevant. Cuban had also recently stated that Bitcoin had become more of a religion nowadays rather than a solution to something. O’Leary said that for people who are part of the financial industry, this is not a very big deal. The Shark Tank investor said that financial markets have to deal with regulators and it is only possible to operate within the rules set forth by them.
Thus, when we start glorifying things like Bitcoin, it doesn’t really have much to do with the financial markets. He went on to say that no institutional sovereign fund investors had ever said to index all cryptocurrencies. He asserted that the institutional investors he had spoken to didn’t want to invest in Bitcoin because they were afraid of regulators because one of these days, the regulators would come down hard on the cryptocurrency and people are going to suffer from a hefty loss of capital.