The collapse of cryptocurrencies deepened the rift between its promoters and critics . The value of bitcoin, the most popular of all, fell below US $ 30,000, a far cry from the almost US $ 69,000 it had reached in November last year. The trend seems to confirm legendary investor Warren Buffett’s harsh views on cryptocurrencies. Days ago, the 91-year-old financier maintained that he “would not pay $25 for all the bitcoins in the world. “His counterpart is Elon Musk, whose vision is the exact opposite of Buffett’s.
Both billionaires express a much deeper and more widespread antinomy in the nature of crypto . Addressing the Berkshire Hathawa fund’s annual shareholders’ meeting last weekend, Buffett once again asserted that bitcoin is “worthless,” that it’s not a productive asset, and that its price depends on what people are buying . willing to pay. “Whether it goes up or down in the next year, or in five or 10 years, I don’t know. The only thing I’m pretty sure of is that it doesn’t produce anything,” he said.
Despite the unfavorable context, the CEO of Tesla and Space X reiterated his support for Dogecoin, a crypto based on a digital meme – a joke – which allowed him to cut some of his losses. The one who answered Buffett directly was Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal with Musk. The libertarian investor considered him the “number one enemy” of bitcoin and called him part of a “financial gerontocracy” and a “sociopathic grandfather”.
The inelegant reference to Buffett is just a hint of the heated debate around crypto that involves specialists, techies, investment funds, and many regulatory authorities. Buffett’s logic about bitcoin and ethereum, among others, “have no value” and that “you can’t do anything with them except sell them to someone else.” Without saying so, he expressed what many believe: that it is just a speculative bubble. Those who buy bitcoins only hope that its price will rise.
Musk, on the contrary, maintains that cryptocurrencies are a store of value and that in the future they could be a safe and reliable currency. Last year, he announced twice that Teslas could be paid for in bitcoin, something that never happened. Nothing surprising. Musk, owner of the largest fortune on the planet (US $ 232,000 million, according to Forbes), signed an agreement to buy Twitter for US $ 44,000 million and days later he put the operation on hold.
The crack also exists in Argentina. The discussions are as heated when bitcoin goes up and when it goes down, in moments of euphoria and in moments of panic, like the current one. “ There are many queries and the losses scared many people ”, says Matías Bari, CEO of Satoshi Tango, a buying and selling platform. The businessman adds that there is a lot of confusion regarding the collapse of Terra Luna , a cryptocurrency that in a few hours lost almost all its value. “These things are nervous, especially for those who don’t understand the subject,” says Bari.
“I do not like to make firewood from the fallen tree, but what is happening reveals the lack of fundamentals of bitcoin , that it is a speculative market and that this is not for the great investor world ,” explains Diego Martínez Burzaco, from Inviu, the broker Banco Galicia online. The expert recalls that abrupt ups and downs have been common for at least 10 years and recommends savers to be very careful. “ We are not seeing the great financial revolution that many predicted . I am standing more on the side of Buffett than of Musk”, concluded the specialist.
In Argentina there are about 15 exchanges (trading platforms), including Ripio, Satoshi Tango, ArgenBTC, Bitso and Decrypto. The operation of cryptocurrencies, especially their lack of support from the State, is in the sights of the Central Bank, the CNV (National Securities Commission) and also the AFIP. Recently, the tax authority established a 15% tax on crypto earnings.
There are currently 19,439 cryptos and new ones are added every day. In theory, it is a market with almost no regulations and many countries, including the United States and Europe, have it in their sights. Argentina is not on the sidelines. Without going any further, 10 days ago the BCRA prevented two local banks (Galicia and Brubank) from offering their clients the possibility of buying cryptocurrencies.