One of the most recognizable figures in investing has had a change of heart in his opinion towards Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
Mark Mobius, cofounder of Mobius Capital Partners, recently spoke in a Bloomberg podcast where he claimed that Bitcoin will be “alive and well” into the future. Despite his current positive attitude towards Bitcoin, Mobius delivered a scathing critique of BTC in May 2018, when he called the currency a fraud.
Now, with the price of Bitcoin achieving relative highs and plotting a scorching path of price gains, the long-time investors has come to believe that cryptocurrency will offer utility to consumers not currently provided through fiat,
“There’s definitely a desire among people around the world to be able to transfer money easily and confidentially. I believe bitcoin and other currencies of that type are going to be alive and well.”
While Mobius may concede a future that includes Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, he has yet to invest personally in any of the digital assets. Mobius told Bloomberg,
“Whether I would invest in it is not a question. You have incredible volatility and, at the end of the day, you can’t chase one individual group or one organization that will keep track of what is going on.”
The 82 year-old investor also took the opportunity to spread some caution on cryptocurrency, telling traders to be careful. Mobius pointed to the massive and high-profile collapse of cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox in 2014 as an example of the risks involved in crypto, which saw users lose hundreds of millions in BTC stolen from the exchange.
Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst for eToro and regular cryptocurrency commentator, was an early advocate of the shifting attitude towards cryptocurrency in Wall Street and established financial institutions. In a note to clients, Greenspan wrote,
“Many of those who are heavily entrenched in the old financial system are unsurprisingly unswayed by the benefits of crypto, but that’s changing rapidly. The volatility is one of the most attractive qualities of crypto from an asset managers perspective.
The idea of asymmetric risk allows us to use this unique and uncorrelated asset class to greatly increase our return on risk in any otherwise well-diversified portfolio. Just as I, in my portfolio, am holding about 3.5% in emerging markets, I believe that one day soon asset managers around the world will diversify with crypto.”
While the crypto markets have experienced a small contraction on the day, broader forces appear at work driving interest to the industry. As pointed out by Mobius, growing conflict between the United States and China in a looming trade war has investors feeling shaky about the traditional markets. Just as Brexit previously drove capital into cryptocurrency before it’s October-delay, tensions between the U.S. and China have made crypto an alternative source of investment.
In addition, the high profile development of coins by social media giant Facebook and J.P. Morgan Chase has led to a legitimizing effect of cryptocurrency. While the technology was previously thought of as niche, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency is heading in the direction of a mainstream product.