Charlie Munger Passes Away: The Sharpest and Most Sarcastic Critic of Bitcoin

WuBlockchain
5 min readNov 30, 2023

Introduction: Charlie Munger, the vice-chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and mentor to Warren Buffett, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 99. Munger was renowned for his steadfast approach to value investing and his theory of economic “moats.” However, in every interview, he was also unrestrained in his sharp, and at times, “sarcastic” criticism of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. His most extreme viewpoint included advocating for a total ban on cryptocurrencies in the United States. By considering all perspectives, this article comprehensively collates Charlie Munger’s views and comments on cryptocurrencies.

On November 15, 2023, Munger once again offered sharp criticism of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. He regarded crypto assets as a disruptive and unproductive financial invention, comparing the introduction of Bitcoin to throwing a “stink bomb” into the refined formula of traditional finance.

https://x.com/NateGeraci/status/1721002360724504611?s=20

On February 15, 2023, Munger, during the annual shareholders’ meeting of the Daily Journal Corporation, labeled virtual currencies as “worthless.” “Sometimes I call it ‘crypto crappo’, sometimes I call it ‘crypto s — -.’ It’s absurd for anyone to buy these things; it’s just wild, foolish gambling.”

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2023/02/15/charlie-munger-on-crypto-its-ridiculous-anybody-would-buy-this-massively-stupid-stuff.html

On February 2, 2023, in an article published in The Wall Street Journal, Munger urged the United States to completely ban cryptocurrencies, stating, “Cryptocurrencies are not money, commodities, or securities; they are gambling contracts with a nearly 100% edge for the house.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-america-should-ban-crypto-regulation-economy-finance-china-england-trading-currency-securities-commodity-gamble-11675287477?st=hw6epglbijkvas0&reflink=share_mobilewebshare

On November 17, 2022, speaking to CNBC about the bankruptcy of FTX, Munger said: “It’s painful to see respectable people in my own country helping something like this to exist.” “It’s a very, very bad thing, and this country doesn’t need a currency that’s advantageous to kidnappers.” “Some people think they have to participate in every hot deal; it’s total madness, they don’t care whether it’s criminal or Bitcoin.” “It’s crazy that someone can create a new currency overnight that could turn a 12-year-old into a billionaire.” “I fundamentally like the existence of the Federal Reserve… I despise Bitcoin promoters.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/11/15/charlie-munger-says-crypto-is-a-bad-combo-of-fraud-and-delusion-good-for-kidnappers.html

On July 13, 2022, in an interview with The Australian Financial Review, Munger described the “crypto craze” as a form of “collective madness.” “I think anyone selling this stuff is either delusional or evil. I won’t touch cryptocurrencies. I’m not interested in undermining the currencies of the world.” “Cryptocurrency is an investment in nothingness, and those trying to sell you this investment in nothingness will say, ‘I have a special kind of nothingness that’s hard to make more of.’” “Never touch it. Never buy it. Let it pass.”

https://www.afr.com/markets/equity-markets/revealed-charlie-munger-s-best-investment-tips-20220705-p5az7y

On May 1, 2022, at the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting, Munger stated that he tries to avoid things in his life that are stupid, evil, or make him look bad compared to others, and Bitcoin has all three characteristics. “Cryptocurrency is stupid because it could possibly go to zero. It’s evil because it undermines the Federal Reserve system.” Why is Bitcoin evil? “It really diminishes the power of our national currency and the Federal Reserve system, which is something we absolutely need. It’s crucial for maintaining the credibility of the government.”

https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/PDvksIjWhLExPCBvJR-f3A

On February 2, 2022, the then 98-year-old Munger, speaking at the annual meeting of the Los Angeles newspaper company on a Wednesday, said about Bitcoin: “I’m proud of myself for avoiding it… it’s like some kind of venereal disease.” He predicted that Bitcoin’s price will trend towards zero in the next hundred years, and the reason people adopt cryptocurrencies is for their utility in illegal activities like extortion, kidnapping, and tax evasion. Munger expressed admiration for the Chinese ban on cryptocurrencies, stating they were right to do so, and suggested that the United States should implement a similar ban immediately.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/sergeiklebnikov/2022/02/16/billionaire-investor-charlie-munger-calls-crypto-a-disease-and-praises-china-for-banning-it/?sh=6b669331c944

On December 3, 2021, at the Sohn Hearts and Minds conference, Munger once again attacked cryptocurrencies: “I will never buy cryptocurrencies. I wish they had never been invented, and China’s ban on them is right.”

https://www.smh.com.au/business/banking-and-finance/charlie-munger-says-investing-climate-crazier-than-dot-com-era-20211203-p59ehk.html

On May 1, 2021, at the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting, Munger expressed his view: “I don’t like the idea of a virtual currency that hijacks our existing monetary system, pouring billions of dollars into a sector as if a financial product created out of thin air is going to amass wealth.” “Practically speaking, I think such developments are contrary to the interests of our civilization.”

https://buffett.cnbc.com/2021-berkshire-hathaway-annual-meeting/

On February 24, 2021, during an interview at the Daily Journal’s annual shareholders’ meeting, when asked whether he thought Bitcoin reaching $50,000 was crazier or Tesla reaching a fully diluted market value of $1 trillion, Munger said, “I can’t decide the order of precedence between a flea and a louse, I don’t know which is worse.” “I don’t think Bitcoin will end up being a medium of exchange for the world. It’s too volatile to serve well as a medium of exchange. It is really a synthetic substitute for gold. Since I never buy any gold, I also never buy any Bitcoin.” “Bitcoin reminds me of Oscar Wilde’s definition of fox hunting; he said it was the pursuit of the uneatable by the unspeakable.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/02/24/munger-on-tesla-at-1-trillion-50000-bitcoin-i-dont-know-whats-worse.html

On May 4, 2019, at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Munger mentioned that he had been invited by an unnamed cryptocurrency investment group, but he did not attend. He commented that Bitcoin investors “celebrate the life and work of Judas Iscariot.” “I think it’s disgusting that professional traders are going into this cryptocurrency trading,” he said. “It’s like somebody else is trading turds, and you decide, ‘I can’t be left out.’”

https://markets.businessinsider.com/currencies/news/bitcoin-price-charlie-munger-jokes-about-cryptocurrencies-2019-5-1028167399

On February 14, 2018, at the Daily Journal’s annual shareholders’ meeting, Munger stated that the current Bitcoin frenzy is “totally asinine.” “Bitcoin is noxious poison.” The technology might be interesting, but the investment frenzy around it last year should prompt governments to clamp down like China did. “Our government’s more relaxed approach to it is wrong. The right answer with something like this is to step on it hard.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/14/berkshires-charlie-munger-calls-bitcoin-noxious-poison.html

On December 22, 2017, during an event at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, Munger was asked about his views on cryptocurrencies. “I think it’s totally asinine to even pause to think about them.” “It’s evil, it’s a crazy bubble, a bad idea, luring people into the concept of easy wealth without much insight or work. It’s the last thing on earth you should be thinking about… There are a lot of things that aren’t going to work for you. Figure out what they are and then avoid them like the plague. One of them is Bitcoin. …It’s total insanity.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/22/buffett-partner-charlie-munger-says-bitcoin-is-total-insanity-avoid-it-like-the-plague.html

On May 6, 2013, when Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Charlie Munger were interviewed by Fox, the host asked about their views on Bitcoin, to which Munger responded, “It’s rat poison.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nisSTAp91-Y

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Colin Wu, Chinese journalist, won 2013 China News Award