At a bitcoin conference on Thursday, billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel said Warren Buffett tops an “enemies list” of people who are trying to stop the cryptocurrency.
“Enemy number one,” Thiel said to a booing Miami crowd, is “the sociopathic grandpa from Omaha.” Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is based in Omaha, Nebraska.
Thiel, who by 2018 had reportedly amassed hundreds of millions of dollars worth of bitcoin through venture firm Founders Fund, also went after JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and BlackRock CEO Larry Fink. Thiel presented large graphics with images of the two financial services industry executives and their bearish comments about bitcoin.
The images all contained the word “gerontocracy.” About Dimon, Thiel said his views are part of “the New York City banker bias.”
Thiel held up a headshot of Buffett with the words “rat poison” on it, referring to the time the Berkshire Hathaway CEO described bitcoin as such. Another quote from Buffett read, “I don’t own any and I never will.” Earlier this year, Berkshire Hathaway invested $1 billion in Brazil’s Nubank, an online bank that’s popular among crypto investors.
The Miami tirade is Thiel’s latest and boldest public attack on the people he sees as standing in the way of bitcoin’s progress.
“This is what we have to fight for bitcoin to go 10x or 100x from here,” Thiel said.
He added that those investors are fine touting blockchain, the technology underpinning the cryptocurrency, but feel the need to take down bitcoin and its legitimacy.
“When they choose not to allocate to bitcoin, that’s a deeply political choice,” said Thiel, a huge backer of Republican politicians, most notably former President Donald Trump. Buffett, Thiel said, invests in a “list of woke companies.”
At one point, Thiel presented a colorful photo of Miami next to the word “youth.”
“We need to say, you know, you have to get on board with this,” he said.
A representative from Berkshire Hathaway didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, and a JPMorgan spokesperson declined to comment for this story.
A BlackRock spokesperson pointed CNBC to comments Fink made in his letter to shareholders last month. He wrote that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could accelerate adoption of digital currencies, and said “a global digital payment system, thoughtfully designed, can enhance the settlement of international transactions while reducing the risk of money laundering and corruption.”
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