Monday 22 February 2021 1:58 pm

Citadel billionaire questions economic value of Bitcoin

One of the world’s most respected hedge fund managers has dismissed Bitcoin as a mere “digital token” and something that isn’t even part of his thinking.

Ken Griffin – billionaire CEO of Citadel – made his feelings fully know about cryptocurrency during a TV interview over the weekend in which he revealed cryptocurrency was simply not appearing on his agenda.

“I just don’t spend much time thinking about cryptocurrencies,” he quipped after being asked about the price of Bitcoin by CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin.

“You know, I don’t see the economic value of underpinning cryptocurrencies.”

Although easy to dismiss by hardcore crypto enthusiasts, Griffin’s well-followed opinion will have a far-reaching effect across the trading world where he is revered as one of the leading figures in global finance.

His most damning words for cryptocurrency, though, were saved until the end of the brief interview where his parting shot will ripple across big businesses.

“I understand how to value a stock – the net present value of earnings – and I understand how to think about currency exchange rates around the world,” added the 52-year-old entrepreneur.

“I don’t know how to think about what is effectively a digital token.”

Griffin’s apparent disdain for cryptocurrency – set against the backdrop of all-time-highs across many digital assets – won’t be welcomed by Bitcoin evangelists but, warn experts, must be listened to across the financial spectrum.

In context

According to seasoned crypto analyst Stewart Kent-Williams, the crypto world should heed Griffin’s mini outburst, but also keep it in context.

“My only concern about this in terms of cryptocurrency is that Ken Griffin has the ears of massive institutions the world over,” he explained.

“But, then again, so did Donald Trump who, you may recall, shook his head and laughed Bitcoin off as being something that was based on thin air – and I doubt many crypto enthusiasts paid much attention to that.

“To keep Griffin’s statement in context, it was only a week ago when JPMorgan – another massive player in this space – was telling us they would no doubt be exploring cryptocurrency in the near future.

“Griffin’s thoughts are a concern, but I don’t think they’re going to halt the march of Bitcoin – there’s just too much momentum and enthusiasm in the movement.”

A key voice in the financial world, Ken Griffin was snapped up by hedge fund leviathan Frank Meyer in 1987 while he was trading from his dorm room at Harvard University with a PC, telephone and fax machine.

By the age of 22, he had established Citadel – a company he still heads up as Chief Executive Officer. One of the most successful investment firms in the world, it manages more than $33 billion of capital.

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