Charlie Munger: Legendary investor lashes ‘extreme’ cryptocurrency market

One of the world’s legendary investors has lashed out at cyrptocurrencies, saying they should have been banned by governments.

Legendary investor Charlie Munger has doubled down on his disdain for cryptocurrencies, declaring in a wide-ranging discussion that he wishes “they’d never been invented”.

Speaking to Dr Mark Nelson of Sydney’s Caledonia hedge fund at the Sohn Hearts and Minds Investment Conference, the 97-year-old vice chairman of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway praised China for banning them – concluding that, in general, America is “inferior” to the Asian nation.

“I’m never going to buy a cryptocurrency. I wish they’d never been invented,” Mr Munger said.

“I think the Chinese made the correct decision, which is to simply ban them. My country has made the wrong decision.

“I want to make my money by selling people things that are good for them, not things that are bad for them. Believe me, the people who are creating cryptocurrencies are not thinking about the customer, they are thinking about themselves.”

He added that the cryptocurrency boom is “insane” and he “just can’t stand participating” in it “one way or the other”.

“It seems to be working; everybody wants to pile in, and I have a different attitude,” he said.

It’s not the first time Mr Munger has expressed his dislike for the digital asset, declaring in a Q&A at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting in May: “Of course I hate the bitcoin success.”

“I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists and so forth, nor do I like just shuffling out your extra billions of billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air,” he went on.

“I think I should say modestly that the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilisation.”

Elsewhere in his conversation with Dr Nelson, he said the current investment environment was “a little more extreme” than anything he’d witnessed in his decades of experience.

Set to turn 98 on New Year’s Day, Mr Munger has served on the board of Berkshire Hathaway since 1978 – during which time the company has increased its assets from $US220 million to $US460 billion.

“I think the dot com boom was crazier in terms of valuations than even what we have now. But overall I consider this era even crazier than the dot com era,” he declared.

“You have to pay a great deal for good companies and that reduces your future returns.”