Berkshire Hathaway’s Charlie Munger has doubled down on his criticism of ‘disgusting’ bitcoin

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. SCOTT MORGAN/REUTERS
  • Charlie Munger said bitcoin’s development and rise has been “contrary to the interests of civilization.”
  • He said the cryptocurrency is useful to “kidnappers and extortionists.”
  • The criticism comes in a year where more companies have started accepting bitcoin as payment.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and his right-hand man, Charlie Munger, are no fans of cryptocurrency, but on Saturday Munger doubled down on his critique of bitcoin.

“Of course I hate the bitcoin success,” Munger said in response to a question during Berkshire’s annual shareholders’ event. “I don’t welcome a currency that’s so useful to kidnappers and extortionists, nor do I like just shoveling out a few extra billions and billions of dollars to somebody who just invented a new financial product out of thin air.”

“I think I should say modestly that I think the whole damned development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization,” he added.

Buffett, who has previously called cryptocurrencies, “worthless,” and “risky” was more evasive.

“We’ve probably got hundreds of thousands of people watching this that own bitcoin, and we’ve got two people short,” Buffett said. “Angering the former group to make a couple of people happy wouldn’t be worth it,” he said.

The pointed remarks come during a headline-grabbing year for cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, broke consecutive records above the $63,000-level before tumbling below $50,000 last month. It has regained some of its value as it struggles to define its utility from being a potential currency to a store of value, among others.

Despite the volatility, a number of companies and investors jumped in on the action. In February, Elon Musk announced that Tesla would accept bitcoin as a form of payment for all models of its cars in the US.

Yum Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and The Habit Burger Grill, also began accepting cryptocurrencies. So too did Xbox and PayPal. Meanwhile, Twitter’s CEO and founder, Jack Dorsey, teamed up with Jay-Z for a bitcoin endowment in India and Africa.

Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, listed on the Nasdaq in April. After a volatile first trading day, it boasted a valuation on a fully diluted basis of about $86 billion by the end of the day.

But Munger and Buffett aren’t alone in their hesitation about crypto.

Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital’s chief economist and global strategist, last week called bitcoin “worthless.”

“I don’t think these bitcoin collections are going to be worth anything when the music stops. People have told me that when the bubble burst in Beanie Babies, they were able to use them to insulate their homes,” he said.

He added: “They could shove them in between the walls, and they made good insulation. You can’t do anything with a bitcoin. Once nobody wants your bitcoin, it’s completely worthless.”