Former bitcoin skeptic Carl Icahn says he may pour more than $1 billion into cryptocurrencies – but predicts many digital assets won’t survive

Carl icahn billionaire miami
The activist investor Carl Icahn. Heidi Gutman/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images
  • The billionaire investor Carl Icahn said he was looking to get into cryptocurrencies in “a big way.”
  • He told Bloomberg he might invest more than $1 billion in digital assets.
  • He said he thought some cryptocurrencies without safety or value would get flushed out.
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The billionaire investor Carl Icahn told Bloomberg on Wednesday that he was looking to get involved in the cryptocurrency space and might invest more than $1 billion in digital assets.

“I mean, a big way for us would be, you know, $1 billion, $1.5 billion,” he said in an interview, adding, “I’m not going to say exactly.”

Icahn, who called bitcoin and other similar assets “ridiculous” three years ago, has changed his tune on cryptocurrencies. He told CNBC in 2018 that he “wouldn’t touch that stuff” but that his dislike perhaps stemmed from not understanding them.

Icahn, whose net worth is estimated at $22 billion, said he hadn’t bought any crypto but was exploring opportunities in the sector. He acknowledged that cryptocurrencies were gaining mainstream acceptance as a consequence of rising inflation.

The activist investor said many cryptocurrencies in circulation might not survive, as they need to have safety and value associated with them. “I don’t think there will be a lot of good survivors that are out there trading today,” he said.

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He said skepticism about the value of cryptocurrencies was a “little wrong-headed,” adding that the only reason the dollar, for example, is valuable is that “you can use it to pay taxes.”

He said the market was in a state of excess because of factors like an overflow of money in the economy, so-called meme stocks with “ridiculous prices,” and certain strategies presented by money managers.

“I don’t think Reddit and Robinhood and those guys are necessarily bad, I think they do serve a purpose,” he said. “Money is funneling back into companies. Some of these companies might be OK, but a number of them, the risk-reward is absurd.”

Icahn isn’t the only high-profile crypto skeptic to have changed his mind. The legendary investor Howard Marks said earlier this year that he was more open-minded about bitcoin and that his son, Andrew, “thankfully owns a meaningful amount for our family.”