Billionaire investor Leon Cooperman says if you don’t understand bitcoin, you’re old – and if you’re nervous about the world, gold is a better store of value

Leon Cooperman
Leon Cooperman. Rick Wilking/Reuters
  • If you don’t understand bitcoin, you’re old, the billionaire investor Leon Cooperman, 78, told CNBC.
  • The Omega Advisors chief suggested gold is a better store of value than bitcoin if you’re nervous.
  • It isn’t in the US government’s interest to further a substitute for the dollar, Cooperman said.
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The billionaire investor Leon Cooperman told CNBC on Thursday that people who don’t understand bitcoin are likely to be old and that gold is a better store of value for those looking for a stable haven for their cash.

The Omega Advisors chairman said that while the veteran investor Barry Diller saw cryptocurrencies as a “con,” he didn’t know whether they are – he said he was in the dark about the digital assets.

“I say that if you don’t understand bitcoin, it means you’re old. I’m 78. I’m old. I don’t understand it,” he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

He said one thing he did know was that it isn’t in the US government’s interest to make way for a substitute to the dollar.

“My guess is I’d be very careful in bitcoin. I don’t think it makes a great deal of sense,” he said. “And if you’re nervous about the world, gold, to me, would be a better place to store value than bitcoin.”

The hedge-fund manager added that he owned very little gold. “You know, I’m a paper guy,” he said. “I’m a perennial optimist.”

The precious metal’s price is down 9% over the past 12 months, while bitcoin has gained 60% in the same period.

Bitcoin had a strong start to the week, breaking out above $US50,000 ($AU67,873) ahead of El Salvador’s historic adoption of the token as legal tender. But its price tumbled on Tuesday by as much as 17%, to $US43,050 ($AU58,438), after the country’s glitch-ridden rollout was followed by heavy selling on derivatives platforms.

As for stocks, Cooperman said he was keeping an eye on inflation, signals from the Federal Reserve, and interest rates for future investments.

“The market structure’s broken, so when there’s a real, fundamental reason for the market to go down, it’ll go down so quickly your head’s gonna spin,” he said. “There’s no stabilizing forces in the market now. It’s all run by machines.”

Cooperman predicted that there wouldn’t be a recession in the US anytime soon – he said he could see one in at least a year or “maybe longer.”

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