- Tech billionaire Peter Thiel said bitcoin’s record-high price is a sign of investors’ fears about inflation.
- “What it is telling us is that we are having a crisis moment,” he said, according to Bloomberg.
- Bitcoin fans argue the token is a hedge against inflation, but many investors are not so sure.
Tech billionaire Peter Thiel has said bitcoin’s sky-high price is a sign that the economy is facing a “crisis moment” over inflation, which has surged to a 13-year high in the US.
“You know, $US60,000 ($AU79,633) bitcoin, I’m not sure that one should aggressively buy,” he said at the National Conservatism Conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg. “But surely what it is telling us is that we are having a crisis moment.”
Thiel said the US Federal Reserve thought it could launch huge stimulus without pushing up inflation, and it isn’t taking the issue seriously enough. He said he wished he had bought more bitcoin, adding he thinks inflation is here to stay.
Crypto enthusiasts have long argued that bitcoin is “digital gold” – a scarce asset that will hold its value even in times of high inflation.
Bitcoin rose to a record high above $US66,000 ($AU87,596) in October, in part because of investors’ concerns about sharp increases in the rate of price rises across the global economy.
US consumer price index inflation hovered at a 13-year high of 5.4% year-on-year in September, as the economic rebound from coronavirus pushed up food and energy prices.
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JPMorgan said in late October it seemed as though investors were buying into the digital gold argument. “We believe the perception of bitcoin as a better inflation hedge than gold is the main reason for the current upswing,” the bank’s analysts said in a note.
However, many institutional investors are highly skeptical of the inflation hedge argument. They say bitcoin’s wild volatility means it’s far too dangerous to add to portfolios.
Thiel said the Fed, which has long said it expects price rises to fade, is being close-minded about inflation and is failing to properly acknowledge the problem, Bloomberg reported.
The billionaire was one of the first investors in Facebook and is a co-founder of PayPal and Palantir.
He is a supporter of cryptocurrencies, and has backed companies including Bitpanda, a European digital asset exchange.